BHP signs renewable PPA for Queensland coal mines


The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) joint venture has inked a new renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland government-owned energy generator and retailer CleanCo to power up to 50% of its central Queensland coal operations over five years from January 2026.

The 50:50 BMA joint venture, which is targeting net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, operates seven coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. It also owns and operates the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay.

The new PPA effectively extends an existing renewable power agreement between BMA and CleanCo currently running to the end of 2025. The new PPA will enable BMA to continue to source half of its expected electricity needs from renewable sources such as solar and wind, as well as pumped hydro.

BHP President Australia Geraldine Slattery said the link with CleanCo would improve the long-term sustainability of BHP’s business and support regional communities and jobs.

“We are increasing renewable electricity at BMA in line with our decarbonisation commitments to 2030 and beyond,” she said.

The new PPA will help support the ongoing development of Neoen’s 460 MW Western Downs solar farm. The solar farm, part of the planned Western Downs Green Power Hub that will also include a 200 MW/400 MWh big battery, is already supplying electricity to the grid and is expected to reach full commercial operations later this year.

The power agreement will also support the development of the 180 MW Dulacca Wind Farm which is currently under construction and is expected to come online in late 2023, Acciona Energia’s 2 GW MacIntyre Wind Farm that is due for completion in 2025, and the 157 MW Kaban Wind Farm that is expected to achieve full commercial operations by late 2023.

The PPA allows CleanCo to store renewable energy at the Wivenhoe pumped hydro facility for the direct benefit of BMA when the supply is needed.

Image: CleanCo

CleanCo has also directly incorporated storage capabilities of the 570 MW Wivenhoe pumped hydro energy storage facility near Toowoomba into the PPA.

The agreement allows CleanCo to store renewable energy at Wivenhoe for the direct benefit of BMA when it is required.

CleanCo Chief Executive Officer Tom Metcalfe said this will ensure the gen-tailer can effectively match the renewable energy purchased to those times when BMA needs electricity most, not just when wind and solar energy is available.

“We are committed to providing tailored, clean energy solutions to help our customers decarbonise,” he said.

“Mining is an energy intensive industry. It is our role to develop solutions that meet the unique energy needs of these companies so that they can thrive in a net zero future.”

BHP says it is on track to achieve its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2030. BHP also has a long-term goal to achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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