Rio Tinto, Windlab ink Gladstone renewable power deal

Rio Tinto confirmed it has signed a power purchase agreement, the largest ever for Australia, to energize its Gladstone operations in central Queensland.

The miner has agreed to buy the majority of electricity from Windlab’s planned 1.4-GW Bungaban wind energy project, making it the biggest industrial buyer of renewable power in Australia.

Rio Tinto officials called it a major step in its work to repower production assets at Gladstone, including the Boyne aluminium smelter, Yarwun alumina refinery and Queensland Alumina refinery.

Specifically under the new PPA, Rio Tinto will buy 80% of all power generated from the Bungaban wind energy project over 25 years.

The project, which is currently in early development, will be built and operated by Windlab at a site in Queensland about 40 kilometres from Wandoan and 290 kilometres southwest of Gladstone.

The agreement is currently subject to development and grid connection approvals.

The remaining 20% of the project’s generated electricity will supply Australia’s National Electricity Market, delivering clean electricity to homes and businesses.

It is the second renewable power deal signed for Rio Tinto’s Gladstone operations; the miner said it had previously signed a deal with European Energy to drive development of the 1.1-GW Upper Calliope solar farm.

Once development is complete, the combined 2.2GW of renewable PPAs with Windlab and European Energy have the potential to lower carbon emissions by about 5 million tonnes per year, Rio Tinto confirmed. It could also generate the equivalent of 10% of Queensland’s current power demand.

“The Bungaban PPA will bring more renewable power into one of Australia’s most important industrial hubs and marks another step towards Rio Tinto’s climate goal of halving its global Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions this decade. If combined with more renewable power and suitable firming, transmission, and industrial policy, the Bungaban and Upper Calliope PPAs could also provide the core of a solution to repower Rio Tinto’s three Gladstone production assets,” officials said.

Once approved, construction of the Bungaban project is targeted to start in late 2025 and is expected to produce electricity by 2029.

Source: Rio Tinto

Related posts