EVRAZ North America moving forward with steel mill expansion in Pueblo, solar energy project

EVRAZ North America is moving forward with a $500 million expansion of its steel plant in Pueblo and will receive millions of dollars in tax incentives.

The EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel’s new rail mill is expected to generate 1,000 new jobs. The Colorado Economic Development Commission said in a statement Thursday that it has approved a performance-based job growth incentive tax credit of $2.8 million over eight years for the creation of 205 new jobs.

The commission said it also approved an advanced waiver for Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credits of $14 million. Up to $17 million of these potential tax credits are transferable.

The Pueblo plant expansion project “embodies the thoughtful and innovative economic advancements” that Gov. Jared Polis champions, said Betsy Markey, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

The expansion will include construction of a $250 million, 240-megawatt solar installation being developed in partnership with Xcel Energy and Lightsource BP, which will finance, build and own the Bighorn Solar project. Xcel Energy will buy the electricity under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Construction is expected to begin on the solar facility in the fall and be completed in late 2021. The deal on the solar project was struck in 2019 after EVRAZ, Xcel Energy’s largest power consumer in Colorado, considered moving out of the state without assurances of low electricity rates. The issue arose after Xcel Energy announced plans to close two coal plants in Pueblo earlier than planned.

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia and Rep. Daneya Esgar, both of Pueblo, said in a statement that the decision by EVRAZ is the culmination of years of work by the community to make sure the steel mill stays in Pueblo. They pointed to a 2017 law they worked on to increase tax credits to businesses willing to invest at least $100 million in the state.

This project also received support from the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation.

Established in 1881, EVRAZ Pueblo, formerly known as the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, produces steel products including rail, seamless pipe, rod and coiled reinforcing bar.

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