REN Renewable Energy (EREN RE) and its partner African Energy Management Platform (AEMP), have signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with IAMGOLD Essakane SA gold mine to complement its existing heavy fuel power plant in Burkina Faso with a 15MWp solar farm.
According to a press release, the project, which represents an investment of over $20 million, will enable the mine to significantly reduce its fuel consumption by approximately 6 million litres per year and reduce its annual CO2 emissions by nearly 18,500 tonnes.
Located 330km away from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, the mine is currently off-grid and relies solely on costly and carbon intensive diesel power.
Solar energy project
The 15MWp solar project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2017.
For large industries such as mining companies, which operate 24/7 and whose energy budget represents up to 30% of their operating costs, the hybridisation of diesel power plants with a renewable energy source reduces energy costs, while improving the carbon and social footprint, the release noted.
The project will sell the electricity produced from the solar plant to IAMGOLD Essakane for the length of the power purchase agreement.
Commenting on the development, vice-president business development, Africa at EREN RE, Christophe Fleurence, said: “This pioneer project highlights EREN RE’s and our partner AEMP’s valuable technical and contractual expertise in developing renewable energy solutions for isolated customers.
“This will be one of the largest hybrid diesel solar PV projects in the world. Together with IAMGOLD, we devoted the necessary time and efforts to achieve a sound and replicable structure. We now intend to further deploy this environmentally sound solution to many large customers in Africa and worldwide.”
Energy intensive businesses
Richard Duffy of AEMP, added: “…energy intensive businesses are willing to transition to alternative energy options both for economic and environmental reasons, and that convergence between the mining and renewable energy industries is achievable.
“This project represents a breakthrough for worldwide industries relying on costly and carbon intensive diesel generation, which, until very recently, has been their only reliable source of electricity.”
Featured image: Snowden