Lightsource bp launches the Bighorn Solar project in Colorado; first steelworks operating almost entirely on solar energy
Lightsource bp, in collaboration with Xcel Energy and EVRAZ North America, has 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 the EVRAZ steel plant in Pueblo, the world’s first steel plant to be powered by largely by solar energy.
EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel is the largest producer of rail in North America, manufacturing more than 580,000 tonnes of rail per year. Each year, the steel industry melts more than 1.25 million tonnes of recycled scrap in its electric arc furnace to manufacture more than 300 different grades of steel. The plant also manufactures seamless pipe for the energy sector, as well as wire rod and coiled rebar for construction, automotive and specialty industries.
The Bihorn Solar project is primarily located on 1,800 acres of land on the EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo. It is the largest single-customer on-site solar installation in the United States, with more than 750,000 solar panels supplying nearly all of the plant’s annual electricity demand. This will allow the plant to produce some of the most environmentally friendly steel products in the world. Already, the plant is recycling scrap metal to produce new steel products, including what it says is one of the most durable rails in the world.
The Bighorn Solar project is currently generating electricity in the grid and is expected to be fully operational in November 2021.
Lightsource bp has financed, owns and operates Bighorn Solar and sells the electricity it produces to Xcel Energy under a 20 year power purchase agreement. As part of this agreement, EVRAZ will receive clean, renewable energy and price certainty from Xcel Energy until 2041. The project will enable Xcel Energy to reduce 433,770 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking 92,100 gasoline-powered cars off the road each year.
EVRAZ North America is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electricity customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers. The fixed rate electricity deal gives EVRAZ the low and 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 world 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 world’s largest vertically integrated steel and mining companies. 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 United States (Portland, Oregon; Pueblo, Colorado) and Canada ( Regina, Saskatchewan; Calgary, Camrose and Red Deer, Alberta).