APA Group has reached a Final Investment Decision (FID) to build stage two of the Mica Creek Solar Farm in Mount Isa, Queensland, a decision that has brought with it an agreement to supply Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines copper-lead-zinc-silver operations in the state with renewable electricity.
The stage two investment is underpinned by a variation to the existing offtake agreement with APA customer Mount Isa Mines Limited (MIM), a Glencore company, according to APA. The variation adds a new service for the supply of electricity from the Mica Creek Solar Farm for 15 years, requiring additional capital expenditure by APA of around A$70 million ($49.8 million).
FID on stage two, which comprises 44 MW of additional solar power generation, follows APA’s announcement on November 1 that APA had reached FID on stage one of the Mica Creek Solar Farm and entered into an offtake agreement with MMG’s Dugald River operation to supply an initial 44 MW of renewable electricity to the miner. APA’s total investment for both stages of the works is estimated to be around A$150 million.
The second stage of the solar farm is to be co-located on the same site as stage one, near APA’s Diamantina Power Station Complex, on land which is leased from the Queensland Government. The solar farm is expected to be operational by mid-2023.
APA’s solar offtake agreement has been negotiated at a commercially competitive tariff, consistent with utility solar pricing, and will reduce the average delivered cost of power for MIM, APA said.
“This A$150 million investment will support APA’s vision for a world-leading hybrid energy grid in Mount Isa and our aspiration to support the further increases of renewable energy penetration for the region,” APA CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said.
“The support for the 88 MW Mica Creek Solar Farm demonstrates the enthusiasm of customers in the Mount Isa region for integrated energy solutions that can both meet their energy needs and help reduce their operational emissions.
“With continued strong interest from customers, APA is investigating a potential expansion for a third stage.”