Baseload power, the final hurdle for renewable energy, especially wind and solar, looks set to face its first assault from renewables. French renewable energy developer Neoen, which has been involved with multiple big battery and renewable projects in Australia, has signed a first of its kind “baseload” contract with mining first BHP to supply power to its Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia with a combination of wind and battery storage.
The move comes even as mining giants worldwide seek to reduce their emissions footprint by sourcing ever higher renewable energy for their operations. BHP has comitted to reduce it’s emissions from operations by 30 percemt by 2030.
The 70MW contract will deliver energy 24/7 to run mining operations. While the wind power will come from the first 412MW stage of the Goyder South wind farm, supporting it will be the 300MW big battery at Blyth, also in South Australia, planned for upto 800MWh of storage.
Planned to start from 2025, the contract is expected to meet half of the power needs at the mine. Neoen hopes that the company hopes this will become a blueprint for future contracts. Neoen expects that the Goyder South zone will eventually develop into the largest renewables hybrid facility in Australia, with up to 1200MW of wind, 600MW of solar, and 900MW and 1800MWh of battery storage.
For Neoen, which was behind the pioneering Tesla big battery, ( Hornsdale Power Reserve)in South Australia, and the Victoria Big Battery, which at 300MW/450MWh remains the biggest in the country.
It is currently Australia’s biggest solar farm, the 400MW Western Downs project in Queensland, as well as the 157MW Kaban wind farm in the north of that state.