Rio Tinto wants renewable energy to decarbonize aluminum production

Mining and metals company Rio Tinto has launched a call for proposals for large-scale wind and solar power to decarbonise its aluminum operations in Queensland

The company wants companies to develop large-scale wind and solar power in central and southern Queensland to power its aluminum assets, help meet its climate change ambitions and encourage further development and l renewable industry in the region.

The approach through a formal tender aims to support the development of several new wind and solar energy projects which can, alongside firm solutions, provide green energy to Rio Tinto Gladstone from here 2030.

Rio Tinto Aluminum CEO Ivan Vella said: “As Queensland’s largest energy consumer, we have an important role to play in driving the development of competitive renewable energy sources for our Gladstone assets and support the state’s renewable energy goals.

“We are only at the beginning of the process, but this is an important step towards achieving both our group’s climate change target of halving our emissions of by the end of the decade and our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.”

Rio Tinto is seeking proposals that can competitively meet the energy needs of its three production assets in the Gladstone area: Boyne Smelter, Yarwun Alumina Refinery and Queensland Alumina Refinery.

These assets require 1,140 MW of reliable power to operate, which equates to at least 4,000 MW of quality wind or solar power with firming.

The tender follows Rio Tinto’s strengthening of its climate commitments in October 2021, including a target to halve Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 (compared to 2018) and researching renewable energy options for its Australian aluminum smelters.

It also follows the signing of a statement of cooperation with the Queensland Government to work towards establishing more renewable energy in Central Queensland.

Photo: Rio Tinto/Yarwun Alumina Refinery

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Melvin B. Baillie