A Colorado steel mill company is getting all the attention these days. The 150-year-old EVRAZ steel mill located in Pueblo is now entirely powered by one of the state’s largest solar panels.
The EVRAZ Steel Mill Factory is adding a new chapter in its history. The partnership called Lightsource BP has unveiled a new 300-megawatt solar farm project. The majority of the project 750,000 flexible solar panels are situated on the EVRAZ property, making the farm the biggest on-site solar project in the country produced only by a single customer.
Scrap metal is recycled in the steel mill to make rails and other items. The CEO of Americas for Lightsource BP, Kevin Smith, claims that the mill’s goods will be among the “greenest steel” globally by employing solar-generated electricity.
It was in 2019 when the project was announced and is partially operational. Based on the companies assessment, it will be fully functional by next month.
The project is a 50/50 joint venture that will help decrease emissions and support over 1,000 employment at EVRAZ’s Pueblo steel mill.
The project is situated on 1,800 acres of property on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel. According to the International Energy Agency, the iron and steel sector emits 2.8 gigatonnes of CO2 per year, responsible for 8% of overall global energy demand and 7% of energy-related carbon emissions. The large steel carbon footprint is because the manufacturing depends largely on coal.
Bighorn Solar is owned, operated, and financed by Lightsource BP, which trades the electricity it produces to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. As part of that agreement, EVRAZ will receive clean, renewable energy from Xcel Energy and price security until 2041.
According to Lightsource BP, the project will let Xcel Energy reduce 433,770 metric tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 92,100 gasoline-powered cars off the road each year.
The Bighorn Solar project now supplies electricity to the grid and is completely operational in November. Now, a world of possibilities awaits.
“Bighorn Solar shows us what the future of American energy can look like,” says Dave Lawler, chairman and president of BP America. Renewable energy can help businesses become more competitive and sustainable. Projects such as this one can help companies to become tougher and protect jobs during the energy transition. And it’s yet another example of how BP is trying to help the United States and the rest of the world achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”
“Like BP and Xcel Energy, EVRAZ is committed to decreasing emissions and running the business more sustainably,” says Skip Herald, CEO of EVRAZ North America. With every new acre of solar panels installed, we are steps away from our objective of making EVRAZ one of the world’s greenest steel factories. Instead, the voyage demonstrates what can happen when like-minded businesses band together and collaborate across government and industry to promote cleaner energy, better products, and more resilient communities. This is a tremendous achievement.”