Lightsource bp, the renewable energy developing arm of British oil major bp, announced this Wednesday its Bighorn Solar project is about to come into fruition, with an expected operating date in November 2021.
Firstly, the Bighorn Solar project comes in partnership with Xcel Energy and EVRAZ North America. It will be the first solar project to power EVRAZ’s Pueblo steel mill almost in its entirety.
Consequently, the project delivers a milestone not just for the companies involved but to the industry as a whole; especially as harder-to-abate sectors are struggling to make their products greener.
Moreover, the project has a 300-megawatts capacity and features more than 750,000 solar panels providing nearly all the plant’s annual electricity demand. Such output will allow the steel mill to produce some of the world’s greenest steel and steel products.
In fact, Pueblo’s steel mill already recycles scrap metal to produce new steel products, including some of the most sustainably made rail in the world. As a result, Bighorn Solar would uplift those existing efforts to position the plant as one of the greenest in its sector.
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Lightsource bp and Xcel Energy allow a greener steel production from EVRAZ
In addition, as outlined above, the project is already generating electricity but will come fully online in November. On the one hand, Lightsource bp financed, owns, and operates Bighorn Solar. However, it will sell electricity from the project to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Therefore, EVRAZ will receive clean, renewable power and price certainty from Xcel Energy through 2041. EVRAZ is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electric customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers, indeed. 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.
Furthermore, the deal would also provide EVRAZ with fixed-rate power and low, predictable electricity prices to strengthen its position in Pueblo and to invest in its future there, keeping more than 1000 jobs in the local community.
On the other hand, Dave Lawler, chairman, and president of bp America, said. “Renewable energy can create a more sustainable, competitive business. Projects like this can make companies more resilient and protect jobs through the energy transition.”
Finally, Skip Herald, CEO, EVRAZ North America, commented. “As each new acre of solar panels is installed, we find ourselves closer to our goal of making EVRAZ in Pueblo one of the greenest steel facilities in the world.”