We have set a target of zero emissions by 2035, confident it strikes the right balance between ambition and ability, and allows ample time for vital technological advancements to be made.
However, it’s not enough to simply set a target if we don’t know how it will be achieved, and so we’re willing to develop the concepts needed to advance renewable solutions and take on the burden of testing the technology.
Rather than wait and see, we want to be part of the solution.
Currently, 100% renewable power generation is expensive, but in developing the technology and proving it works, we can increase demand and start producing economies of scale. Taking that risk is the only way to reduce cost for ourselves and our customers.
Zenith is focusing on the development of four specific technologies, which can be integrated in different ways to reduce emissions on site;
- Bulk solar and wind: While WA has an abundance of solar and wind, more work is needed to allow sites to become ‘engine off’ and operate solely on renewable generated power during daylight hours. A key component will be the integration of technology into power systems which will ensure continuous reliable supply of power. The ‘engine off’ concept will also require the installation of adequate solar and wind to generate enough power that can be stored to maintain continuous supply for up to nine consecutive hours.
- Long Term Mass Storage: Long duration storage remains one of the biggest challenges to decarbonisation, with batteries needing to be able to store enough power and meet the demands of a constant charge/discharge cycle. We are the only independent power producer to be a member of the Electric Mines Consortium, and as such are part of a working group evaluating multiple storage technologies.
- Relocatable fleet of renewables: The development of a relocatable, modular fleet of renewables will allow for greater renewable energy penetration on sites where long-term tenure of 10+ years isn’t possible. Such a fleet must be large enough to meet power generation demands, yet also be able to be relocated at the end of mine operations.
- Green-fuels: Various green fuels are being pursued to replace diesel within power stations and for fleets. There are currently challenges around security of supply and cost. It’s for this reason we’re proactively looking to develop a waste to energy plant in WA mining hubs, generating green fuel through mining waste including tyres and plastic.
Another important step is the electrification of mining operations, and we’re currently considering solutions around what the charging infrastructure will look like.
A crucial step in making renewable technologies more affordable is proving they’re effective, as once that happens we can start producing at scale which brings the price down. But, the process of proving the technology is also expensive and carries risk.
While the aim of developing the technology is to decarbonise our current and future portfolio, there are also potential benefits for households.
As various technologies are proven to be successful, the residential grid will also likely adopt them. This greening of the grid will reduce the overall reliance on gas and coal-fired power stations into the future.