Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith

Storage system will operate alongside an existing dual fuel engine power plant
Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith Wärtsilä to supply energy storage solution to Zenith

Advanced energy storage aims to support the decarbonisation of mining

Finnish power services company Wärtsilä will supply a 9.2MW/8.7MWh energy storage system to independent power producer Zenith Energy, which sells electrical power to some of the world's largest mining companies that have operations in Australia.

The energy storage system, which caters to a more frequent cycling load, will be installed in an underground mine to address a cyclic load demand. It will operate alongside an existing dual fuel engine power plant, which presently has a total capacity of 65.98MW.

Adding extra storage will manage the power fluctuations of the mine site, saving the engines from frequent ramping. This will improve operational efficiency, which will result in fuel savings and a lower carbon footprint for the mine's power plant. Wärtsilä called it "a promising step towards Australia's decarbonisation goals".

The energy storage system combines Wärtsilä's fully integrated GridSolv Quantum modules and the GEMS digital energy platform. GEMS, which can monitor, control and optimise energy assets on both site and portfolio levels, will integrate Zenith's engines and operate as a power plant controller. GEMS could also manage the remote grid in future operations under a single portfolio.

The energy storage system was ordered in June. It will be delivered on an engineered equipment delivery (EEQ) basis and is scheduled to begin operating in the first quarter of 2022.

Simon Jelly, technology and infrastructure manager at Zenith Energy, said: "Wärtsilä as the supplier of both engine and the energy storage systems provides the best solution available for us to feed power efficiently to our end customer. The addition of an energy storage system to also work as spinning reserve to provide emergency back-up and short duration power, will mitigate any power interruptions. Should such situations occur, the system will supply load until a stand-by engine is started. Moreover, the storage system will help further reduce the plant's carbon footprint."

Kari Punnonen, energy business director, Australasia at Wärtsilä, commented: "For islanded grids, such as mining plants, where the source of power is limited, our energy storage solution can manage the reliability and efficiency of the system and also support their decarbonisation initiative. Repeat business with our customer Zenith Energy, reaffirms our technology leadership and commitments towards this market."

Zenith Energy has previously procured three operating Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines, which are used for constant load feed. In 2022, Zenith will expand its current fleet, adding a further two Wärtsilä 34SG pure gas engines.

Wärtsilä stated that with its energy storage and advanced energy management system, there will be opportunities in the future for Zenith to integrate other renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic (PV) solar or wind into this hybrid network.