BHP to reduce emissions at Nickel West with solar and battery projects

BHP and its power supplier in the Western Australian Goldfields are to build two solar farms and a battery storage system to power the Mt Keith and Leinster operations at Nickel West with clean energy.

The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will include a 27.4MW solar farm at Mt Keith and a 10.7MW solar farm and 10.1MW battery at Leinster, displacing power currently supplied by diesel and gas turbine generation.

The transition to renewable power production will reduce BHP’s carbon equivalent emissions by 540,000 tonnes during the first 10 years of operation.

BHP commissioned the solar farms and battery to be built, owned, and operated by Canada-based energy supplier TransAlta as part of the PPA extension signed in October 2020. Construction will commence in the second quarter of next year, with a 12-14 month build time estimated.

“This is the first large-scale onsite solar farm and battery that BHP has commissioned at any of its global operations,” said BHP Nickel West, asset president, Eddy Haegel.

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will further improve our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world. It will reduce emissions from electricity use at Mt Keith and Leinster by 12%, reduce fuel costs and improve the reliability of our electricity supply with the addition of the battery storage system.

“This announcement follows the nickel supply agreement we signed with Tesla last week. Sustainable low carbon nickel is essential for our battery and electric vehicle customers.”

BHP aims to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its operated assets by at least 30% from FY2020 levels by FY2030.