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BHP clinches renewable energy supply for Olympic Dam

A wind farm and battery system will supply BHP’s Olympic Dam mine with baseload renewable energy under a deal struck with French renewable energy leader Neoen.

Feb 06, 2024, updated Feb 06, 2024
The Goyder South Wind Farm will supply energy to BHP's Olympic Dam. Photo: Supplied

The Goyder South Wind Farm will supply energy to BHP's Olympic Dam. Photo: Supplied

Neoen Australia’s chief executive Louis de Sambucy announced on Tuesday the financing of the second stage of the Goyder South Wind Farm alongside the Blyth Battery, located near Burra off the Goyder Highway.

BHP’s Olympic Dam, the world’s fourth-largest copper mine, will be supplied with renewable energy in a 70-megawatt offtake deal with the French renewable energy company.

Opened last century under different environmental and sustainability standards, Olympic Dam also produces gold and silver and is the world’s largest uranium deposit.

There are more than 400 construction workers at Neoen’s Goyder wind project and 40 at the battery site, with 15 permanent positions expected when under operation.

The project will also support Australian manufacturing, with the installation of wind turbine anchor cages manufactured in Sydney by Allthread Industries using Australian steel, including about 50 per cent recycled material.

The two projects are underpinned by the energy contract with BHP and have been jointly financed with equity provided by Neoen and debt from a group of five lenders including the federal Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The CEFC, known as Australia’s green bank, said it was ramping up support for key assets in the clean energy transition, including $99 million for the wind farm and battery energy storage project.

“The challenge of reducing emissions across the economy starts with the energy sector,” CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said.

He said the offtake agreement with BHP enables a significant energy user to progress its net zero goals while producing a critical mineral like copper more sustainably.

The two projects are located 150km apart in the mid-north and are expected to be operational by mid-2025.

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The flagship Goyder renewables zone is part of a new generation of projects that combine wind with solar and battery storage to provide renewable energy around the clock.

Goyder South Stage 1 is a 412MW wind farm, comprising an initial 209MW under power purchase agreements with the ACT government and Flow Power in 2022 and a 203MW second tranche that is underpinned by the new contract with BHP.

The grid-scale 238.5MW battery will be equipped with inverter technology, supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which allows it to provide essential system stability services traditionally provided by coal and gas generators.

Once complete, the site will be Neoen’s largest wind asset, with 76 wind turbines.

The Blyth Battery was one of eight projects covered under ARENA’s Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round, which is also supporting Neoen to retrofit the Victorian Big Battery near Geelong with the system stability technology.

– AAP

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