New solar farm for North West Minerals Province
- Latest News
- Published: 02 November 2021
APA has reached Final Investment Decision (FID) to build the 44MW first stage of the Mica Creek Solar Farm with an investment of more than $80 million.
This is underpinned by a 15-year solar offtake agreement with existing APA customer and leading zinc miner MMG Dugald River.
MMG said the solar agreement would supply the North West Queensland operation with renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint and provide cost savings once operational in early 2023.
Dugald River mine general manager Tim Akroyd said adding solar power to the mix would reduce energy related to emissions by approximately 33 percent, and allow the business to investigate options for future growth and asset planning.
“We run a 24/7 operation in a remote location under extreme weather conditions. Having multiple power sources safeguards our business so we can run without risk of interruption,” he said.
“Moving towards a low-carbon economy and reducing cost also supports our ore body extension initiatives and potential future growth options.”
The company says further emission reductions, cost savings and growth initiatives will be enabled by the $1.7 billion CopperString2.0 transmission project to link the region to the national grid.
“We look forward to continuing our support for CopperString2.0 as a baseload energy alternative and believe the addition of renewable energy now will also be complimentary to grid connection through CopperString2.0,”Mr Akroyd said.
APA Group has entered into a 32-year lease agreement with the Queensland Government to locate the solar farm on a site near APA’s Diamantina Power Station Complex.
The first stage of the solar farm is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2023, while APA is in advanced discussions with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two.
APA chief executive officer and managing director Rob Wheals said the FID and solar offtake agreement with MMG reflected APA’s commitment to providing affordable, reliable and low emissions power to this minerals rich region of Queensland.
“The Mica Creek Solar Farm will deliver lower emissions power underpinned by the reliability of APA’s gas-fired power, while reducing the average cost and emissions of power across Mount Isa,” Mr Wheals said.