BHP operations in Chile start to operate with renewable energies

  • The renewable energy contracts with ENEL Generación Chile and Colbún are the largest signed by an unregulated client in Chile 
  • Escondida and Spence will be supplied with 100% renewable energy.

This week the Escondida and Spence operations began operating with renewable energy as the first renewable energy contracts tendered in 2019 came into force.

In 2019, Escondida and Spence launched a tender for 100% renewable energy leading to the adjudication of 3 TWh/year to ENEL Generación Chile for 15 years, and 3 TWh/year to Colbún, for 10 years. ENEL Generación's contracts came into effect this week, while the contracts with Colbún will do so in January 2022.

The entry into force of the first renewable energy contracts are a significant contribution to BHP's global transition towards achieving zero emissions by 2050 and is an important milestone for the Escondida and Spence operations, which will be supplied with 100% renewable energy as from  the middle of this decade.

The contract with ENEL Generación Chile that has just entered into force replaces a coal-based supply contract, which was terminated early in order to accelerate the transition to cleaner sources.

These renewable energy contracts are the largest signed by an unregulated customer in Chile. The replacement of fossil-fuel based contracts with those based on 100% renewable energy will displace more than 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2022, the equivalent of the annual emissions of around 700,000 combustion-engine cars.

Towards a more sustainable mining

BHP's transition towards the use of renewable energy builds on the water strategy that it has been developing since 2006 – when its first desalination plant was commissioned  - and which today allows Escondida to operate with 100% desalinated water. In addition, in December 2020, a new plant began supplying desalinated water to Spence.

The use of renewable energy and desalinated water are part of BHP's global strategy to develop more sustainable mining.