Concern over the volatility of diesel prices, pressure from government regulators and a need to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint will push the mining industry to use more renewable energy, according to a Navigant Research report.
Navigant Research forecasts that renewable energy technologies will supply between 5 percent and 8 percent of the world’s mining industry power consumption by 2022. Natural gas generators also will be used more frequently due to the low cost and increased availability of the energy source, the report forecast.
The “Renewable Energy in the Mining Industry” report estimates that less than 0.1 percent of power consumed by the mining industry today is generated from renewable energy, excluding hydropower.
Mining companies have been slow to adopt renewable energy due to concerns about the risk of using a technology that the industry considers “unproven,” according to the report. The industry is primarily concerned with maintenance schedules and costs associated with renewable energy technologies as well as its reliability.
Most renewable energy applications within the mining industry are small-scale, pilot installations, according to the report. The most prevalent application of renewable energy within the industry is rooftop solar PV installations used as on-site energy sources at mine camps and administration areas are. Wind power has also been deployed on a larger scale, in terms of megawatts, but in few locations globally.
Wind power is the technology that’s closest to receiving wide-scale investment from mining companies. In the next two to three years, mining companies will begin deploying wind power for broader use rather considering it on a case-by-case basis, Navigant Research says.
Navigant forecasts that energy storage will remain limited through 2022 until costs come down enough to encourage widespread adoption by mining companies.
Global clean energy investment is headed for its second annual fall in a row, according to a report released in October by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The research company found that investment in clean energy — including renewables, smart grid, efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles — totaled $45.9 billion in Q3 2013, down 14 percent on the second quarter of this year and down 20 percent from the same period last year. B