Solar project driving down Carosue Dam gold mine emissions

By Melissa Coade

June 27, 2022

Parwinder Kaur
Parwinder Kaur. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

A re-deployable solar project in Western Australia is generating more energy than had been modelled, displacing diesel and natural gas use.

The five megawatts of re-deployable solar was the first operational state project to receive $1 million from the Clean Energy Future Fund. The government has described it as a pioneering example of re-deployable solar at mine sites.

The $19 million Clean Energy Future Fund, administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and with support from Energy Policy WA, supports renewables projects which drive down emissions. 

About $14 million in fund money has been distributed for projects to date, backing nine projects across the state. 

In a statement, climate action minister Reece Whitby said projects like the one near Kalgoorlie were needed to meet WA’s net-zero-by-2050 target. 

“We need projects like this that address challenging emissions sources, with technologies having strong potential for wider adoption,” Whitby said. 

“Each year, the Nomadic Energy project will displace 5,621 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, equivalent to taking 1,800 cars off the road.”

The structure of the solar installation can be deployed faster and more cost-effectively thanks to an innovative Maverick mounting system, which was paid for by the $1 million grant. The system was developed by Australian company 5B and deploys solar panels in a concertina pattern, creating alternating east and west facing panels.

Energy minister Bill Johnston said the project would produce more than 8,800 megawatt-hours of energy each year – equivalent to power for 1,700 homes. 

“I’m impressed that the number of clean energy generation projects is becoming an increasing trend at mine sites and Nomadic Energy should be congratulated on setting a new standard for industry,” the minister said. 

Having re-deployable installations at mine sites helps companies invest in green energy where a mine may cease operations before the cost of the solar can be recovered. 

It took less than three weeks for the company to complete the final stage of its solar installation, commissioning two megawatts of generating capacity. This included a record 600 kilowatt of solar capacity deployed in a single day by a team of just four people.

The project’s innovative business model sees one company – Nomadic Energy – own and supply energy to the owner of the mining site – Northern Star. The WA government said this further reduced complexity and risk for operators.

The government anticipates more than two million tonnes of carbon emissions will be prevented from being released based on the projects from round 2 funding alone. This figure could rise to more 120 million tonnes of emissions spared from release should two pilot projects also lead to commercial-scale deployment.

“The fund is achieving its goals of supporting innovative clean energy projects and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Whitby added.


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