Aurubis takes the next step towards a decarbonized future: largest in-house solar plant in Bulgaria to be built

Energy / Bulgaria
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Yesterday, June 24, Aurubis started the construction of a 10-megawatt (MW) solar power plant near its copper smelter in Bulgaria, the next step towards a sustainable multi metal production. Once completed, it will be the largest solar power plant for in-house electricity production by a company in the country. It is part of Aurubis’ strategic goal of a carbon-neutral production by 2050 at the latest.

The construction of the “Aurubis-1” solar power 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.

“The Aurbis-1 solar power plant is an important strategic milestone for our whole company on our way to a decarbonized future”, Roland Harings, Aurubis AG Chief Executive Officer said. “It also shows our continued commitment to production in Bulgaria”, he added. Between 1998 and 2018, Aurubis has invested over 600 million euros in the country and created more than 600 direct and 2,500 indirect jobs through contractors.

“Aurubis investment in clean energy sources showcases responsibility to the society and the environment”, Kiril Petkov, the Minister of Economy of Bulgaria said. “Aurubis operations contribute to the export potential of our country, higher standard of living in plant’s region, transparent rules and orderly set 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, Managing Director of Aurubis Bulgaria, said. “We aim to lead by example when it comes to sustainability, and the solar power 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 sq. m on a remediated landfill. The solar power plant will cover 2.5 percent of smelter’s electricity 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 (Czechia) in Bulgaria. “We are looking forward to working with Aurubis in achieving a more sustainable future”, explained Karel Kral, CEZ country manager for Bulgaria noted during the construction start.

The Aurubis-1 solar power 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.

4, 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, or over 60 000 tonnes for the planned period of exploitation, will be saved.

The Aurubis-1 solar power plant is only one aspect of the company’s efforts to switch to green energy in the country. The goal for the Bulgarian site is to cover 20 percent of its energy needs with renewable sources in the medium by 2030 and 50 percent in the long term by 2050.

Strategic goal: carbon-neutral by 2050

Aurubis is 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. CO2-free industrial waste heat from the Hamburg plant provides energy for the HafenCity Ost district, saving 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. Aurubis AG smelter in Bulgaria plays a significant role as the largest industrial taxpayer in the country and the largest copper producer in Southeastern Europe.

Aurubis – Metals for Progress

Aurubis AG is a leading global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers worldwide. The company processes complex metal concentrates, scrap metals, and metal-bearing recycling materials into metals of the highest quality. Aurubis produces more than 1 million tons of copper cathodes annually, and from them a variety of products such as wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles, and flat rolled products made of copper and copper alloys. Aurubis produces a number of other metals as well, including precious metals, selenium, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc. The portfolio also includes additional products such as sulfuric acid and iron silicate.

Sustainability is a fundamental part of the Aurubis strategy. “Aurubis responsibly transforms raw materials into value” – following this maxim, the company integrates sustainable conduct and business activities into the corporate culture. This involves a careful approach to natural resources, responsible social and ecological conduct in everyday business, and sensible, healthy growth.

Aurubis has about 7,200 employees, production sites in Europe and the US, and an extensive service and distribution system in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Aurubis shares are part of the Prime Standard Segment of the German Stock Exchange and are listed in the MDAX and the Global Challenges Index (GCX).

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