Rio Tinto intends two 100MW Oz solar sites

Nov 30, 2022 09:27 PM ET
  • Mining titan additionally intends to develop 200MWh of battery storage in Western Australia's Pilbara area
Rio Tinto intends two 100MW Oz solar sites
Image: Science in HD/Unsplash

Mining gigantic Rio Tinto is intending to build 2 100MW solar energy facilities, in addition to 200MWh of on-grid battery storage space, in Western Australia's Pilbara region by 2026.

The investment in renewable resource assets in the Pilbara forms part of the business's efforts to decarbonise its Western Australian iron ore operations.

This is in addition to the 34MW of solar power installed at the lately commissioned Gudai-Darri iron ore mine

Initial funding for Rio Tinto's first significant stand-alone solar farm on the Pilbara coast has been accepted, a 100MW solar photovoltaic system and associated transmission framework.

Construction, which will certainly involve the setup of around 225,000 photovoltaic panels developed to withstand the Pilbara's cyclonic problems, is expected to start next year ahead of project commissioning in 2025.

Rio Tinto is involving with State and local authorities as well as Traditional Owners concerning the project and pertinent approvals. Final capital authorization is expected in the second quarter next year.

These new projects combined are expected to abate around 300,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to a 10% reduction in overall Scope 1 as well as 2 emissions from Rio Tinto's iron ore business in the Pilbara based upon 2021 levels.

This new investment forms part of Rio Tinto's previously announced strategy to finish setup of a 1GW renewable resource system in the Pilbara as part of an international commitment to invest roughly AUS$ 7.5 bn (EUR4.8 bn) to cut in half emissions by 2030.

This will certainly include considerable investment in transmission framework to support full decarbonisation of the Pilbara including electrification of mobile and rail equipment beyond 2030 which is approximated to require approximately 3GW of set up renewable resource assets.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore president Simon Trott claimed: "The Pilbara is exceptionally well-positioned to take advantage of sustainable power with land, access to people, and abundant wind and solar sources.

" Our Pilbara electrical energy grid is the largest privately-owned grid in Australia, making sure that we have the initial infrastructure required to enable a transition to renewable resource.

" We expect to spend around AUS$ 3bn to install renewable energy assets as well as transmission and also storage space upgrades in the Pilbara as part of our commitment to halve our emissions from the Pilbara by the end of this decade."

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