A steel mill in Pueblo that has been powered by coal during its nearly 140-year existence will now get most of its electricity from solar power.
EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel welcomed state and local elected officials, as well as its partners in the 300-MW Bighorn Solar Project, to the site Wednesday to see rows upon rows of solar panels that have long identified with the city. Will promote the going business. Lightsource BP, a London-based developer and manager of worldwide solar projects, said it believes EVRAZ is the first steel mill to be largely powered by solar power.
Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource BP, Americas, said, “We really see this project as a game changer in that it really proves that you can take solar power and make it very cost-effective. ” In Denver earlier this year.
The steel mill recycles scrap metal to produce rails and other products. Smith said harnessing solar-generated electricity would make the mill’s products some of the “greenest steel” in the world.
The $285 million project is the result of an agreement between Lightsource BP, the owner, and Xcel Energy-Colorado, which will purchase the power under a long-term power purchase agreement. This agreement will provide EVRAZ with fixed electricity rates till 2041.
EVRAZ, concerned about a hike in its rates, Xcel-Energy said it would close two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo ahead of the plan and considered moving out of Colorado after increasing its use of renewable energy. Was.
The mill employs about 1,000 people and there are plans to add several hundred more as part of a $500 million expansion that is expected to be completed by 2023. Local officials have said that the agreement between Xcel Energy and EVRZ was the culmination of years of effort to ensure it. Lives in Pueblo. The state approved millions of dollars in tax incentive credits.
EVRAZ North America CEO Skip Herald called the solar project “an incredible milestone.” More than 750,000 solar panels spread over 1,800 acres will supply about 90% of the steel mill’s electricity.
The Bighorn Solar Facility is generating electricity for the grid and is expected to be fully operational in November.
Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said, “We have a significant opportunity to build more projects like this across the country as we strive to get 30% of US electricity from solar power by 2030. ” E-mail.
Dave Lawler, president and president of BP America, said the solar project is the beginning of what he expects will be many similar projects. BP, which owns 50% of Lightsource BP, has set a goal of net zero in its carbon emissions by 2050.
The global energy giant has also announced goals to cut its oil and gas production by about 40% by 2030 and cut its total emissions by 30% by the middle of the decade.
“By using these 300 megawatts of solar-generated electricity (in the EVRAZ), we will eliminate 434,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is equivalent to removing 92,100 fuel-burning cars off the road each year,” Lawler said, Who is originally from Denver.
“The state of Colorado is so important to me, the environmental beauty we have here attracts so many people and that’s what makes this particular project so exciting,” Lawler said.
Founded in 1881, EVRAZ Pueblo, formerly known as the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, produces steel products including rails, seamless pipe, rods and coiled reinforcing bars.