Unlocking the Power of Hybrids to Reduce Emissions
Dagan Baroco, Head of Global Utilities, Aggreko
The energy industry is rapidly evolving as industries and economies respond to the transition towards a lower carbon future. With 80 percent of companies worldwide now reporting against sustainability targets, pressure is mounting to identify greener power solutions.
However, many industries around the world continue to face barriersin their decarbonisation journeys, fromregulatory hurdlesto intermittency challenges and limited availability of technology.But the reality is that the switch from thermal to renewable power generation will not – and cannot happen overnight. Bridging solutions, such as hybrids, have a critical role to play in helping to support and often event accelerating industries and economies through the transition.
Barriers to Renewable Adoption
Concerns around the reliability of renewable power remain, with concerns that decarbonising will come at the cost of productivity. Industries and economies cannot take thatrisk. Ifthe wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, an alternative source of power is essential.
This is particularly important for hard to abate industries such as mining whichtypically have reliedon thermal energy to power operations, often due to off-grid locations and need for a consistent source of power.However this comes at a cost – the mining industry is currently responsible for between 4 and 7 percent of carbon emissions globally.
A Hybrid Answer
One answer to this challenge is hybrid power generation. Through this technology, renewable energy can operate reliably when integrated with other power generation sources, such as thermal. Building storage into hybrid solutions further improves reliabilitywhile ensuring the power generated by renewables is used to its full potential.
At the Granny Smith goldmine in Western Australia, we installed one of the largest renewable energy microgrids, powered by a combination of gas generators and solar. Supported by an energy storage system, this mix of technology provides reliable access to power, monitored by our data centres to ensure spikes in demand are met without any disruption in power supply.
By integrating technology which seamlessly combines solar, diesel and battery storage into a power solution, we can closely monitor project efficiencies, allowing the user to benefit from reliable power around the clock at the same time as reducing energy consumption by 10-13percent - the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road.
We also recently signed a contract to provide 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power to the Salares Norte pit mine in Chile. The location, situated at an altitude of 4,500 m in the Andes and 190km from the nearest town, did present a challenge. However, the flexibility of modularsolutions has made it possible to deliver emission free energy to an area that would typically be extremely expensive to power. The estimated savings for the project will be $7.4m, plus a further $11m in carbon tax savings
Projects which require bespoke solutions present unique challenges, and with the right innovations and applications of hybrid technology, sustainable power can be achieved anywhere.
Flexible Solutions for a RapidlyChanging Market
Modular power solutionsprovide accessto the latest technological innovations without the need for upfront CAPEX. By renting,industries achieve reliable, holistic power supply that is fully integrated into their infrastructure, while avoiding losses in maintenance costs and time associated with permanent energy solutions.
At Aggreko we’re constantly developing our fleet to offer cheaper and greener technologies to the benefit of our customers. Our mobile and modular approach to power generation means that our team of experts are able to design a power solution that can meet the unique needs of our customers. These can also be implemented at scale quickly compared to permanent power applications, reducing emissions immediately and ultimately supporting customers through the energy transition now rather than down the line.
Bridging the Gap
There is no escaping the energy transition but for many industries and economies internationally, barriers to adoption of renewables as a primary source of energy remain. There needs to be greater recognition of the fact that, by definition, this is a transitionary process and change in how power is generated will not happen overnight. Bridging technologies, such as hybrids, must be embraced so carbon reduction targets can be met in line with global goalswithout compromising reliability.
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