BHP goes green at Olympic Dam

BHP have signed a renewable power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Australia to supply electricity to its Olympic Dam mine from the 317MW Port August Renewable Energy Park in South Australia.
BHP goes green at Olympic Dam BHP goes green at Olympic Dam BHP goes green at Olympic Dam BHP goes green at Olympic Dam BHP goes green at Olympic Dam

BHP's Olympic Dam operation in Roxby Downs, SA

Mark Tilly

BHP said the renewable energy site would be the largest solar-wind hybrid plant in the country once in operations in July 2022.

The miner will be primary customer of the new facility, with the supply arrangements to include a retail agreement with Origin Energy, who will facilitate the arrangements, BHP said.

The company expects the renewable energy park will reduce emissions from the site by 50% by 2025.

"These arrangements will support an exciting new renewable energy project which will contribute to South Australia's renewable energy ambitions," BHP Olympic Dam asset president Jennifer Purdie said.

"Olympic Dam's copper has an important role to play to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition as an essential product in electric vehicles and renewable infrastructure."

The $500 million renewable facility will consist of 210 megawatts of wind and 107MW of solar PV. 

Iberdrola Australia CEO and managing director Ross Rolfe said the company worked closely with BHP to design the renewable energy supply arrangements.

 "We are delighted to be partnering with BHP, helping them meet their decarbonisation and sustainability objectives," he said.

Iberdrola entered the Australian market after acquiring ASX-listed renewables player Infigen last year, with the Spanish giant eyeing off what it described as significant opportunities in the country.

It now operates more than 800MW of owned and contracted solar, wind, and battery storage capacity in the country, with 453MW under construction and a project pipeline of some 1GW.

BHP said the arrangements, intended to begin on July 1 2022, are one of the actions it is taking to contribute to its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1 and 2) from its operated assets by at least 30% from FY2020 levels by FY2030.

The announcement was welcomed by South Australia energy and mining minister Dan Van Holst Pellekaan.

"The arrangements highlight the good sense of BHP, Iberdrola and other companies getting the generation mix right, including wind and solar farms, grid scale storage and fast start gas, to provide cleaner and more reliable electricity."