Italy’s Enel to build first wind farm in Australia for BHP

wind turbines against golden sky with wild grass in the foreground (aula energy)
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BHP will cover 100 per cent of the power requirements for three of its major nickel operations in Western Australia with renewable energy, following the signing of a new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Italian renewables company Enel Green Power.

The PPA between BHP and Enel Green Power will underpin construction of stage 1 of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm near the Great Southern town of Kojonup.

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Stage 1 is expected to create 120 jobs during construction and up to 10 locally based roles once operational. Construction is due to begin in July 2022, and first power is expected in October 2023. 

The new wind farm will comprise the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia at a tip height of 200m and is expected to produce 315GWh per annum.

Under the renewable PPA with Enel Green Power, the Flat Rocks Wind Farm will generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of the current power requirements for Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Kambalda Nickel Concentrator from CY2024. 

The combined output of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, through the PPA, and the recently announced Merredin Solar Farm PPA is enough to cover the current power requirements of all three of Nickel West’s downstream facilities—the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the Kwinana Nickel Refinery, which are connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). 

Renewable energy from the Flat Rocks Wind Farm is expected to reduce Nickel West’s market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by just under one third against FY2020 baseline levels* from CY2024 based on current forecast demand. 

The combined effect from BHP’s agreements for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, the Merredin Solar Farm and the Northern Goldfields Solar Project is expected to reduce Nickel West’s total market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60 per cent against FY2020 baseline levels* from CY2024, based on current forecast demand. 

The Italian-owned Enel Green Power and Moonies Hill Energy, owned by local landowners, have been working on the co-development of Flat Rocks Wind Farm since 2016. The windfarm covers the Shire of Kojonup and Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup.

The area around Kojonup, which is one of Western Australia’s oldest towns and has a rich local history and large Italian population, is an ideal location due to its strong winds and being situated on the southern part of the SWIS. 

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The Flat Rocks Wind Farm will have a capacity factor of nearly 50 per cent, which is one of the highest in the country, complementing BHP’s use of solar from the Merredin Solar Farm, well-positioning Nickel West for a reliable supply of renewable energy over a 24-hour period.

Enel Green Power Australia country manager Werther Esposito said, “We are very proud to be strategic partners and enablers to support BHP’s commitment to decarbonise. With this deal, Enel Green Power is proving itself as a partner which can help Australian companies to achieve sustainable operations.”

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