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Exciting Renewable Energy News

According to Navigant Research, renewable sources will meet five to eight per cent of energy needs in mining by 2022. Moreover, wind power is the technology that is closest to receiving wide-scale investment from mining companies.

In renewable energy news, solar energy is gaining importance, due to a rapid decline in costs. But, solar resources vary with latitude and other factors. At locations in the southern United States, costs are now below 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, solar power at remote projects in Canada’s North is currently likely to cost between 30 and 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, says Royer.

Forcione says he believes solar can and will compete with wind in Canada. “In Germany, there are 50,000 megawatts of solar already installed,” he points out. “Some places in Canada that are about the same latitudes can certaily use it.”

Renewable Energy Future

No matter the source, adds Sediqi: “Today, we can generate 20 per cent of the total energy demand of a mine with solar and wind technology without the need for storage.” But, to what extent will renewables replace diesel in future mining projects? Is a 100 per cent penetration rate realistic?

“I think in some year in the future, you will see 100 per cent availability for a project like ours, but not in the short term,” says Busby.

It is clear that whatever improvements are made, diesel will always play a big part in autonomous grids. “You can reach 100 per cent renewable energy, but you still never want to remove your gensets as a backup,” says Armstrong.

Less clear is whether others will be joining companies like Rio Tinto and Cronimet on the frontier of renewable energy in mining very soon. Lydan says it may take some time for leaders to realize the benefits their organizations could reap; “For some people, it is too good to be true. And, these renewable energy news will change the game going forward.