Installation of Solar Panels Starts in Northern Goldfields
BHP's massive solar farm at the Leinster Nickel Operation in the Northern Goldfields has begun the installation of its first solar panels this week.
By the end of 2022, over 20,000 solar panels will be placed on this site alone to assist power BHP Nickel West's mining and concentration operations in Leinster.
At the Mt. Keith Operation, about 51,000 solar panels are being installed.
The Northern Goldfields Solar Project, which will be built and owned by one of BHP Nickel West's renewable energy partners, TransAlta, consists of a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt Keith Nickel Operation and a 10.7 MW solar farm and 10.1 MW battery at Leinster Nickel Operation, which will be integrated into TransAlta's Northern Goldfields remote power grid.
This project, which will replace diesel and gas generation, will enable BHP Nickel West to reduce Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions at its Mt Keith and Leinster facilities by 12 per cent, resulting in an expected annual reduction of 54,000 tonnes of CO2-e.
The construction phase of the solar project has created more than one hundred direct and indirect jobs in the Goldfields and Perth regions, and it is anticipated that the first solar energy will be generated by the end of 2022.
Jessica Farrell, president of BHP Nickel West Asset, stated that BHP was delivering its goal to produce sustainable, low-carbon nickel for its clients, a product in strong demand to power batteries and electric vehicles.
“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is BHP’s first off-grid large-scale renewable energy project across our global operations and, significantly, will remove the equivalent of up to 23,000 combustion engine cars from the road every year, supporting our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” Ms Farrell said.
TransAlta is also collaborating with BHP Nickel West to investigate prospective wind locations for a 40 to 50MW wind farm that would connect to TransAlta's northern grid and lower Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions from BHP's Mt Keith and Leinster facilities.
The addition of wind will improve the renewable energy supply to support BHP's expansion and advance both companies' sustainability objectives.