BHP has signed a renewable power purchasing agreement (PPA) to supply up to 50% of its electricity needs at the Kwinana nickel refinery from the Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia.
The agreement will help BHP reduce emissions from electricity use at the refinery by up to 50% by 2024, based on financial year 2020 levels.
The agreement with Risen Energy is for 10 years from February 1, 2021. This will effectively displace an estimated 364,000 t of CO2e over the life of the contract. This is the equivalent of removing 11,200 combustion engine cars from the state’s roads every year.
This is the first renewable energy PPA signed by BHP in Western Australia and follows renewable agreements covering BHP’s operations in Queensland in 2020 and Chile in 2019.
BHP Nickel West, Asset President, Eddy Haegel, said: “This contract will further increase the sustainability of the nickel produced by Nickel West. It will reduce the refinery’s electricity emissions by 50%, diversify our energy supply, and reduce the refinery’s electricity bill.
“Nickel is a future-facing commodity that is essential to creating the high performing lithium ion batteries used in battery electric vehicles (BEVs). 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.
“Nickel West is already one of the most sustainable nickel producers in the world but has committed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions further.
“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 Australia, Vice General Manager, John Zhong, said: “We are proud to sign this agreement with BHP Nickel West. 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.”
The contract will contribute to BHP’s medium-term, science-based target to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2030.
The 132 MW Merredin Solar Farm is made up of 354,452 solar panels and is West Australia’s largest completed solar farm. It has an output of 274 GWh/y of electricity. This is enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.