Rio Tinto plans to develop Australia’s largest solar project, the 1.1GW Upper Calliope Solar Farm, supplying renewable energy to its Gladstone operations. The power purchase agreement with European Energy Australia covers 25 years, contributing to Rio Tinto’s goal of halving Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions.
The solar farm, located 50 km southwest of Gladstone, aims to reduce Rio Tinto’s carbon emissions by 1.8 million tonnes annually once approved and operational. Construction is targeted for 2025 or 2026, providing 5% of Queensland’s current electricity demand and creating jobs during construction and operation.
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.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.”
European Energy CEO Erik Andersen added, “European Energy is proud to be a strategic partner in this project with Rio Tinto. Our commitment to providing renewable and reliable energy aligns perfectly with Rio Tinto’s ambitious climate goals. The Upper Calliope Solar Farm is not just a solar power project; it’s a testament to our shared vision for a greener future. By supplying renewable energy to one of Australia’s key industrial hubs, we are setting a new standard for industrial energy consumption. This project underlines our dedication to driving the transition towards renewable energy in Australia and demonstrates the potential of solar power in transforming the energy landscape of the region. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Rio Tinto and other stakeholders to create a sustainable and energy-efficient future for Australia.”