Renewable Energy Microgrid Analysis for Powering Water Supply Operations
The Rhyolite Ridge Project (the Project) being developed by Ioneer Ltd. (Ioneer), is located in Esmerelda County, Nevada. It is a lithium extraction project requiring a water supply for the process.
Electricity systems in the western United States are making steady progress towards net zero power generation through their connection of greater amounts of wind and solar power coupled with energy storage. The growth in renewables and energy storage is being fueled by technological advancement, financial support from government tax breaks and falling capital costs for renewable energy and energy storage. However, this growth may not be fast enough to provide the specific type of support needed at acceptable costs to contribute to Ioneer’s net zero ambitions.
The main Project objective related to SLR’s role is to power the water pumping operations using 100% renewable energy generated locally within the mine lease boundary.
- Quantification of system design inputs;
- Completion of a screening analysis of renewable energy technology options;
- Completion of a hybrid microgrid optimization (techno-economic) analysis of various renewable energy options;
- Determining the optimal balance of renewable energy generation with energy storage to achieve a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions net zero energy system; and
- Providing recommendations for renewable energy configurations suitable for the Project and further study requirements.
- SLR investigated various options for supply of renewable energy to power the water supply operations. These options included either wind and/or solar power coupled with battery energy storage.
- The renewable energy modeling undertaken showed that solar power will be the most economical and practical solution.
- In addition to installing solar power, the installed pump power and size of the water storage capacity at the receiving end of the system will influence how much battery energy storage will be required for coupling to the PV solar panel array.
- SLR’s report included recommendations for system balancing using deferrable load concepts.
SLR has and continues to support Ioneer with environmental permitting and compliance for the state of Nevada including agency coordination, NEPA documentation, and environmental services.