• Fortescue will be building a new 150 MW solar PV project in its efforts to provide renewable energy for its mining operations in Australia
  • The company shared plans to develop a large scale battery storage and a 150 MW gas fired plant as well
  • Management said the company will construct, own and operate the infrastructure for $450 million

Metals mining company Fortescue Metals Group in Australia is investing in a new 150 MW solar PV project to provide low cost power to its Iron Bridge Magnetite Project. It will be accompanied by a large scale battery storage project and a 150 MW gas fired plant.

All this infrastructure will be constructed, owned and operated by Fortescue for an investment of $450 million. It will be called Pilbara Generation Project. This will be in addition to the $250 million Pilbara Transmission Project the mining company announced in October 2019. It is laying 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting its mine sites.

The project will complement the company’s 60 MW solar power plant project that Alinta Energy will build, own and operate to power Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines of Fortescue linking it with 145 MW existing gas-fired Newman Power Station, along with 35 MW/11 MWh battery storage system (see ARENA Funds Solar+Gas Hybrid Project For Iron Ore Mines).

Together both the projects are part of the company’s $700 million Pilbara Energy Connect Program to set up a hybrid solar gas energy solution for its mining projects.

“By installing 150 MW of solar PV as part of the Pilbara Generation Project, the modelling indicates we will avoid up to 285,000 tonnes of CO2e per year in emissions, as compared to generating electricity solely from gas,” said Fortescue’s CEO Elizabeth Gaines. “Importantly, Pilbara Energy Connect allows for large scale renewable generation such as solar or wind to be connected at any point on the integrated network, positioning Fortescue to readily increase our use of renewable energy in the future.”

RenewEconomy called Fortescue’s commitment as the biggest yet by a mining group in Australia to renewables and points to its founder Andrew Forrest (Twiggy, who is investing in the 10 GW strong solar and storage project of Sun Cable through Squadron Energy (see First Round Financial Close For Sun Cable’s 10 GW Project).

In November 2019, EDL energized the first stage of a 54 MW hybrid renewable energy microgrid project in Western Australia integrating 4 MW solar with 19 MW gas and diesel generation for Agnew Gold Mine of Gold Fields (see Hybrid RE Project For Australia Off-Grid Mining).