Eastern Kern has attracted another large-scale renewable energy project with a San Diego-based company’s $350 million plan to build a “green steel” plant in Mojave powered at least in part by electricity. renewable energy, possibly using on-site solar panels.
Pacific Steel Group announced this month that it had contracted with Pennsylvania-based Danieli Corp. to build a state-of-the-art plant that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an industry that emits a lot of carbon dioxide. carbon.
In early 2025, the company plans to begin commissioning a facility it says will employ around 400 people and produce up to 380,000 tonnes of steel for reinforcements such as rebar.
News of the company’s investment bolsters the county’s growing reputation as a location for large-scale renewable energy projects. Eastern Kern has proven particularly suitable for wind and photovoltaic solar power generation.
The Kern County government received an application for the project and began work on an environmental impact statement. No draft has been published.
The county supervisor who represents the area, Zack Scrivner, declined to comment on the proposal’s prospects, noting that the public part of the permitting process has yet to begin.
He took the opportunity to welcome the company to Kern County, “the best place in California to realize new ideas”.
“Kern County is a leader in California’s energy evolution,” Scrivner said via email, “with our experience dealing with new types of technology and applying the highest standards for our environmental impact reports”.
Pacific Steel declined to answer questions about the project, but said in an April 5 press release that the plant will be able to connect directly to renewable energy sources “by tapping into an abundance of renewable energy. available in California”.
A visual rendering provided as part of the release appears to show expanses of photovoltaic solar panels adjacent on three sides to an industrial complex.
President and CEO Eric Benson of Pacific Steel said the partnership with Danieli will produce “one of the cleanest, safest and most efficient steel mills in the world”.
The technology that Danieli is responsible for providing to Mojave is called a MIDA Hybrid Micro Mill. He melts scrap metal using a process called Danieli Digimelter, which uses electricity in the processing of steel.
A plant using related technology from the same company opened last fall in Mesa, Arizona. Scheduled to open in 2023, it would become the first such plant in North America, with what Danieli said was the ability to connect directly to renewable energy sources.
Different technologies have been developed to produce steel using electricity instead of coal. The one that started two months ago in Colorado will deploy a 300-megawatt solar panel installation and turn more than a billion pounds of steel into 100-meter-long sections of rail, according to the news site. industry Constructiondive.com.
Green steel refers to steel that produces significantly less carbon than conventional steel mills. No such facility exists locally, but the idea was raised earlier this year as a potential application for technology slated for testing soon at Kern.
Oakland-based Rondo Energy plans to convert intermittent electricity into heat measuring up to 2,200 degrees. The idea is to provide high heat for industrial processes which a senior county official said could include steel processing.