Aggreko has successfully won the bid to build, own and operate a 12.4 MW solar farm and 8.8 MW/2.1 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) under a long-term power purchase agreement for Rio Tinto’s Amrun project in Weipa, 800 km from Cairns in far north Queensland.
Rio Tinto said the project, which will supplement power currently supplied by Aggreko’s diesel generators, will help it reduce Scope 2 emissions at its Weipa operations by up to 10%.
Once operational, Aggreko’s 12.4 MW solar farm and BESS are expected to reduce Amrun’s diesel electricity consumption by 37% or approximately 5.5 million litres of diesel fuel per year. This will reduce annual CO2 emissions by approximately 14,000 t, which is the equivalent of taking 3,100 internal combustion engine cars off the road.
Rio Tinto General Manager Weipa Operations, Shona Markham, said the miner is committed to delivering sustainable, low-carbon bauxite to its customers.
“The construction of the Amrun solar farm and BESS, which is located on Wik and Wik-Waya Traditional lands, is an important milestone for Weipa operations and will contribute to Rio Tinto’s commitment to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
The remote location and power effectiveness made Aggreko the ideal company to build, own, operate and maintain the Amrun solar farm, it said. Aggreko’s capabilities will ensure Rio Tinto has constant and efficient energy for critical applications and day-to-day use at Amrun.
George Whyte, Managing Director of Aggreko Asia Pacific, said his team has delivered many similar applications and the focus now is completing the job on time and safely.
“At Aggreko, we pride ourselves on our exceptional safety record,” Whyte said. “The existing power stations’ performance is essential for all Weipa operations, and as we look into the future, we are confident that the introduction of solar will help both companies achieve our decarbonisation targets.”
Early works have commenced on the Amrun solar farm, which is expected to be operational by early 2025, with no interruption to local power services. Once completed, the Amrun solar farm will provide around 21 GWh/y of renewable power.
Rio Tinto completed the commissioning of the Amrun bauxite mine in 2019. The mine and associated processing and port facilities replaced production from Rio Tinto’s depleting East Weipa mine, increasing annual bauxite export capacity by around 10 Mt at that time.