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Huge Pueblo solar project pushing ahead

Agreement reached between three companies
Huge Pueblo solar project pushes ahead
Posted at 9:42 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-28 00:19:43-04

PUEBLO — The City of Pueblo continues to move toward more solar power, as one of the largest solar projects in the state gets one step closer to construction. Xcel Energy, Lightsource BP, and EVRAZ North America reached a long-term agreement, and several city and state leaders were in Pueblo to make the announcement.

The three companies agreed to construct a new 240-megawatt solar facility on the EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property. It would be around 600,000 solar panels, according to those behind the project.

Governor Jared Polis was there for the announcement about the agreement, for what is being called the Bighorn Solar Project, which would sell the energy created to Xcel. Those with the project said it will give the steel mill predictable prices, allowing them to stay in Pueblo. Lightsource BP and other project investors plan to invest around $250 million in the project, and Governor Polis said it will be good for the people of Pueblo. "Pueblo residents have been ripped off on pricing for their own energy, and we truly believe that this pathway to lower cost renewable energy, will eventually have benefits above and beyond this private agreement," said Governor Polis.

The project is expected to bring around 300 jobs for construction, operations, maintenance, and asset management. However, once the initial construction phase is over, those with the project said around 15-20 jobs will remain.

The agreement still requires final review by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and some final permitting activities to get done. Those with the Bighorn Solar Project hope to start construction next year, and want to have commercial operations at the end of 2021.