TransAlta Renewables plans solar-plus-storage project to support nickel production operations

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A unit of Calgary-based TransAlta Renewables plans to build a solar-plus-storage project in Australia to support local operations of BHP Nickel West.

The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is planned to include the 27.4 MW Mount Keith Solar Farm, 10.7 MW Leinster Solar Farm, 10.1 MW / 5.4 MWh Leinster battery energy storage system, and interconnecting transmission infrastructure, all of which will be integrated into TransAlta Australia’s 169 MW Southern Cross Energy North network in Western Australia.

The network and new generation will support BHP as it works to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower-carbon nickel to customers. The project is expected to cut emissions by 12%, reduce fuel costs, and improve electricity supply reliability with the addition of the battery storage system.

TransAlta Australia will build, own, and operate the Northern Goldfields Solar Project. Total construction capital is estimated at A$73 million ($54 million). TransAlta Australia entered into an engineering, procurement, and construction agreement with Juwi Renewable Energy. The project has a 16.3-year power purchase agreement with BHP. Final Notice to Proceed is expected during the third quarter.

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