Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rio Tinto to build the largest solar power plant in Canada’s territories

An Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto announced that it will build the largest solar power plant in Canada’s Northwest Territories to supply electricity to its Diavik Diamond Mine.

Featuring over 6,600 solar panels, the facility is expected to generate approximately 4,200 megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity annually for the mine. It will provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029.

The solar power plant will be equipped with bi-facial panels which serve the dual purpose of generating energy from direct sunlight and processing energy from the light reflecting off the snow that covers Diavik for most of the year.

The facility is expected to cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately one million liters per year. It is also estimated that the power plant will reduce emissions by 2,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is comparable to eliminating the emissions of 630 cars.

The solar plant will significantly expand the operation’s existing renewable energy generation, which already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility that has a capacity of 55.4 MW and provides the site’s electricity.

“We will be significantly increasing our renewable power generation with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at the Diavik Diamond Mine,” President and Chief Operating Officer of the Diavik Diamond Mine Angela Bigg said in the official release. “Through its wind-diesel hybrid power facility, Diavik is already a leader in cold climate renewable technology, and this important project reinforces our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint.”

The move comes as Rio Tinto plans to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030 and to achieve net zero across its operations by 2050.

Construction will start in the coming weeks, and the solar power plant will be fully operational in the first half of 2024.