BHP extends Southern Cross Energy contract to reduce emissions at its Nickel West operations

BHP has executed a 15-year contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy provider Southern Cross Energy (SCE) for the supply of electricity to its Nickel West Goldfields based operations.

The agreement extends the current arrangement to 2038, giving Nickel West access to all electricity produced by SCE.

Nickel West Asset President Eduard Haegel said the PPA also provided Nickel West with the additional ability to integrate renewable electricity generation, including solar and wind, with energy storage technologies to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower carbon, sustainable nickel to its customers.

Study phases for renewable energy supply and carbon emissions reduction under the extended PPA are under way, including an 18.5MW solar photovoltaic farm at Nickel West’s Leinster and Mount Keith operations, supported by a battery energy storage system. A 17MW waste heat steam turbine system at the Kalgoorlie Smelter is also being evaluated to provide low-emissions electricity from furnace heat recovery.

The combined projects have the potential to reduce Nickel West’s Scope 2 electricity greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 percent by 2023, based on 2020 levels.

“These projects contribute to the first phase of our emissions reduction strategy, as we continue to evaluate plans for additional renewable energy supply to decarbonise our nickel operations,” Mr Haegel said.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. BHP Nickel West is well placed to provide our nickel units sustainably, and with one of the lowest carbon footprints.”

BHP has committed to a science-based target of a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, with a long-term target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Our integrated value chain and the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits makes Nickel West one of the lowest carbon emitters in the industry and gives BHP a global advantage in the sustainable production of nickel,” Mr Haegel said.

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