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Fortescue plans 150-MW solar park for WA iron ore mines

Solar panels. Author: Chris Baird. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic.

February 3 (Renewables Now) - Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) plans to install 150 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to power its Pilbara operations in Western Australia.

The company said in a bourse filing on Thursday that the project is part of a USD-700-million (EUR 632.2m) transmission and power generation programme aimed at powering its iron ore operations with renewable energy. The solar PV park is part of a USD-450-million component concerning the production of low-cost power its Iron Bridge magnetite activities. All of the new facilities will be owned and operated by the mining group.

“The lack of an integrated transmission network in the Pilbara has been a key barrier to entry for large-scale renewables and Fortescue’s investment will address this issue,” said CEO Elizabeth Gaines. 

Apart from the solar PV, which is seen to help the company mitigate up to 285,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually, Fortescue intends to add 150-MW of gas-fired generation capacity together with battery storage. They will be combined with a new 275-km power line between the mine sites and the power production facilities. This new transmission network, according to the CEO, will position the company to “readily increase our use of renewable energy in the future.”

Fortescue is already working on other solar and transmission projects, as well as on the development of hydrogen technology.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.903)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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