Merredian Solar Farm to power half of electricity needs of Kwinana refinery
In a 10 years contract, Merredian Solar Farm has agreed to supply half of the electricity needs of Nickel West Kwinana refinery owned by the mining giant BHP in Western Australia. The bundled PPA with BHP will run for ten years from 1 February 2021, with an option for further extension.
With this, emissions from electricity use at the refinery can be cut up to 50 per cent by 2024. This will effectively displace an estimated 364,000 tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2031. It will also diversify their energy supply, and reduce the refinery’s electricity bill by up to 20 per cent.
“Nickel is a future-facing commodity, and sustainable nickel production is essential to meet future demand. This contract, the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits, and our integrated value chain increases our position as one of the least carbon-intensive nickel miners in the world.” said Eddy Haegel, Asset President of BHP Nickel West.
100MW Merredin solar farm, developed by Risen Energy is the biggest in Western Australia and has reached 100 per cent operational output in August 2020. As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy (Australia) progressed the project from funding, detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and operation.
Risen Energy Vice General Manager John Zhong said he hoped this BHP partnership would be the first of many that could be powered by the Merredin solar farm. “This agreement will bolster current and future Western Australian renewable projects. We look forward to welcoming many more clean energy partnerships to power manufacturing, minerals processing and other Western Australian industries,” he said.
Mining giant BHP has confirmed its plans to turn to renewable energy at its mining operations globally. It has already cancelled its current coal contracts at huge copper mines in Chile, saying that it aimed to source 100 per cent of its power needs from renewables from the mid-2020s.
BHP has also announced a five-year contract to source wind and solar power for half of the energy requirements for its coal mining operations in Queensland. It plans to underpin the development of Australia’s biggest solar farm at Western Downs.
The PPA marks the first renewable energy agreement of its kind signed by BHP in Western Australia and specifically sources 100% of the contracted energy from solar sources. The move is part of the company’s strategy to decrease its emissions. Western Australia’s Minister for Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Bill Johnston, congratulated the move.
“BHP’s Kwinana nickel refinery is a key contributor to WA’s future battery industry, and is helping global efforts to de-carbonise. The McGowan Government is supportive of mining and resources companies that embrace clean energy solutions,” Johnston said in a statement.
Risen Energy has a long-term plan to be a major independent renewable power producer within Australia. The Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia and the Yarranlea Solar Farm in Queensland are the first two steps in of Risen Energy which helped them achieve their goal of delivering 2GW of clean energy to Australia.
Sunbloom has strong partnership with the mining giant BHP Billiton. Sunbloom has a great role in BHP’s emission reduction moves. Sunbloom is always keen to give back to community. Besides working for company’s progress, operational, economic, social and environmental sustainability is at the heart of how we provide energy and improve our society. We take sustainability and environmental protection seriously. Social responsibility is intrinsic to our business. Sunbloom’s corporate social responsibility initiatives reaffirm our commitment to empowering communities and building a greener tomorrow.