- Rio Tinto has announced an additional $600 million investment to decarbonize its Pilbara operations
- It plans to install 2 solar power plants with 100 MW capcity each, accompanied by 200 MWh on-grid battery storage
- The company hopes to save $55 million annually by replacing gas at current prices, with solar power here
Anglo-American mining giant Rio Tinto says it will invest an additional $600 million to fund the construction of 2×100 MW solar power facilities in Australia’s Pilbara where it mines iron ore, with 200 MWh of on-grid battery storage, by 2026, as it makes efforts to decarbonize operations.
The company has secured initial funding for a 100 MW solar PV system with associated transmission infrastructure as its 1st major standalone solar farm on the Pilbara coast. It is estimated to be equipped with some 225,000 solar panels. Construction is scheduled for 2023 and commercial operations in 2025.
Rio Tinto is counting on these investments to bring down its gas costs by close to $55 million annually at current prices by displacing around 30% of its current gas consumption in the Pilbara which it says is the largest privately-owned grid in Australia.
“We expect to invest around $3 billion to install renewable energy assets as well as transmission and storage upgrades in the Pilbara as part of our commitment to halve our emissions from the Pilbara by the end of this decade,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott.
It forms part of the company’s previously announced plans to deploy 1 GW wind and solar power for Pilbara and undertake full electrification of transport, mobile and rails, under its overarching ambition to develop around 6 GW wind and solar for its operations within Australia (see Rio Tinto’s $7.5 Billion Decarbonization Plans).