05 April 2022
BHP has secured enough renewable energy to cover 100 per cent of the power requirements of three of its major nickel operations in Western Australia, following the signing of a new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Enel Green Power.
The PPA between BHP – one of the world’s leading suppliers of nickel to the battery market and Enel Green Power – a leading multi-national renewable energy company within the Enel Group – will underpin construction of stage 1 of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm near the Great Southern town of Kojonup.
Stage 1 is expected to create 120 jobs during construction and up to 10 locally based roles once operational. Construction is due to begin in July 2022, and first power is expected in October 2023.
The new wind farm will comprise the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia at a tip height of 200 metres and is expected to produce 315GWh per annum.
Under the renewable PPA with Enel Green Power, the Flat Rocks Wind Farm will generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of the current power requirements for Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Kambalda Nickel Concentrator from CY2024.
The combined output of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, through the PPA, and the recently announced Merredin Solar Farm PPA is enough to cover the current power requirements of all three of Nickel West’s downstream facilities - the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the Kwinana Nickel Refinery, which are connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
Renewable energy from the Flat Rocks Wind Farm is expected to reduce Nickel West’s market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by just under one third against FY2020 baseline levels* from CY2024 based on current forecast demand.
The combined effect from BHP’s agreements for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, the Merredin Solar Farm and the Northern Goldfields Solar Project is expected to reduce Nickel West’s total market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60 per cent against FY2020 baseline levels* from CY2024, based on current forecast demand.
The Italian-owned Enel Green Power and Moonies Hill Energy, owned by local landowners, have been working on the co-development of Flat Rocks Wind Farm since 2016. The windfarm covers the Shire of Kojonup and Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup.
The area around Kojonup, which is one of Western Australia’s oldest towns and has a rich local history and large Italian population, is an ideal location due to its strong winds and being situated on the southern part of the SWIS.
The Flat Rocks Wind Farm will have a capacity factor of nearly 50 per cent, which is one of the highest in the country, complementing BHP’s use of solar from the Merredin Solar Farm, well-positioning Nickel West for a reliable supply of renewable energy over a 24-hour period.
* As Scope 2 market-based accounting approaches improves, this may impact the expected abatement values achieved from the PPAs.
BHP Nickel West Asset President Jessica Farrell said: “BHP supplies high quality nickel to world markets for use in electric vehicle batteries and other growing technologies that will support global decarbonisation.
“We are taking great strides in making our operations more sustainable and strengthening BHP’s position as a nickel supplier of choice to global customers.
“We are delighted to partner with Enel Green Power as the first customer of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, creating jobs and supporting the Kojonup community with the introduction of a renewable energy industry to the area.”
Enel Green Power Australia Country Manager Werther Esposito said: “We are very proud to be strategic partners and enablers to support BHP’s commitment to decarbonise. With this deal, Enel Green Power is proving itself as a partner which can help Australian companies to achieve sustainable operations.”
WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum; and Energy Bill Johnston said: “Congratulations to BHP and Enel Green Power on this exciting and innovative announcement.
“BHP is creating a new standard for social and environmental outcomes, and setting a great example for other WA mining companies. They’re also helping contribute to the McGowan Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
Moonies Hill Energy Managing Director Sarah Rankin said: “It’s taken 15 years to get to this point so we are very excited that we are now just months away from the commencement of construction. We've got an excellent wind resource at Flat Rocks and I'd be very surprised if the Flat Rocks Wind Farm doesn't feature in the top 5 in the country in terms of wind capacity.”
Shire of Kojonup CEO Grant Thompson said: “The Shire of Kojonup is extremely excited about this wind farm project because a major infrastructure project of this kind, with two of the world’s biggest companies, brings jobs and support for local business. And of course, we're really excited about bringing new families into this great community town and settling them here.”
Robert Stewart, Acting CEO of the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup said: “The Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup is excited about this project from an economic development point of view, not only the jobs it will create and the boost to local economy, but importantly the role it will play in cutting greenhouse gas emissions as we work together to reduce the impact of climate change.”