Downer wins solar farm contract at Fortescue site

The Cloudbreak site. Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Downer has secured a $165 million contract from Alinta Energy to build a 60 megawatt solar farm at Fortescue Metals Group’s Chichester Hub in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The contractor was also awarded a contract for the supporting power infrastructure as part of the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project.

Fortescue’s overall project includes the construction of a new solar photovoltaic generation facility at the Chichester Hub iron ore operations, as well as a 60-kilometre transmission line linking the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak operations with Alinta’s Newman gas-fired power station and 35 megawatt battery facility.

The iron ore miner plans to use solar power for up to 100 per cent of its daytime energy requirements at the Chichester Hub iron ore operations, which is expected to be completed by the first half of 2021.

Fortescue’s remaining power requirements will be met through the integrated battery storage and gas power station facilities.

Downer’s contract will include the engineering procurement and construction of the Chichester Solar Farm, 60 kilometres of transmission line, two new substations and the upgrade of another.

Grant Fenn, chief executive officer of Downer, said the award was another endorsement of the contractor’s experience and leadership in delivering renewable energy projects.

“We are looking forward to delivering the project in partnership with Alinta Energy and we are expecting an efficient integration of the solar farm and supporting power infrastructure into Alinta Energy’s existing network in the Pilbara,” Fenn said.

Alinta Energy managing director and CEO Jeff Dimery added his support for the partnership.

“Working together, we are on the cusp of demonstrating that renewables can drive Australia’s economic powerhouses forward – even for remote and complex industrial applications,” Dimery said.

Fortescue will potentially displace around 100 million litres of diesel that is annually used at the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak power stations through the project.

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