Genesis of the project
Yandicoogina is an open cut mine located in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. Iron ore is processed on site and then transported 450km by train to the port of Dampier for export.
As part of the site energy management team’s preparation for an energy efficiency assessment under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program, gaps in electrical energy data across the site were identified.
The investment required for electrical metering can be difficult to justify because the benefits are hard to quantify.
At Yandicoogina the business case for metering was developed over a six month period. An experienced electrical engineer, who was also the site Energy Champion, played a key role in developing the business case. His knowledge of power quality issues meant that he was able to demonstrate in the proposal the production benefits that the metering could help deliver through reduced plant downtime.
The business case – costs and benefits
The cost to install the meters was approximately $600,000.
The benefits presented in the business case included:
- Improved power quality and less unplanned plant downtime
- Compliance with EEO requirements
- Identification and evaluation of energy efficiency projects that were likely to have been rejected due to a lack of energy data
- Development of key performance indicators at the process level, which allows ongoing area-specific plant inefficiencies to be highlighted and investigated
- Increased awareness of energy consumption in the workplace by communicating energy-related performance data more frequently
- Streamlined review and analysis of energy data by linking the meters to the site’s SCADA system.
Rio Tinto’s corporate commitment to energy efficiency and regular briefings on energy efficiency risks and opportunities to the site management team were factors that also contributed to the final approval of the business case proposal for energy meters.
Fifty six Schneider ION meters have been installed. The model of the ION meter varied depending on the engineering requirements, i.e. major substations had a higher end model installed so that power quality analysis could be done. The ION meters were specifically selected due to the ease with which they integrate into the site SCADA system and the consequent ease with which data can be interrogated.
A number of opportunities identified through the assessment that may have been rejected due to a lack of energy data have been evaluated more closely. For example, electricity consumption data from the ION meters was used to estimate the potential savings from modifying conveyor belt realignment and the idler replacement program.
Tips for success
- Link energy projects to current business priorities such as improving power quality, reducing plant downtime and meeting compliance obligations.
- Involve the right technical expertise as the business case proposal is being developed to ensure that all costs, benefits and risks are considered and accounted for.
Refer to the section on linking your project to current business priorities for further information.