With renewable energy fast-becoming a mainstream energy source, mining companies have a material opportunity to use renewables to lower costs, improve safety, reliability and sustainability, and mitigate risks to ultimately gain a competitive advantage.
Energy is one of the biggest expenses for mining companies, constituting approximately 30 percent of total cash operating costs, therefore the rewards of shaving off even a fraction of energy usage can be considerable.
The initial article in this series explored how miners can drive value through energy management across the social, environmental and financial triple bottom-line. As a follow-on, this piece takes a deep dive into renewables as a compelling part of the energy management business case.
The renewables landscape has evolved dramatically in the past couple of years. Today, major mining companies seek to use more renewable energy in an effort to drive down costs and curtail emissions. This is due, at least in part, to shifts in the levelised cost of renewable power as compared to traditional fossil fuels, with renewables having already achieved parity in some instances, and fast-approaching it in others.
Realising the full benefits from renewables however involves more than installing a solar array or wind turbines, it requires a willingness to rethink operational processes and to reconsider the way work is done.