"Aurubis-1": start of construction for largest in-house PV plant in Bulgaria
Berlin | Thursday, June 24, 2021
- Aurubis takes the next step towards decarbonization
- Clear commitment to production in Bulgaria with 10 MW PV plant
- Green energy goal for Bulgarian site: covering 20 percent of energy needs with own renewable sources by 2030
- Aurubis is committed to the goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 at the latest
Today, Aurubis started the construction of a 10-megawatt (MW) solar power plant near its production site in Bulgaria. This is the next step towards sustainable multimetal production. Once completed, it will be the largest PV plant for in-house electricity production by a company in the country. It is part of Aurubis’ strategic goal of carbon-neutral production by 2050 at the latest.
The construction of the “Aurubis-1” PV plant was launched with a special event at company’s production site in the Srednogorie region attended by representatives of the Bulgarian government, the diplomatic corps, local authorities, and business representatives.
“Aurubis-1 is an important milestone for our whole company on our way to a CO2-free future,” Roland Harings, Aurubis AG Chief Executive Officer, said during the ceremony for the start of construction. “It also shows our clear commitment to production in Bulgaria.”
“Aurubis’ investment in clean energy sources showcases responsibility to society and the environment,” Kiril Petkov, Minister of Economy of Bulgaria, said. “Aurubis’ operations contribute to the export potential of our country, the higher standard of living in the plant’s region, transparent rules, and orderly relations with the local businesses,” the Bulgarian Minister added.
“Our Bulgarian site was the first Aurubis primary smelter to successfully complete the Copper Mark certification process this April, the new quality seal for sustainability in the copper world,” Tim Kurth, Executive Director of Aurubis Bulgaria, said. “We aim to lead by example when it comes to sustainability, and the PV plant is another best case for this,” he continued.
The project includes the installation of over 20,000 photovoltaic panels on a plot of 104,000 m² on a remediated and recultivated landfill. The facility will cover 2.5 percent of the site’s consumption average, with the value reaching up to 12 percent during the daily peak hours.
The construction is carried out by CEZ ESCO, a company of CEZ Group (Czech Republic) in Bulgaria. “We are looking forward to working with Aurubis in achieving a more sustainable future,” Karel Kral, CEZ Country Manager for Bulgaria, noted during the construction start.
The Aurubis-1 PV plant will optimize the smelter’s external electricity consumption by 11,000 MWh annually, and for the period of 15 years the total renewable energy production will amount to nearly 170,000 MWh. The generated electricity could supply 3,500 households annually or a Bulgarian town with а population of 14,000.
Compared to coal-fired power generation, this will save 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year – or over 225,000 tons for the planned operating period.
The Aurubis-1 PV plant is only one aspect of the company’s efforts in Bulgaria to switch to internal renewable energy in the country. The goal for Pirdrop is to cover 20 percent of its energy needs with renewable sources in the medium term by 2030.
Strategic goal: carbon-neutral by 2050
Aurubis is further committed to the goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 at the latest and is already successfully implementing CO2 reduction projects at all of the company’s production sites. Joining the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) with clear targets until 2030 underlines this commitment. The solar power plant in Bulgaria is just one of many projects. In May, the company successfully started testing hydrogen use on an industrial scale in copper anode production at the Hamburg site. Furthermore, CO2-free industrial waste heat from the Hamburg plant provides energy for the HafenCity East district, saving 20,000 t of CO2 every year. Aurubis AG’s smelter in Bulgaria plays a significant role as the largest industrial taxpayer in the country and the largest copper producer in Southeastern Europe.