Leading global energy producer EDL will build, own and operate a new solar farm and battery storage system to supplement its existing solar farm at Weipa, effectively tripling its supply of clean, reliable energy to Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine operations in Weipa and the remote township.
EDL Chief Executive Officer James Harman said that EDL welcomed the opportunity to continue supporting Rio Tinto to reduce carbon emissions.
“Since EDL purchased the existing Weipa solar farm in 2018, we have delivered high penetration, award-winning hybrid renewable microgrids in other remote locations around Australia.
“We’ll be leveraging expertise from these projects to increase our supply of clean energy for Rio Tinto’s operations and the local community, with no compromise on power quality or reliability.”
The project will integrate 4MW of solar generation and a 4MW/4MWh battery, with the existing 1.6MW solar farm and Rio Tinto’s diesel-fired power station to balance sustainability with reliability. The battery storage will stabilise the power system, while the thermal generation fills the gap in the evening or when there is low sunlight.
Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific Bauxite Operations General Manager Michelle Elvy said, “The new solar farm and battery storage at Weipa will help us lower our carbon footprint and diesel use in a reliable way.
“The original Weipa solar farm was the largest solar facility at an off-grid Australian mine site at the time it was built, and it played an important role in showing the viability of renewable energy systems in remote locations.
“The new solar farm and battery storage system is part of Rio Tinto’s group-wide commitment to reduce emissions across our operations. There is clearly more work to be done, but projects like this are an important part of meeting our climate targets.”
Construction will begin shortly, with completion scheduled for late 2022.