Industrial, Solar - December 1, 2022
Rio Tinto Plans New Solar-Plus-Battery in Western Australia
Rio Tinto announced plans to fund two 100 MW solar facilities and 200 MWh of on-grid battery storage in the Pilbara region of Western Australia by 2026 through a $600 million investment package supporting the decarbonization of its iron ore operations in the region.
The project is expected to save the mining company 300,000 tons of CO2 and see a 10% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its iron ore operations in the Pilbara.
Construction of the 225,000-panel installation – which will need to be built to withstand the region’s cyclonic weather conditions – is expected to begin next year, along with final capital approval in the second quarter. While initial funding has been approved, Rio Tinto is still engaging with State and local authorities and Traditional Owners to secure the needed approvals for the project.
This investment is a part of Rio Tinto’s plan to install 1 GW of renewable energy in the Pilbara and invest approximately $7.5 billion to halve emissions globally by 2030. This initiative has also led the mining company to recently install 34 MW of solar power at its Gudai-Darri iron ore mine.
“The Pilbara is extremely well-positioned to take advantage of renewable power with land, access to people, and abundant wind and solar resources. Our Pilbara electricity grid is the largest privately-owned grid in Australia, ensuring that we have the initial infrastructure required to enable a transition to renewable energy,” CEO Simon Trott said in a statement. “We expect to invest around $3 billion to install renewable energy assets as well as transmission and storage upgrades in the Pilbara as part of our commitment to halve our emissions from the Pilbara by the end of this decade.”