BHP says it expects to halve emissions from the generation of electricity used to power its WA Iron Ore port facilities in Port Hedland by the end of 2024, following the signing of a large-scale renewable Power Purchase Agreement with Alinta Energy.
The halving of reported emissions, based on current forecast demand and compared with financial year 2020 (FY2020) reported emissions, will contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce operational emissions by at least 30% from FY2020 levels by 2030 and the company’s long-term goal of achieving net zero operational emissions by 2050.
This agreement between BHP and Alinta will see the construction and connection of a 45 MW solar farm and 35 MW battery energy storage system into Alinta Energy’s existing Port Hedland power station, approximately 14 km from BHP’s port facilities, BHP says.
The construction of the solar farm, subject to final regulatory approvals, is expected to begin in December 2022 and create 200 jobs.
Once completed, it is expected that 100% of the forecasted average daytime energy requirements for BHP’s port facilities will be powered by solar generation, with the remaining power requirements to be met through the integrated battery energy storage system and market access to Alinta Energy’s existing gas fuelled power station facilities.
BHP is the foundation customer of Alinta’s solar battery hybrid project, which is expected to be the first large-scale renewable facility at Port Hedland and will support the expansion of the renewable energy industry in Western Australia.
In addition, BHP and Alinta Energy have entered into a memorandum of understanding in relation to the development of the Shay Gap Wind Farm. The Shay Gap Wind Farm is currently planned to be 45 MW, with a potential first-generation date of 2027.
The PPA is the latest milestone in BHP progressing its plan to reduce operational emissions in line with BHP’s climate targets and goals.
In recent years, it has signed power purchase agreements to provide renewable energy to BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia, Olympic Dam operations in South Australia, BMA operations in Queensland and the Escondida copper mine in Chile.
BHP’s WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “The world needs WA’s high quality iron ore to support economic development and decarbonisation, and we are committed to supplying iron ore more sustainably while investing in WA and creating local jobs. We are delighted to expand our partnership with Alinta Energy as we seek to lower emissions from our WA iron ore business.”
Alinta Energy MD and CEO, Jeff Dimery, said that BHP was once again demonstrating strong leadership in the transition to net zero.
“This is exactly the kind of leadership, progress and smart use of renewables and storage that we need from companies like BHP to show the way forward for Australia,” he said. “We’re excited to get the project underway and thank BHP for their partnership and vision.”