02/02/2021 - 14:00

BHP in solar power deal for Kwinana

02/02/2021 - 14:00

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Mining giant BHP has signed an agreement with the operator of Western Australia’s largest solar farm to supply half of the electricity needs at its Kwinana nickel refinery.

BHP in solar power deal for Kwinana
The Merredin solar farm in WA produces enough energy to power 42,000 homes annually. Photo: Supplied

Mining giant BHP has signed an agreement with the operator of Western Australia’s largest solar farm to supply half of the electricity needs at its Kwinana nickel refinery.

The 10-year deal will help slash emissions at the refinery in half by 2024, BHP said.

Electricity will be sourced from Risen Energy’s 132-megawatt Merredin solar farm, which produces enough electricity to power 42,000 homes annually.

The power purchasing agreement (PPA) is expected to displace an estimated 364,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from the refinery, equal to removing 11,200 vehicles from WA roads, BHP says.

The deal marks its first PPA in the state and follows agreements covering BHP operations in Queensland and Chile.

BHP Nickel West president Eddy Haegel said the contract would also diversify BHP’s energy supply and reduce energy costs.

The Kwinana refinery, which employs more than 3,500 people including contractors, processes ore from BHP’s Cliffs and Leinster underground mines, as well as from its Rocky’s Reward open-pit mine.

“Nickel is a future-facing commodity that is essential to creating the high performing lithium ion batteries used in battery electric vehicles (BEV),” Mr Haegel said.

“Consequently, the demand for nickel and especially the nickel produced by Nickel West is set to grow dramatically.

“The sustainable production of nickel is also essential to meet this future demand as the customers purchasing BEVs want to know that the inputs to the manufacturing of these vehicles are also sustainable.”

Mr Haegel said BHP was one of the most sustainable nickel producers globally.

“This contract, combined with our high quality nickel deposits, and our integrated value chain further improves our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world.”

Risen Energy vice general manager John Zhong said the agreement bolstered current and future WA renewable energy projects.

“We look forward to welcoming many more clean energy partnerships to power manufacturing, minerals processing and other Western Australian industries.”

Risen is headquartered in China and has more than 10,000 employees globally. Its Merredin solar farm was built by local business Monford Group in December 2019.

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