Rio Tinto Signs Wind PPA - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  February 21, 2024

Rio Tinto Signs Wind PPA

Rio Tinto signed a renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply its Gladstone operations in Queensland.

The mining company agreed to buy the majority of electricity from Windlab’s planned 1.4-GW Bungaban wind energy project. Construction of the project is targeted to start in late 2025 and is expected to produce electricity by 2029.

The new agreement follows last month’s announcement of a PPA for the 1.1-GW Upper Calliope solar farm in Queensland.

This PPA marks another major step in Rio Tinto's work to repower the company’s Gladstone production assets, the Boyne aluminum smelter, Yarwun alumina refinery and Queensland alumina refinery.

Under the new PPA with Windlab, 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 kilometers from the town of Wandoan and 290 kilometers southwest of Gladstone, 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.

The combination of Rio Tinto's 2.2-GW of renewable PPAs with Windlab and European Energy have the potential to lower carbon emissions by an estimated 5 million tons annually and could generate the equivalent of 10% of Queensland’s current power demand.

The Bungaban PPA will help Rio Tinto reach its climate goal of halving its global Scope 1 and 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.

“This agreement with Windlab builds on our momentum in our work to repower our Gladstone operations and provide a sustainable future for heavy industry in Central Queensland,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said in a statement. “The task remains challenging, but we have a pathway to provide the competitive, firmed power our Gladstone plants need and we are continuing to work hard with all stakeholders, including the Queensland and Australian governments, on getting there. Competitive capacity, firming, and transmission, are critical to developing a modern energy system that can ensure more large-scale renewables development in Queensland and help guarantee the future of Australian industry.”


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