Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Policy & Politics

Mining by Moonlight to Save Energy

Mining uses much more electricity than most other heavy industries, so it makes sense to move that high energy use to off-peak hours, because that evens out the demand on the grid, making it possible to squeeze more power out of fewer dirty electric plants, and to use more clean energy.

So the Ontario government has just asked the nickel-mining giant XStrada, and the second-largest mining company in the world, Vale; to work nights.

Residential electricity customers in the Canadian province already have time-of-use pricing encouraging them to run the dishwasher in the wee hours; but this is a first for heavy industry there.

Under the new pricing structure, the two giant mining operations stand to reduce their giant electricity bills, as much as 15%. An Xstrata representative said equipment and operations that use a lot of power such as the skips used to haul ore out of their mines could be operated at off-peak periods instead of during the day, according to local news outlet Northern Life.

When companies want to add value to their ore bodies by increasing the processing of the ore, that also means using more power.

And mining is not the only heavy industry that is being prodded by the Ontario government to working the night-shift with these new incentive rates. All told, about 200 of the province’s heaviest electricity users will be affected by the new rate structure pushing them to work nights.

This is not the first restriction the Ontario government has placed on mining. Last year it moved to reduce the introduction of new coal mines. The savings in greenhouse gases come partly because if the grid is evened out, fewer coal plants would need to be built in the Canadian province, which gets the vast majority of its electricity from hydro power built in the ’60s and ’70s.

The alternative to becoming nocturnal is to devise ways to store more clean energy when it is produced, so several utilities in several Canadian provinces and US states are also beginning to look into ways to store off-peak power.

Image: Jean Mckenna
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


You May Also Like

Green Economy

Deep sea mining, carbon capture, and geoengineering. Three ideas that treat the symptoms but not the cause of global warming.

Clean Transport

Last year, I shared the lesser-known story of the first electric Minis. For most people, the first electric Mini was the one revealed around...

Clean Transport

Campus-based operations such as mines are some of the best places for utilizing electric vehicles. The nature of their operations often revolve around regular,...

Clean Transport

Lithium, lithium, lithium — as much as we cover the lithium market, there’s much more to cover. The lithium market is jumping. Below are...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.