Perth Energy and Mines Summit Top Take Homes

Last week at the Energy and Mines Summit, Perth company Advanced Energy Resources (AER) announced it signed a long-term power purchase agreement with GMA Garnet to build a 3 megawatt wind and solar farm with battery storage near Kalbarri, Western Australia.

Last week at the Energy and Mines Summit, Perth company Advanced Energy Resources (AER) announced it signed a long-term power purchase agreement with GMA Garnet to build a 3 megawatt wind and solar farm with battery storage near Kalbarri, Western Australia.

Diesel fuel rebate not helping miners move to renewable energy; contracts evolving to squarely put responsibility of delivery onto the shoulders of energy providers; and 'green is the new black'

1. There are some seriously big renewable projects (especially wind/solar) coming on stream in Australia integrating with mining operations. Just last week Advanced Energy Resources announced a deal with GMA Garnet in WA.

2. Miners are talking openly, at industry conferences, about social impact and responsibly reducing carbon footprint. Being a good corporate citizen is now viewed by many in industry as offering value to shareholders, and something that will ultimately increase bottom lines.

3. On balance sheets, the diesel fuel rebate is not assisting Australian miners to justify investment in renewables, but they are doing it anyway.

4. Creativity and collaboration is essential in this industry as leading players seek to learn from the mistakes and experience of others. Speakers last week in Perth spoke openly about mistakes, disagreements and sought advice from eachother.

5. The global leaders in this space are seriously smart, as they have extremely complex engineering, logistical and corporate problems to solve. Intellectual capacity was well above average at this mining conference.

6. Funding for projects is coming from equity, banks, government (ARENA) and direct private investment. Some Australian miners, owned by overseas interests, are taking a long view, and investing heavily in renewables.

7. Some miners are planning to share renewable power set ups with local indigenous communities. This would be a game changer for many communities in northern Australia, when roads are under water during the wet season and diesel cant be trucked in. The miners are not announcing this yet, but they plan to share their power facilities in some cases.

8. Contracting Trends: One popular panel discussion talked about how miners want renewable suppliers to bring solutions in the tendering process. Tell us how you are going to solve our needs, the speaker said. Overall the message is clear, miners mine. Miners are looking for energy specialists to bring knowledge and the a plan for delivery to the table.

9. Some miners, generating/storing their own power, are planning to shut down operations when energy prices are high and sell back to the grid. They will make more money doing this than producing their own products.

10. 'Green is the new black,' says Phillip Mak, (Global Head of Resources, Energy and Northern Australia at National Australia Bank). He says way more renewable projects seeking funding, on visits to his office, than coal these days.

11. Australia is on the verge of a serious shift in energy supply. Atmosphere/buzz at the conference was electric. The atmosphere reminiscent of a Diggers & Dealers Conference in the 1990s, on the verge of a spike in the gold price.

12. No one talked about 'clean coal'.

By Cate Rocchi, CEO of Perth Media.

Cate visited the Energy and Mines Summit in Perth last week. Perth Media was an official sponsor of the event. She chaired a panel at the conference that discussed financing renewables.  Perth Media's clients include VSUN Energy, Australian Vanadium, Bryah Resources and Veritas.