Rio Tinto gave the green light to a groundbreaking project that is set to revolutionize its Amrun bauxite operations. The solar farm and battery storage facility are poised to replace power traditionally supplied by Aggreko’s diesel generators, thereby dramatically slashing emissions.
The ambitious undertaking is forecasted to curtail Amrun’s diesel electricity consumption by a staggering 37% and slash annual CO2-equivalent emissions by a significant 14,000 tonnes. This will build upon the existing 5.6MW of solar and 4MWh of battery power that have already been established for Rio Tinto’s Weipa operations and the local electricity network since 2015.
Shona Markham, the general manager of Rio Tinto’s Weipa operations, exuded excitement as she emphasized the project’s significance, noting, “The construction of the Amrun solar farm and battery storage system, which is situated on Wik and Wik-Waya Traditional lands, is an important milestone for Weipa Operations and will contribute to Rio Tinto’s commitment to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions.”
Markham further articulated, “The Amrun solar farm will be one of three Weipa Operations solar stations, which will together provide 18MW of solar generation capacity to our mines and the Weipa town. This project helps us make inroads towards our ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations.”
The commencement of preliminary works on the new solar farm signals the dawn of a new era. This venture is expected to be operational by early 2025 and is anticipated to deliver an impressive 21 gigawatt hours of renewable power annually, firmly establishing its pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable energy.
Upon completion, the Amrun solar farm will not only symbolize a paradigm shift in power generation but also signify a turning point in environmental stewardship. When combined with the existing Weipa renewable power generation network, the solar farms will reduce Weipa Operations’ diesel consumption by an estimated 10 million liters per year while lowering annual greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 28,000 tonnes — an achievement tantamount to removing over 6,000 internal combustion engine passenger cars from the roads.