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Renewable energy for mining companies without initial investment

Published by
World Coal,

THEnergy has signed a contract with an international renewable energy finance company to support in the development of a pipeline for off-grid renewable energy projects for mines and large, remote industrial customers. In terms of size, the mine should have an actual load of 5 MW or more. The installations are expected to be in off- or weak-grid areas.

“We would like to address mines that are not connected to the grid, source their energy from diesel power plants and are interested in decreasing their electricity bill,” explained Dr Thomas Hillig, Founder of THEnergy.

The equity is scheduled to be invested within an investment period of three years. With consideration of additional debt capital on a project level, the finance company expects a total investment of €200 – 400 million. To speed up the investment process, the investor is considering financing the entire project with equity in a first step and refinancing it at a later stage. The finance company can even use an existing renewable energy fund that is successfully investing in renewable energy assets in many countries, to acquire off-grid projects even before the new fund is established.

The fund will act as an independent power producer (IPP) and offer power purchase agreements (PPAs) to mining companies. In the past, the finance company has issued renewable energy funds that focused on investing in grid-connected projects, including PPAs for commercial consumers.

vIn a study that was released in December 2014,Solar-diesel-hybrid power plants at mines: Opportunities for external investors, THEnergy predicted that with the involvement of external investors, for mining companies renewable energy can become a standard electricity product that can be sourced in the same way as traditional energy – without initial investment costs into generating plants.

“External financing of solar, wind and storage solutions at off-grid locations allows mining-companies and financial players to focus on their core competencies. In the near future, we will see many more off-grid renewable energy applications at mines,” added Hillig.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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