Sponsored by: S&C Electric Company
Reliable Power for Remote Mines
Mining can be challenging to navigate, especially when mines are in remote locations. And as they exhaust resources in one location, mining companies tend to move even further away from where civilisation and infrastructure are readily available.
In Australia, mining companies tend to migrate into desert or mountainous areas for mining purposes and similarly further away from water, gas, and electricity resources.
Mines rely heavily on electricity to provide power to support elevators, lighting, ventilation, and various heavy machinery to support their operations. When power goes out, the impact from the power disruption is far-reaching. Imagine being two kilometers underground and having the lights and ventilation suddenly go out, and the elevator doesn’t work to evacuate.
With equipment down, productivity also comes to a standstill. Even at the exploration stage, a mine is a tremendous investment, which grows even bigger when mining operations begin. When loss of power causes everything to stop, the mining company has to wait that much longer for its return on its investment.
There also are other power-related issues to consider when developing a mining site. Many mining companies are investigating ways to integrate greener back-up energy generation into their operations while maintaining productivity and worker safety. Enter the microgrid. Rapidly growing in popularity, microgrids represent a localised means to maintain power reliability through use of distributed generation, including natural gas generators, batteries, or renewable resources.
More than half of the country’s coal mines are managed by pro-Russian separatist militia.Credit: DmyTo/Shutterstock.
More than half of the country’s coal mines are managed by pro-Russian separatist militia.
How Will a Microgrid Help?
To minimise the effects of an outage, mining companies globally are looking closer at microgrids, and it’s easy to see why. While microgrids typically connect to the local utility grid, what makes them special is they can island off the grid when necessary and use the available alternative generation sources to maintain electrical power independently.
Besides enhancing energy resilience by keeping the power on and productivity flowing, microgrids are a fantastic fiscal investment—their power can be self-generated or bought locally, making them less vulnerable to peaks in energy market prices.
At the heart of the microgrid is a microgrid controller, which orchestrates all the different energy resources and the connected loads. The controller chooses when the utility grid provides electricity or when another resource has to.
Microgrids also can be built to serve differing objectives. For many mining companies, the main purpose of a microgrid is to provide emergency back-up power to self-determined critical loads. The instant grid power goes out, the microgrid automatically switches its available energy resources to provide power where it’s needed most.
S&C Is the Premiere Choice for Your Microgrid Needs
S&C is the leader in complete microgrid solutions. We understand that, for microgrids to function properly, every piece of the puzzle must fit perfectly. Our solutions go beyond hardware, ensuring the controls, communications, and integration of our solution are all properly configured from the start.
Choosing S&C means you’re picking a microgrid integrator with unmatched experience. S&C puts you comfortably in control of your project. Leveraging our extensive experience designing and building microgrid systems, we’ll develop a customised solution that will anticipate your future demands and ensure power reliability. Your microgrid will arm your site with reliable, durable, and customisable technology that will stand the test of time.
Visit sandc.com/mining20 to contact an S&C representative today to learn how we can help improve the reliability and safety of your mining site.
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