Tesla nickel supplier BHP announced that construction on one of the world’s largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems has started. BHP, a world-leading resources company in Australia, is working with TransAlta to shift its mines from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
TransAlta, a clean energy provider in Canada, the United States, and Australia, will help power BHP’s Nickel West assets, specifically its Mt. Keith and Leinster operations, through the Northern Goldfields Solar Project. The project was announced in 2021 and includes a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt. Keith, plus a 10.7 MW solar farm and a 10.1 MW battery at Leinster. The solar farms and battery will be integrated into TransAlta’s Northern Goldfields remote power grid, replacing power currently supplied by diesel and gas.
The Goldfields Solar Project will help BHP reduce scope 2 emissions in its Mt. Keith and Leinster operations by 12%, with an estimated reduction of 54,000 tonnes of CO2-e per annum.
“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is BHP’s first off-grid large-scale renewable energy project across our global operations and, significantly, will remove the equivalent of up to 23,000 combustion engine cars2 from the road every year, supporting our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” stated BHP Nickel West Asset President Jessical Farrell.
Farrell noted that BHP was committed to delivering sustainable low-carbon nickel to its customers. Demand for nickel has been high since it is used to power batteries and electric vehicles.
The world’s leading EV automaker, Tesla, signed a nickel supply deal with BHP in July 2021. BHP supplies Tesla with nickel from its Nickel West assets, the same ones connected to the Goldfields Solar Project. After announcing its nickel supply agreement with Tesla, BHP also stated that it would collaborate with the EV automaker on energy storage solutions, hinting at a possible Tesla Energy project in the future. The Goldfields Solar Project would be a good opportunity for another BHP and Tesla deal.