As global leaders gather in Glasgow for the upcoming United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (COP26), Colorado is turning ‘green’ thanks to the massive solar-powered steel mill, a clear indication that even the fossil fuel reliant industries can become eco-friendly, if stakeholders can come together and make efforts to effect the change we all want to see.
EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel Factory based in Pueblo, Colorado will largely be powered by solar, a press release has confirmed.
Volvo’s autonomous load carrier manufactured of ‘green’ steel recently became a craze despite critics pointing out that the electric motors in the vehicle were made of steel, emphasising on the need to have the whole supply chain decarbonised, claims that plunged the development into heated controversy.
But then, the decision to use solar energy to power an entire steel factory is obviously a bold step forward to a sustainable future.
One of the things backing this ambitious goal is the 750,000 solar panels installed on 1800 acres of land owned by EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel Factory.
A joint venture between BP and Lightsource pumped in a whopping $285 million to finance the Colorado-based clean energy infrastructure investment dubbed the Bighorn Solar Project.
Supplying power to the main grid, the project is planned to start operation next month and utilise its 300 MW capacity to meet the steel factory’s electricity needs.
The plant which specialises in recycling scrap metals to produce steel items will now be ranked the world’s first steel factory to be fully powered by solar energy.
Despite financing and owning the project, Lightsource BP will sell the generated energy to Xcel Energy which signed a power purchasing agreement with the steel factory of up to 2041.
The agreement also provides for price certainties in raw power, an important factor in ascertaining output steel prices while helping the business remain competitive with steelmakers who rely on coal to fuel their operations.
The agreement is expected to retain more than 1,000 jobs in the region, where the steelmaker is considered the biggest employer.
“Projects like this can make companies more resilient and protect jobs through the energy transition,” said Dave Lawler, chairman and president of BP America in the press release. “Renewable energy can create a more sustainable, competitive business.”
The project is set to prevent up to 433,770 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, an equivalent of removing 92,100 cars off the roads annually, the press release stated.