World’s largest solar hybrid power plant delivered by Wärtsilä
Burkina Faso is now the home to the world’s largest solar hybrid power plant, built by Finnish technology company, Wärtsilä.
Wärtsilä will be responsible for delivering a sustainable supply of energy to the plant, used for operating the off-grid gold mine.
Total Eren SA and African Energy Management Platform (AEMP) selected the Finnish firm to build the plant, with supplies IAMGOLD’s Essakane gold mine with power.
The 15MWp solar PV plant has been hybridised with an existing 57MW diesel plant to enhance the original generator.
“This project demonstrates the benefits of integrating renewable energy in the mining industry,” noted Fabienne Demol, Executive Vice-President and Global Head of Business Development at Total Eren.
“We are looking to replicate this type of hybridisation, especially in Africa where mines cannot always rely on the national grid.”
“Renewable energy coupled with either storage or thermal-based power generation represents a truly viable option for industrial consumers since it enables for competitive, reliable and clean power supply.”
The plant is expected to annually drop fuel consumption by approximately 6mn litres, and lowering CO2 emissions by 18,500 tonnes.
More than 200 jobs have been created during the construction phase, with 75 positions to be offered during operations.
“This project underscores our commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said Javier Cavada, President of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
“Our new hybrid energy solutions will allow our customers to seamlessly integrate more renewable energy into their grids.”
“Our EPC delivery capabilities enabled us to successfully deliver this project even in such a remote and challenging location.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.