European Energy has taken a significant step towards realizing Australia’s largest solar farm by signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with global mining and materials company Rio Tinto. This agreement ensures that all energy generated from the upcoming Upper Calliope Solar Farm will be supplied to Rio Tinto.
This agreement is the biggest solar corporate PPA in Australia. European Energy, in partnership with Rio Tinto, will develop, construct, and operate the 1.3 GW solar farm, located approximately 50 kilometers southwest of Gladstone in Queensland, Australia.
25-year purchase from all electrictiy from the solar farm
The project’s initiation is subject to development and grid connection approvals and is anticipated to significantly boost renewable energy in one of Australia’s key industrial regions. Rio Tinto has committed to a 25-year purchase of all electricity from the solar farm, which will enable the project’s development.
“The Upper Calliope Solar Farm is a landmark project for European Energy. With a capacity that makes it the largest solar farm we’ve ever developed, it highlights the transformative potential of solar power in regions like Queensland,” stated Knud Erik Andersen, CEO of European Energy.
Spanning 2,700 hectares, the solar farm’s construction is targeted to commence in 2025-26. It is expected to contribute 5% of Queensland’s electricity and have a significant economic impact. Powering Rio Tinto’s Gladstone operations will support over 1,000 existing jobs in the region, as well as creating up to 1,000 new direct and indirect jobs during construction, and 100 jobs during operation of the solar farm respectively.
Help to halve global carbon emissions of Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said “This agreement is a first important step in our work to repower our Gladstone operations and illustrates our commitment to keeping sustainably powered industry in Central Queensland.
“The task remains challenging, but we have a pathway to provide the competitive, firmed power our Gladstone plants need and we are continuing to work hard with all stakeholders, including the Queensland and Australian governments, on getting there.
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“Competitive capacity, firming, and transmission, are critical to developing a modern energy system that can ensure more large-scale renewables development in Queensland and help guarantee the future of Australian industry.”
Once approved and developed, the Upper Calliope Solar Farm will play an integral role in Rio Tinto’s strategy to halve its global Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by 2030, relative to 2018 levels. (hcn)