Decarbonizing our Operations with Renewable Energy in Chile

July 29, 2020

Reducing emissions at our operations requires that we move away from higher carbon sources of energy. In the case of electricity, low-cost and low-carbon energy increasingly go hand in hand. 

At Teck’s Chilean operations, the majority of electricity has historically been procured from conventional sources like coal and natural gas. By increasing our use of renewable energy we can reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while creating potential for long-term savings on energy costs. 

In 2020, we set ambitious goals for our Chilean operations - to procure 50% of our electricity from clean energy by 2025, and 100% by 2030. These goals act as short-term milestones towards our aspiration to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. At Teck’s Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project (QB2) and our Carmen de Andacollo (CdA) Operations, work is well underway to achieve these goals. 

“Setting bold new climate and energy targets not only helps us further reduce emissions, it can also help us find economical long-term energy supply options at our operations”, said Marcos Cid,  Manager, Energy, Teck Chile. 

Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2)

In early 2020, QB2 restructured part of its power agreement with AES Gener to increase the project’s use of renewable energy to 118 Megawatts (MW) starting as early as 2022. Once effective, more than 50% of QB2’s total operating power needs will be from renewable sources, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy. This agreement secures reliable, long-term power for our major copper growth project at no additional cost, while helping to reduce our environmental footprint.

The switch to renewable power displaces previous fossil fuel power sourced for QB2 and will eliminate approximately 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually – the equivalent of taking 170,000 combustion engine cars off the road. This is equal to permanently parking more than half of all the cars in the City of Vancouver or all the cars in the Tarapacá Region of Chile where QB2 is located.  

Carmen de Andacollo (CdA)

In September 2020, Teck entered into a long-term power purchase agreement to provide 100% renewable power at CdA. Under the agreement, CdA is sourcing 72 Megawatts (MW) (550 GWh/year) from AES Gener’s growing renewable portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric energy. The transition to renewable power replaced previous fossil fuel power sources and eliminates approximately 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, the equivalent to removing over 40,000 passenger vehicles from the road. 

“We are honored to continue working together with Teck to help them progress towards their goal of carbon neutrality,” said Andrés Gluski, AES Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer. “By providing Teck with innovative renewable energy solutions, AES Gener is helping build Chile’s sustainable and reliable grid of the future.”

Efforts at our existing Chilean operations have not gone unnoticed. In 2019, Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo (CdA) Operations was awarded with the Ministry of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Silver Seal. This award recognizing years of commitment from CdA staff to improve electricity and fuel efficiency at the operation, and to reduce emissions and costs without compromising production. 

“By transitioning to renewable energy, Teck’s Chilean operations can realize opportunities to reduce emissions, save on energy costs, and support the broader shift to renewable energy sources in Chile, as the country works towards its own decarbonization goals”, said Chris Adachi, Manager, Sustainability and Climate Change. 

Learn more about our approach to reducing emissions in the Climate Change section of our website. 

First Published on July 29, 2020