BHP renews 24-hour power for Nickel West


BHP has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Enel Green Power, securing 100 per cent renewable energy for three major nickel operations in Western Australia.

The PPA will facilitate stage one construction of the Flat Rocks wind farm near the town of Kojonup, creating 120 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs thereafter.

Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2022 and will become operational in October 2023 as it provides 315GWh per annum.

Such power will come from the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia, each measuring 200 metres tall.

These turbines will match the current power requirements for BHP Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie nickel smelter and Kambalda nickel concentrator from the beginning of 2024.

BHP Nickel West asset president Jessica Farrell said clean energy for clean technology metals was the way to go for BHP.

“BHP supplies high quality nickel to world markets for use in electric vehicle batteries and other growing technologies that will support global decarbonisation.

“We are taking great strides in making our operations more sustainable and strengthening BHP’s position as a nickel supplier of choice to global customers.”

Flat Rocks’ energy output will combine with the recently announced Merredin solar farm PPA to power the Kalgoorlie and Kambalda operations, as well as and the Kwinana nickel refinery.

Flat Rocks’ contribution will reduce Nickel West’s scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by just under one third compared to 2020 levels from 2024 onwards.

Flat Rocks and Merredin’s combined contribution will reduce these emissions by nearly 60 per cent.

The Flat Rocks wind farm has been co-developed by Enel Green Power and Moonies Hill Energy since 2016.

Moonies managing director Sarah Rankin said such preparation had set the project to become a case study in high quality wind power.

“It’s taken 15 years to get to this point, so we are very excited that we are now just months away from the commencement of construction,” Rankin said.

“We’ve got an excellent wind resource at Flat Rocks and I’d be very surprised if the Flat Rocks wind farm doesn’t feature in the top five in the country in terms of wind capacity.”

BHP showed confidence that these renewable energy providers would be enough to mitigate any questions of reliability, as are often levelled at renewable energy in mining.

“The Flat Rocks wind farm will have a capacity factor of nearly 50 per cent, which is one of the highest in the country, complementing BHP’s use of solar from the Merredin solar farm, well-positioning Nickel West for a reliable supply of renewable energy over a 24-hour period,” BHP stated.

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