Our SVP Roberto Berardo talks about how Release by Scatec is lowering the barrier to clean energy for the mining industry.
Roberto Berardo has no doubts that the future will be electrified. He’s spent his career venturing into countries, working with utilities and governments, to build renewable power plants that electrify communities.
Along the way, he started to realise that the clean energy transition wasn’t exactly within reach for all. It can be perceived as complex, costly, often lengthy, and with many moving parts – which can serve as a barrier for certain industries.
This barrier is what Release by Scatec was designed to overcome. Today, Roberto is an SVP with the Release team, and his focus is on ensuring that the mining industry has access to affordable renewable energy.
“I came into the renewable energy industry because I was passionate about giving people the opportunity to produce their own power. When we (at Scatec) started developing Release, that’s when I saw this vision truly coming to life. Here was a solution that didn’t require heavy infrastructure, major investment, government concessions or long-term commitments.”
Release is a simple and flexible way to bring renewable energy to mines
The concept behind Release is to deliver renewable energy in a simpler way. It’s a way for remote and off-grid mining operations, that may not have a long life of mine, to procure renewable energy quickly and easily, without requiring capital expenditure and lengthy approval processes.
“I think everyone is starting to realise that mining is critical to the energy transition. This is where we get the minerals to produce renewable energy technologies. But we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t think about how to power those mines in a sustainable way.”
Solar power meets cost and sustainability requirements of mines
A mine looking to transition to clean energy may be motivated in two ways. The first, according to Roberto, is the fact that solar power is now a cheaper way to power the mine – versus only relying on gas or diesel or other carbon-emitting power sources exclusively. The second, he says, relates to growing sustainability requirements and expectations from government, investors and other stakeholders.
“In addition to cost and sustainability, we also see that mines are vulnerable to supply chain challenges including importing fuel, a third factor in why solar makes sense.”
What doesn’t make sense for a mine, is to build fixed solar infrastructure for an operation that may not be there in five to ten years. Flexibility is key. The mine requires cost efficient power now, not in 10 years from now, which makes a leased and portable solar power plant a way for them to jump start their clean energy transition.
“Nearly everything in our daily lives comes from the mines, and mines have an opportunity to take the lead in using the clean energy solutions that they enable,” says Roberto. “And now we can give them what they need to produce their own power, all while cutting costs and reducing their emissions. It’s a win for mining and a win for the planet.”