30/07/2021 - 11:30

TransAlta to build $73m renewable project

30/07/2021 - 11:30

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TransAlta will build a $73 million solar and battery project in the Northern Goldfields to power BHP Nickel West, helping the miner cut carbon for battery products.

The Emu Downs solar farm in the Mid West. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

TransAlta will build a $73 million solar and battery project in the Northern Goldfields to power BHP Nickel West, helping the miner cut carbon for battery products.

BHP Nickel West and TransAlta Corporation extended a power purchase agreement for 16 years in a deal in October 2020.

Today’s announcement means Canadian business TransAlta will build a 27.4 megawatt solar farm at Mount Keith, and a 10.7MW solar farm at Leinster.

Leinster will also be home to a battery system with 5.4 megawatt hour storage capacity and up to 10.1MW of output.

All of that will be connected through new transmission lines linking the solar farms into the existing Southern Cross network operated by TransAlta for BHP.

It comes a week after BHP revealed a deal with electric carmaker Tesla, where it would supply nickel for batteries, and said it planned to find ways to reduce emissions for its products.

Scope two emissions will be cut by 540,000 tonnes of carbon a year through the new project.

BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel said it was the first large scale onsite solar farm commissioned by BHP globally.

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will further improve our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world,” Mr Hagel said. 

“It will reduce emissions from electricity use at Mt Keith and Leinster by 12 per cent, reduce fuel costs and improve the reliability of our electricity supply with the addition of the battery storage system.”

TransAlta renewables division president Todd Stack said it was the company’s first solar and battery project in Australia.

Juwi Renewable Energy was picked for engineering, procurement and construction work.

A final investment decision is expected before the end of the September quarter.

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