- investing heavily in solar farms, wind farms and batteries,
- already exporting the renewable energy embodied in processed minerals and this is expanding,
- progressing plans to generate and export astronomical amounts of renewable energy via hydrogen and directly by cable, and
- supplying renewable energy equipment and solutions.
Companies targeting 100% renewable energy
Many companies now have a target of moving entirely to renewable energy. They are doing this by purchasing renewable energy or by installing renewable generation. They include:
- Commonwealth Bank, and
- Sun Metals (they run the zinc smelter in Townsville).
Big miners are installing renewables
Many mining companies operate in remote areas and are installing wind farms, solar farms, and batteries as part of their microgrids. The companies include Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue. Even the Roy Hill mine, part-owned by Gina Rinehart, will soon run on 50% renewables.
(Gina Rinehart’s iron ore mine to build a 30 MW solar farm: Renew Economy: 2 Feb 2021)
The Agnew Gold Mine
In remote WA, this mine has a microgrid with a battery and generates electricity from wind, sun, gas, & diesel. Renewables supply 50% of their electricity on average, and on sunny & windy days it’s 70%.
(Solar, wind, and battery microgrid completed and powering a remote WA gold mine: Renew Economy: 18 May 2020)
The West Mulgrave project
The company Oz Minerals is planning this $1 billion copper & nickel mine. Their microgrid will get 80% of its electricity from renewables, and they’re exploring ways of making it 100%.
(Oz Minerals are trying to use spilled energy to get to 100% renewables: Renew Economy: 4 Sep 2020)
Alinta installed a battery at Newman in Western Australia in 2017. The battery has increased the reliability of electricity and reduced the gas used for generation. It will pay back the investment in 5 years.
(Alinta sees sub-5-year payback for subsidised big battery at Newman: Renew Economy: 12 August 2019)
These miners are moving into renewables because:
- renewables increase microgrid reliability, and
- they are cheaper than gas & diesel.
For years, the Mining Council of Australia has been a powerful opponent of renewables. Now key players within this circle are investing in renewables.
As the miners reduce their emissions, we’re starting to produce “low carbon” minerals like nickel, copper, and iron ore.
This change by the mining companies is progress towards the superpower vision.
- The main page on Australia’s progress to becoming a renewable energy superpower
- The suggested next page: We are expanding energy intensive industry based on renewable energy
Updated 2 Feb 2021