Electricity and Control March 2023


Energy management in mining

Ahead of the Investing in African Mining Indaba (Mining Indaba) which took place in early February 2023 in Cape Town, Malvin Naicker, Managing Director, Hitachi Energy, Sub-Saharan Africa, noted that the event’s theme of ‘Climate-Smart Mining’ reflects the global shift to renewable energy to deliver on the promise of a carbon-neutral future. “To limit the impacts of global climate change, we need to move away from fossil fuels and look to renewable sources of energy – solar, wind energy and hydropower – to convert into electricity. Electricity will become central to the entire energy system,” Naicker said. In South Africa, mines, like all other business and in dustry sectors, are grappling with energy security due to unreliable utility generation. Hence the industry is mov ing ahead with plans to replace conventional generation with renewable sources under their control that may also be remote and wheeled to different sites through the grid. Hitachi Energy offers long-established expertise in man aging electrical energy and a range of energy manage ment solutions for mining and other industries. Naicker highlights the opportunity that the new era of ‘smart energy’ offers mines to migrate to an integrated electricity mix and presents some of the energy

management solutions that Hitachi Energy offers to support them in this transition. As most mines are in isolated locations, on-site energy management is critical to maintaining power and produc tivity. The first step away from fossil fuels may be to a hybrid system with which mines rely less on diesel and more on renewable sources for power generation. From a hybrid model, mines can become self-sufficient, transitioning to grid-connected microgrids for localised power generation. Energy management then becomes particularly im portant as less grid-provided power is used. Effective en ergy management and optimisation to enhance reliability and resilience in on-site power supply can be achieved in several ways, but mine operators that establish their own grids are much better positioned to reap the benefits of system flexibility that affords the greatest potential to reduce CO 2 emissions. To overcome the problems associated with long dis tance transmission and integration of renewables in off-grid locations, mining companies are looking to assimilate tech nologies that ensure power reliability and efficiency. Usual ly, they need a solution designed for both grid-connected and off-grid applications, complying with grid codes and standards, and at the same time reducing operating costs. Larger mining operations that rely on a mix of energy sources – including diesel, batteries and renewable energy – need a modern network management or SCADA system that enables them to integrate increasing data flows to manage and optimise operations. Hitachi Energy offers a single family of products and solutions providing benefits at every point of the mining value chain. MicroSCADA X This system provides complete functionality for real-time monitoring and control of primary and secondary equip ment in transmission and distribution substations. Pro cesses can be controlled, field crews managed and cus tomers gain a high level of service with a single system. MicroSCADA X is designed for substation automation and power network management applications. It can be scaled from a compact single computer communication gateway for monitoring applications in substations to hier archical and redundant network control systems, manag ing tens to several hundreds of thousands of data points. Modular mobile substations provide a rapid-response solution for major grid disruptions.

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28 Electricity + Control MARCH 2023

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