Tesla wants to source components for production from environmentally friendly facilities, so suppliers strive to meet the requirements. Australian BHP, with which Tesla entered into an agreement for the supply of nickel, in cooperation with TransAlta Energy began the construction of one of the world's largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems.
Nickel is a key component of lithium-ion batteries and is helping car manufacturers reduce the use of controversial cobalt. During the Tesla Q2 2020 Earnings Call, CEO Elon Musk urged miners to invest in sustainable nickel as the production of electric vehicles will increase over the next few years.
“I'd just like to re-emphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel. OK. Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel and don’t wait for a nickel to go back to some long - some high point that you experienced some five years ago, whatever. Go for efficiency, obviously environmentally-friendly nickel mining at high volume. Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way. So hopefully this message goes out to all mining companies. Please get a nickel.”
In July, Tesla signed a nickel supply deal with BHP. BHP's Nickel West division will supply nickel from its mines in Western Australia. The two companies also agreed to work together to improve the resilience of the battery supply chain and identify ways to reduce carbon emissions from their respective energy storage operations in conjunction with renewables.
On Tuesday, TransAlta Energy announced that it has begun construction on one of the world's largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems to power BHP's Nickel West Mount Kit and Leinster operation, which will supply nickel to Tesla. The Northern Goldfields Solar Project, which was announced last year, includes a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt Keith, a 10.7 MW solar farm and a 10.1 MW battery at Leinster, and will be integrated into TransAlta’s Northern Goldfields remote power grid.
The project, which will replace power currently supplied by diesel and gas, will help BHP's Nickel West reduce scope 2 emissions at its Mt Keith and Leinster operations by 12% resulting in an estimated reduction of 54,000 tonnes CO2-e per annum. The first solar power is expected to be produced by November 2022. BHP Nickel West Asset President Jessica Farrell said BHP was meeting its commitment to deliver sustainable low carbon nickel to its customers.
“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is BHP's first off-grid large-scale renewable energy project across our global operations and, significantly, will remove the equivalent of up to 23,000 combustion engine cars from the road every year, supporting our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” Farrell said.
TransAlta also unveiled that it had entered into an agreement with BHP to identify potential wind sites for a 40 to 50MW wind farm, which would connect to TransAlta's northern grid and reduce scope 2 emissions at BHP's Mt Keith and Leinster operations by an estimated further 30%. Adding wind will increase renewable energy supply to support BHP’s growth and to further each company’s sustainability goals.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.