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Where solar meets steel

Release date:
13 October 2021
Lightsource bp’s Bighorn Solar installation is helping to save jobs and lower emissions in Pueblo, Colorado, by providing a local steel mill with cleaner, greener energy.
Bighorn Solar with steel mill in background

A 50-50 joint venture with bp, Lightsource bp developed the Bighorn project, which demonstrates bp’s strategy to become a leading integrated low carbon electricity and energy player and highlights the important role of greening companies in helping the world reach net zero.

 

How Bighorn works

 

Once fully online, the 300-megawatt installation, will deliver renewable power to Xcel Energy and the EVRAZ steel company.

 

The 750,000-panel solar array will power a nearby 140-year-old steel mill, cutting emissions from one of the hardest-to-abate sectors and creating what EVRAZ calls the “cleanest steel and engineered steel products in the world.”

 

In the process, it will preserve over 1,000 jobs at the mill and create more than 300 temporary green construction jobs.

 

“For those who are wondering what bp is doing, we think this is the best example of the transition that we’re going through.”

 

Dave Lawler, chairman and president bp America, told the Financial Times

 

The project is primarily located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo. The largest on-site solar facility in the US dedicated to a single customer, Bighorn provides nearly all the plant’s annual electricity demand, enabling it to produce some of the world’s greenest steel and steel products. Already, the plant recycles scrap metal into clean steel, including some of the world’s most sustainable rail.

 

Taken together, Bighorn shows how renewable energy can help significantly decarbonize carbon-intensive industries such as steel.

 

Lightsource bp financed, owns and operates Bighorn 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 Bighorn Solar 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. 

A collaborative, low carbon effort

 

The collaboration between Lightsource bp, EVRAZand Xcel Energy shows how companies that are transitioning to low carbon – also known as greening companies – can help each other and their communities.

 

For bp, it also highlights how the company is pursuing its ambition to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner, and help the world get there.

 

The project is also a part of bp’s strategy to increase investment in low carbon energy 10-fold, reaching $5 billion a year by 2030, taking bp’s renewable-energy capacity from 2.5 to 50 gigawatts by the end of this decade.