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Sincerity and Patience Required for Renewables in Mining to Succeed

Rob Lydan, former director, solar and wind, at Hatch, sees the mining industry finally starting to grasp the attractive business case for renewable energy. It is clear that renewable developers are familiar with rapid progress. However, he urges them to understand that mining companies are enormous entities that change course very slowly.

It is important to encourage mining companies to embrace solar and wind energy. Hence, renewables developers need to resist the urge to make overly optimistic arguments or downplay negatives. Instead, demonstrating persistence and sincerity in explaining what their businesses have to offer is the way to go.

Within the past year, the debate over what role renewable energy will play in the mining industry has deepened and matured, says Rob Lydan. One sign of this burgeoning maturity is which executives within mining companies are analyzing renewable options.

A year or two ago, the head of sustainability or an energy procurement manager might have been the one speaking to renewable energy partners. But, today the conversation has moved front and center. And, is conducted by the head of operations or another key decision-maker. “Clients are becoming more cognizant on a corporate operations level of the fact that they have energy cost issues that are affecting their operations,” says Lydan. “There’s a deeper understanding of the challenges out there.”

The number and types of mines evaluating renewable energy have expanded, too. In the early days the topic was most pressing for companies with underground, non-ferrous sites. That is because their energy consumption was extremely high. “Today we see a broader base of clients interested in the topic,” says Lydan.

Take a look at the PDF for the full interview.