Lightsource bp launches Bighorn Solar project in Colorado; first steel mill to run almost entirely on solar
Lightsource bp, together with Xcel Energy and EVRAZ North America, launched its new 300-megawatt Bighorn Solar project. Lightsource bp, a 50:50 joint venture with bp, unveiled the solar project that will help reduce emissions and support more than 1,000 jobs at EVRAZ’s Pueblo steel mill—the world’s first steel mill to be powered largely by solar energy.
EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel is the largest producer of rail in North America, manufacturing more than 580,000 tons of rail annually. The steelmaking operation melts more than 1.25 million tons of recycled metal scrap in its electric arc furnace each year to make more than 300 different grades of steel. The facility also manufactures seamless pipe for the energy sector, as well as wire rod and coiled reinforcing bar for construction, automotive and specialty industries.
The Bihorn Solar project is primarily located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo. It is the largest on-site solar facility in the US dedicated to a single customer, with more than 750,000 solar panels providing nearly all the plant’s annual electricity demand. This will enable the mill to produce some of the world’s greenest steel and steel products. Already, the plant recycles scrap metal to produce new steel products, including what it says is some of the most sustainably made rail in the world.
The Bighorn Solar project is currently generating electricity into the grid and is expected to come fully online in November 2021.
Lightsource bp financed, owns and operates Bighorn Solar and sells the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. As part of that arrangement, EVRAZ will receive clean, renewable power and price certainty from Xcel Energy through 2041. The project will enable Xcel Energy to abate 433,770 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking 92,100 fuel-burning cars off the road each year.
EVRAZ North America is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electric customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers. The deal for fixed-rate power gives EVRAZ the low, predictable electricity prices it needs to stay in Pueblo and invest in its future there, keeping more than 1,000 jobs in the local community.
Lightsource bp is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects, and a 50:50 joint venture with bp.
EVRAZ North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of EVRAZ plc, one of the largest vertically integrated steel and mining businesses in the world. The company is a leading North American producer of engineered steel products for rail, energy and industrial end markets with six production sites located in the US (Portland, Oregon; Pueblo, Colorado) and Canada (Regina, Saskatchewan; Calgary, Camrose and Red Deer, Alberta).