Rio Tinto has approved a new 12.4MW solar farm and 8.8MVa/2.1MWh battery storage for its Amrun bauxite operations near Weipa, Queensland.
The solar farm and battery storage are part of Rio Tinto’s global decarbonisation strategy, aiming to reduce emissions across its Pacific bauxite, alumina, and aluminum operations.
Expected to cut Amrun’s diesel electricity consumption by 37 per cent and annual CO2-equivalent emissions by 14,000 tonnes, the new facilities will complement existing solar and battery power infrastructure established since 2015.
Aggreko has been contracted to build, own, and operate the solar farm, supplying renewable electricity to the mine operations alongside its existing contract for electricity from a diesel power station.
Rio Tinto Weipa operations general manager Shona Markham stated that the construction of the Amrun solar farm is a significant milestone for Weipa Operations, contributing to Rio Tinto’s commitment to reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Amrun solar farm will be one of three Weipa Operations solar stations, which will together provide 18MW of solar generation capacity to our mines and the Weipa town. This project helps us make inroads towards our ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations.” Markham said.
The Amrun solar farm is part of a larger initiative, including two additional solar stations providing a total solar generation capacity of 18MW for the mines and the Weipa town.
Early construction has begun on the solar farm, with an expected operational date in early 2025, providing about 21 gigawatt hours of renewable power annually.
Combined with the existing Weipa renewable power generation network, the solar farms are estimated to reduce Weipa Operations’ diesel consumption by about 10 million litres per year, lowering annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 28,000 tonnes.