BHP’s Queensland mines are to be part-powered by renewable energy, thanks to a deal with State Government-owned clean energy generator and retailer, CleanCo.
CleanCo has sealed a five-year clean energy deal with BHP to provide half the power needs of the Big Australian’s Queensland mines. This means that eventually wind and solar energy from south-west Queensland and hydro from Far North Queensland and Wivenhoe will be powering mines in central Queensland
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said BHP’s commitment will help underwrite CleanCo’s investments in the MacIntyre Precinct and Western Downs Green Power Hub and their 800 new regional jobs in south-west Queensland.
“With the Government’s renewable energy zone initiative, the south-west will continue to flourish as a renewable development and jobs hub.”
BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Asset President James Palmer said the five-year contract, commencing from 1 January 2021, will help BHP’s operations across Queensland to further increase their sustainability through reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated from electricity use across its Queensland operations by half by 2025.
“It will also support two greenfield renewable projects that in turn are expected to generate regional jobs in Queensland.”
Initially, energy will come from CleanCo’s existing low-emission generation portfolio of hydro and gas. Solar and wind energy will kick in from late 2022 when the Western Downs Green Power Hub is expected to be commissioned, with CleanCo’s Karara wind farm to follow.
CleanCo is building the 100 megawatt (MW) Karara wind farm, the first new publicly-owned renewable energy generation in Queensland in 20 years.
The generator is also buying another 400 MW of new renewable energy from ACCIONA’s neighbouring Macintyre wind farm. CleanCo’s involvement in the MacIntyre Precinct has nearly doubled the size and capacity of the 1026 MW precinct, which will start supplying energy to the grid in 2022.
CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said its hydro and gas assets provide competitively-priced clean energy products to commercial and industrial customers.
“We’re committed to improving affordability and creating regional growth and jobs for Queenslanders and achieving our target to support 1000 MW of new renewable generation by 2025, which will help Queensland achieve its goal of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” she said.