BHP to halve emissions from WA iron ore operations

BHP 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 move, based on current forecast demand and compared with FY2020 reported output, will contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce operational emissions by at least 30 per cent from FY2020 levels by 2030, and its long-term goal of achieving net zero operational emissions by 2050.

It comes after Fortescue yesterday declared it would end fossil fuel use by 2030.

The agreement between BHP and Alinta will see the construction and connection of a 45MW solar farm and 35MW battery energy storage system into Alinta Energy’s existing Port Hedland power station, about 14km from BHP’s port facilities.

The construction of the solar farm, subject to final regulatory approvals, is expected to begin in December 2022 and create 200 jobs. Alinta and BHP are committed to maximising local and Indigenous content, including opportunities for local, Pilbara Aboriginal and Kariyarra Traditional Owner businesses.

Once completed, it is expected that 100 per cent 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, with a current planned capacity of 45MW, and 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. BHP in recent years 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.

Editor of industrial titles and mastheads with Prime Creative Media. Publications include Rail Express and Australian Mining (web content).
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