Plans to build one of Colorado’s largest solar facilities are a step closer to reality as Xcel Energy, Evraz North America and Lightsource BP said they’ve reached a long-term agreement to develop a $250 million, 240-megawatt solar facility in Pueblo.
Lightsource BP will finance, build, own and operate the Bighorn Solar project and sell all the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement, Kallanish Energy reports. It will be located on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo, making it the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer (in this case, a steelmaker) in the U.S.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Evraz North America and Lightsource BP, two companies committed to creating innovative solutions, while developing new solar energy sources within the state,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado.
“This pioneering partnership with Xcel Energy and Lightsource BP marks a milestone for the development of our new rail mill and will make Evraz North America the industry leader in the use of renewable energy to produce the greenest steel and engineered steel products in the world, from rail to rod & bar,” said Skip Herald, president and CEO of Evraz North America.
“Xcel Energy and Evraz North America have been excellent partners for Lightsource BP and we look forward to our continued collaboration as we bring this significant project online. The project highlights the tremendous potential that Colorado offers for large-scale solar and serves as a creative multi-stakeholder model to meet increasing demand for affordable, clean energy,” commented Kevin Smith, Lightsource BP’s chief executive of the Americas.
Complements the Colorado Energy Plan
The partners’ agreement requires final review by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. It complements the Colorado Energy Plan, which will deliver 55% renewable energy to the grid by 2026, and reduce carbon emissions by 60%. The project is e3xpected to be online by the end of 2021.
EVRAZ North America is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electric customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers. The companies agreed to work towards a long-term electricity contract in 2018 that gives the steel mill price certainty through 2041.
With its 20-year, fixed rate structure, the project provides EVRAZ North America with predictable electricity prices and allows the mill, which employs about 1,000 workers, to stay in Pueblo.
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