, , , , ,

Rio Tinto inks largest national renewable energy deal

Image: edojob/Stock.adobe.com

Rio Tinto has inked Australia’s largest renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) to date.

The 25-year PPA will see mining industry leader Rio Tinto acquire 80 per cent of the electricity from Windlab’s forthcoming 1.4 gigawatt (GW) Bungaban wind energy project to supply its Gladstone operations in Queensland.

Rio Tinto said the agreement solidifies its position as the largest industrial purchaser of renewable power in Australia. The Gladstone operations include the Boyne aluminum smelter, Yarwun alumina refinery, and Queensland alumina refinery.

Rio Tinto chief executive officer Jakob Stausholm emphasised the importance of large-scale renewables development.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Still early in its development, the Bungaban project is set to be constructed and operated by Windlab at a site about 40km from the town of Wandoan, and 290km south-west of Gladstone.

The Windlab agreement follows Rio Tinto’s recent PPA with European Energy Australia at the Upper Calliope solar farm, where the mining giant announced it will buy all electricity from the 1.1GW solar farm located 50km south-west of Gladstone.

Once operational, the combined 2.2GW of renewable PPAs with Windlab and European Energy could potentially slash carbon emissions by five million tonnes per year, constituting 10 per cent of Queensland’s current power demand.

“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,” Stausholm said.

Construction of the Bungaban project is scheduled for late 2025, with the aim of becoming operational by 2029.

Subscribe to Energy Today for the latest project and industry news.

Send this to a friend