By: Luca Ceschinelli, Project Development Manager at Aggreko Africa, Middle East, and Asia
The mining industry has historically relied on two primary energy sources to power operations – onsite diesel generators and grid electricity. While these traditional approaches provide a baseline of energy, they come with drawbacks with proven limits in resilience and environmental sustainability.
Onsite Diesel Generators
Diesel generators have been a staple of mining operations for decades. They offer the benefit of being installed onsite, providing reliable power even when grid electricity is interrupted. The fuel can be trucked in and stored, buffering against supply chain disruptions.
However, diesel comes with downsides. Fuel storage and transportation are hazardous. Diesel prices fluctuate, making long-term operating costs uncertain. Generators require regular maintenance and can unexpectedly break down. Air emissions impact the local environment and health. Overall, complete dependence on diesel for primary power increases risk exposure with notable cost of operations.
Many mines supplement onsite diesel with grid electricity imported from public utilities. Grid power provides affordable energy without capital investment. However, grid infrastructure is vulnerable. Severe weather, wildfires, cyber-attacks, and other grid disruptions can suddenly leave mines without power. Lead times for utilities to restore service may extend for weeks. Grid reliance alone is an energy risk.
While diesel and grid power enable baseline operations, they fall short of providing true energy resilience and offering environmentally friendly power for modern mining needs. Their limitations have spurred interest in renewable energy to redefine mining operations.
Leveraging the knowledge and experience in delivering projects on a global scale, Aggreko offers energy services that are customised on the specific mining needs, with a proven track record in delivering energy solutions that are resilient and support your mine’s energy transition journey.