Nickel West operations set against a cloudy blue sky

Nickel West takes big steps on pathway to net zero

Nickel West has taken big steps towards producing sustainable nickel on its pathway to net zero.

Nickel West has signed three renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the asset. 

In April 2022, Nickel West signed a power deal with Enel Green Power, a leading multinational renewable energy company within the Enel Group, to underpin construction of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm near the Great Southern town of Kojonup, in Western Australia. At a tip height of 200 metres, the wind farm will comprise the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia and is expected to produce 315 GWh per annum.

Construction commenced in 2022 with first power anticipated by October 2023.

The wind farm will connect into Western Australia’s largest network, the South West Interconnected System, to which Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and Kwinana Nickel Refinery all connect. 

A 2021 PPA with Western Australia’s largest solar farm, Merredin Solar Farm, has already resulted in significant energy cost savings to Nickel West and, from 2024, is expected to help reduce Nickel West’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Once the Flat Rocks Wind Farm is fully operational, the combined output of the Merredin Solar Farm and the wind farm is expected to meet 100 per cent of the current power requirements of Nickel West’s downstream facilities – the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the Kwinana Nickel Refinery. 

As the wind farm is expected to generate the majority of its electricity in the evening and overnight, it will complement solar output from the Merredin Solar Farm. This is expected to deliver reliable and affordable generation of renewable energy for Nickel West consistently over a 24-hour period. 

Construction is also underway on the Northern Goldfields Solar Project, BHP’s first solar farm and battery energy storage system at Nickel West’s Mt Keith and Leinster mining and concentrating operations in the Northern Goldfields. Once complete, this will be one of the world’s largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems, replacing power currently generated by diesel and gas.

The combined impact of BHP’s agreements with the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, the Merredin Solar Farm and the Northern Goldfields Solar Project, is an expected reduction in Nickel West’s total market-based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 60 per cent against FY2020 baseline levels1 commencing in CY2024, when Flat Rocks is expected to be fully operational. 

1 As Scope 2 market-based accounting approaches improves, this may impact the expected abatement values achieved from the PPAs.