A leading supplier to Australia’s resources sector has looked to solar for a way to cut both costs and emissions, through an innovative power purchase agreement struck with French energy giant Engie.
Weir Minerals is a major supplier to Australia’s resources industry, supplying materials, equipment and services to the resources sector, but has made a commitment to cutting its own emissions footprint through the sourcing of renewable electricity from solar farms under a deal with Engie.
“Weir’s clear focus on making mining more sustainable and efficient includes leading by example and reducing the footprint of our own operations. Through our agreement with ENGIE, we are able to increase our use of renewable energy: a key factor in building a more sustainable business,” Weir Minerals environmental engineer Jazib Farid said.
The deal will help Weir Minerals progress towards meeting its target of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, with the power purchase agreement set to deliver a 100,000 tonne cut to the company’s emissions over the five-year period of the agreement.
As has been a wider trend for large energy users, the power purchase agreement will also help Weir Minerals control its energy costs, by locking in a fixed price for power supplied by Engie.
“ENGIE is in a unique position to utilise our understanding of the wholesale energy market to design solutions for customers transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy. For the Australian mining sector specifically, renewable PPAs offer price and stability benefits which can underpin and enable investments and the greening of supply chains,” ENGIE ANZ executive general manager of energy management, Andrew Hyland, said.
With Engie able to serve as both a supplier of electricity general, as well as providing retailer services, including through it’s Simply Energy subsidiary, the company has sought to streamline the way the power purchase agreement ultimately flows through to their customer’s energy expenditure.
The company had struck a similar deal to sell solar power from the Silverleaf Solar Farm to pubs across New South Wales and the ACT, with brewer Lion.
“The agreement introduces several innovations to the electricity supply sector in Australia, including integration of energy generation and supply components in the same agreement. This simplified model means that Weir can spend less time managing complex agreements and cashflows and more time focussing on core business,” Engie said in a statement.
While the details of where the renewable electricity supplied under the power purchase agreement where not specifically disclosed, but it is understood that it will be sourced from solar farms in Parkes and Griffith.
The deal may be looking to piggyback off an earlier power purchase agreement struck between Engie and Neoen, to buy power from the 55MW Parkes solar farm, and the 30MW Griffith solar farm, which were both developed with support from ARENA under its most recent large-scale solar funding round.
The owner of the now decommissioned Hazelwood power station is looking to develop its own large-scale solar projects, with a combined 535MW of solar projects across three projects in NSW and QLD being progressed by Engie, along with two wind farms already operating in South Australia. The French multinational is targeting up to 2,000MW of wind and solar capacity.