Australian zinc metal producer Sun Metals will build a 100 megawatt solar PV plant to supply power to its refinery located near Townsville in Northern Queensland as reported by PV Magazine.
This project marks the largest intervention in Australia by a major energy user to source a part of its electricity needs from renewable energy. Other major international corporate businesses like Amazon, Google and Apple have had a 100% renewable energy target while little has been done in Australia.
The decision by Sun Metals to build a 100-megawatt solar farm also is a slap in the face to widespread political and media discourse that adopting renewable energy will kill the manufacturing industry in the country. It’s also a slap in the face to some conservative MPs for a new coal-fired power station in the area.
Sun Metals stated that the $155 million solar project forms a key part of its plan to expand the output of the refinery by up to 25%. The company plans to invest $460 million in the upgrade, according to company CEO Yun Birm Choi.
The Korean-owned company has also been pushing for significant regulatory changes to Australia’s wholesale electricity market.
Work on the company’s solar project will start immediately, with construction set to get underway in April. The 200 megawatts single axis tracking will be completed in the first quarter of 2018 and will feed electricity directly into the company’s existing 33/132kV substation.