Chichester Hub Solar Farm. Source: Renew Economy
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  • Western Australia’s largest solar farm on a remote network, the 60-megawatt Alinta Energy Chichester Hub Solar Farm, has been switched on for Fortescue Metals (FMG)
  • The project already powers up to 100 per cent operations during the day at FMG’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines, replacing about 100 million litres of diesel each year
  • Supply will be back up by battery storage and gas generation at Alinta’s Newman Power Station
  • Alinta Energy’s Managing Director and CEO, Jeff Dimery, said the commencement of the operations was a “giant leap forward in the race to a low carbon energy future”

Western Australia’s largest solar farm on a remote network, the 60-megawatt Alinta Energy Chichester Hub Solar Farm in the Pilbara region, has been switched on for Fortescue Metals (FMG).

The solar farm has already powered up to 100 per cent operations during the day at FMG’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines, replacing about 100 million litres of diesel each year.

Supply will be backed up by battery storage and gas generation at Alinta’s Newman Power Station.

Alinta Energy’s Managing Director and CEO, Jeff Dimery, said the commencement of the operations was a “giant leap forward in the race to a low carbon energy future.”

“We took an ambitious brief from Fortescue, who wanted to dramatically slash their emissions, and made it a reality in just three years,” Mr Dimery said.

“I can’t understate the engineering challenge of designing and building a renewable solution on this scale, in a harsh environment like the Pilbara, to meet the reliability standards of mines like these.

“I’m very proud of the team, our partners and customer Fortescue, our lead contractor Downer and their subcontractors and suppliers, NAIF, ARENA, the pastoralist Roy Hill Station and in particular the Nyiyaparli People on whose Country the solar farm sits.”

The project received funding from Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its Advancing Renewables Program.

Also commenting on the announcement is ARENA CEO, Darren Miller.

“This is a monumental step forward to see solar and battery storage help to displace diesel on mining sites,” he said.

“Optimising the transition to renewable electricity has been a key priority for ARENA and we are excited to see the Alinta Energy and Fortescue project now successfully using solar energy for the day-to-day operations of the mines.”

FMG by the numbers
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