Renewable Energy

Alcoa is a strong supporter of the renewable energy (wind, solar) industry in that we acknowledge that renewable energy has a vital role to play in the solution to climate change. 

Alcoa in Australia does not operate on renewable energy. However in WA we operate on gas, which is a clean transitional fuel. In Victoria we operate on brown coal and are often asked why we can’t switch to renewable energy.

Unfortunately, using renewable energy to power our Victorian operations is not currently a viable option, for a number of reasons.  First, there is simply not enough renewable energy available in Victoria to power all our operations in the State. Second, renewable energy is cost prohibitive for Alcoa in Victoria in that switching to renewable sources (if they were available) would render our operations in the State uncompetitive. This would in turn have negative flow on effects to the economy, through loss of jobs and investment in local communities.

Alcoa in Australia, however, does operate energy efficient smelters compared with smelters in other parts of the world. For example, Portland Aluminium is one of the most energy efficient smelters in the Alcoa system and is amongst the most energy efficient smelters in the world by virtue of its technology and the high standard of work practices and energy management strategies that are an integral part of its operation. And in Western Australia, Alcoa’s alumina refineries are amongst the most greenhouse and energy efficient in the world. Every tonne of alumina made by Alcoa in Australia produces less than half the greenhouse emissions and uses just over half the energy than most alumina made in China.

Portland Aluminium and Pacific Hydro
Portland Aluminium has had an arrangement with Pacific Hydro, an Australian renewable energy company, since 2000. This arrangement involves a connection through Portland Aluminium’s electricity switchyard which enables Pacific Hydro to channel energy from its Portland Wind Farm back into Victoria’s electricity grid.  Alcoa continues to work closely with the Pacific Hydro team to ensure our existing infrastructure is utilised in this project.

Memorandum of Intent with Greenearth Energy
In November 2010, Alcoa of Australia signed a memorandum of intent (MOI) with Greenearth Energy to help facilitate the development of geothermal energy in Victoria. This is an important move toward the establishment of base-load renewable energy in that state.
 
Greenearth Energy’s proposed Geelong Geothermal Power Project (GGPP) resource area is approximately nine kilometers (5.6 miles) northwest of our Anglesea Power Station. Read more.