This week, work on the massive solar farm owned by BHP at the Leinster Nickel Operation in the Northern Goldfields began with the installation of the first solar panels.
More than 20,000 solar panels will be put in place at this location alone by the end of 2022, helping to power BHP Nickel West’s mining and concentrating operations at Leinster.
There are even more at the Mt. Keith operation, where over 51,000 solar panels are being installed.
BHP said the 27.4 MW solar farm at the Mt. Keith Nickel Operation and the 10.7 MW solar farm and 10.1 MW battery at the Leinster Nickel Operation are part of the Northern Goldfields Solar Project, which will be built and owned by one of BHP Nickel West’s renewable energy partners, TransAlta.
These facilities will be integrated into TransAlta’s Northern Goldfields remote power grid.
BHP Nickel West Asset President Jessica Farrell said the construction phase of the solar project has created more than 100 direct and indirect jobs in the Goldfields and Perth regions and is expected to produce its first solar power by the end of 2022.
“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is BHP’s first off-grid large-scale renewable energy project across our global operations and, significantly, will remove the equivalent of up to 23,000 combustion engine cars  from the road every year, supporting our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” Ms Farrell added.
According to BHP’s statement, TransAlta is also working with BHP Nickel West to identify potential wind sites for a 40 to 50MW wind farm, which would connect to TransAlta’s northern grid and reduce Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions at BHP’s Mt Keith and Leinster operations.
“Adding wind will increase renewable energy supply to support BHP’s growth and further each company’s sustainability goals,” it says in the statement.