Mining giant BHP has announced the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power, with a wind farm to be constructed in southern Western Australia this year. 

The energy provided through the PPA will be generated by the Flat Rocks Wind Farm Stage One, developed in conjunction with WA developer Moonies Hill Energy. 

The wind farm will create enough renewable energy to fully power three of the mining giant’s major nickel operations in WA.

The farm is currently in pre-construction planning and is due for operation in 2024. 

Stage one is expected to create 120 jobs during construction and up to 10 local roles once operational. Construction will begin July 2022, and first power is expected in October 2023.

Flat Rocks has an investment value of over $200 million. The site will consist of 18 Vestas wind turbines of 4.2MW each, with a tip height of 200 metres, and is expected to produce 315GWh each year. 

The wind farm will be the first wind farm in WA’s South West farmlands to cut emissions from processing nickel for electric vehicle batteries, and will have an operational lifespan of 30 years.

“BHP supplies high quality nickel to world markets for use in electric vehicle batteries and other growing technologies that will support global decarbonisation,” BHP Nickel west asset president Jessica Farrell said.

“We are taking great strides in making our operations more sustainable and strengthening BHP’s position as a nickel supplier of choice to global customers.

“We are delighted to partner with Enel Green Power as the first customer of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, creating jobs and supporting the Kojonup community with the introduction of a renewable energy industry to the area.”

Enel Green Power Australia country manager Werther Esposito said the company is proud to be able to help Australian companies to achieve sustainable operations.

“We are very proud to be strategic partners and enablers to support BHP’s commitment to decarbonise,” he said.

The partnership will enable “Australia’s primary industries to continue in a sustainable way, contributing significant employment and supply opportunities for the local communities and creating a positive economic impact on the local areas,” he said. 

Moonies Hill Energy managing director Sarah Rankin said: “It’s taken 15 years to get to this point so we are very excited that we are now just months away from the commencement of construction. 

“We’ve got an excellent wind resource at Flat Rocks and I’d be very surprised if the Flat Rocks Wind Farm doesn’t feature in the top 5 in the country in terms of wind capacity”. 

The local community shires of Kojonup and Broomehill-Tambellup welcomed the announcement. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.