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BHP and clean energy provider TransAlta have debuted a new solar farm in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.

It is said that the new solar and battery storage facility is one of the world’s largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems, and is BHP’s first on-site, large-scale renewable project globally.

It features about 70,000 solar panels across 90 hectares of land, and is intended to help BHP reduce its Scope 2 emissions at its Nickel West northern operations by 12 per cent, which is an estimated reduction of 54,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

“Renewables are increasingly powering BHP operations around the globe and this facility – the first we have built on one of our sites – is another step forward in our plans to reduce our operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by FY30 (the 2030 financial year), from FY20 levels,” BHP Australia president Geraldine Slattery said.

“Nickel is in high demand for batteries and electric vehicles, and this progress is part of our commitment to delivering more sustainable, lower carbon product to our customers.”

The facility includes a 27.4 megawatt (MW) solar farm at the Mount Keith nickel mine, and a 10.7MW solar farm and 10.1MW battery at the Leinster nickel mine.

Construction on the facility began in 2022, which created more than 100 direct and indirect jobs in the Goldfields and Perth regions. The facility will continue to support these jobs during operations.

“Working under our longstanding relationship with BHP, we were able to collectively solve challenges and break new ground at the same time as playing a part in WA’s exciting and rapidly accelerating transition to a cleaner energy future,” TransAlta president and chief executive officer John Kousinioris said.

The milestone was reached a couple of days after BHP released its Recapturing Australia’s Competitiveness report, where it said that Australia’s mining sector is central to enabling the energy transition.