FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Nucor Corp. on its new Power Purchase Agreement with NextEra Energy Resources LLC. Nucor will receive 250 megawatts of renewable energy from Sebree Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources in Henderson County.
“Nucor’s success in Kentucky has grown significantly in recent years with major new investments and jobs helping to expand the reach of its steel products,” said Gov. Beshear. “Whether it’s electric vehicles or cutting-edge metals manufacturing, Kentucky is emerging as a national leader in creating the jobs of the future. I look forward to Nucor’s continued success here and am happy to welcome NextEra Energy Resources to the commonwealth for what we hope will be another long and prosperous relationship.”
Sebree Solar is an innovative two-phase project in Henderson County that will have a capacity of up to 400 megawatts of American-produced solar energy. The steel for the first phase of Sebree Solar will be sourced from Nucor Steel Gallatin in Ghent, Kentucky. Steel from the facility will also be used for another solar project to be built and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, Green River Solar, in Meade and Breckinridge counties. The Green River Solar project will generate up to 200 megawatts of electricity. The steel produced by Nucor will be used for the racking system that supports the projects’ solar panels.
“Nucor is proud to work with NextEra Energy Resources, and we are excited to have the opportunity to supply our low embodied carbon steel to an important project that will modernize Kentucky’s power grid,” said Greg Murphy, executive vice president of business services and general counsel at Nucor Corporation. “Our country’s energy transition will be built with steel and the steel it is built with should be produced sustainably. And while Nucor is already among the world’s cleanest and most sustainable steel producers, this agreement will enable us to further reduce our climate footprint and meet our goals for improvement.”
Over its 30-year lifespan, the first phase of Sebree Solar will contribute approximately $20 million in additional tax revenue to Henderson County which can be used for roads, schools and other public services. Construction is set to begin in fall 2023, and the project is expected to start commercial operation in December 2025.
The announced agreement advances Nucor’s broader sustainability strategy and complements a wind-powered agreement that Nucor entered into during 2021. Nucor has agreed to take a total of 350 megawatts of carbon-free electricity through these two agreements, which is enough to power roughly 100,000 U.S. households annually.
“We are pleased to work with Nucor to help them achieve their sustainability goals. This solar energy project will generate low-cost, homegrown energy and provide millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to Henderson County over the life of the project,” said Rebecca Kujawa, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of wind and solar energy, and a leader in battery energy storage. “Constructing our project from steel made sustainably and locally will help drive economic development in Kentucky.”
NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, has approximately 27,400 megawatts of net generating capacity, with a presence in 40 states and four Canadian provinces, as of Dec. 31, 2022.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler and the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer. The company employs over 31,000 people at more than 300 facilities, primarily located in North America. In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates employ approximately 2,000 people at numerous facilities, including Nucor Steel Gallatin, Nucor Steel Brandenburg, Nucor Tubular Products, Nucor Insulated Panels, multiple recycling facilities that collect and recycle scrap metal, and a 50% ownership stake in Steel Technologies. In 2020, Nucor broke ground on Nucor Steel Brandenburg, the $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County, a project that has created 400 full-time jobs.
Nucor and NextEra Energy Resources’ investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Gov. Beshear recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
Gov. Beshear also [announced]announced an increase of 6,400 jobs filled, bringing the commonwealth to 2,015,600 filled jobs in June. That is a record number of nearly 60,000 more jobs filled than before the pandemic.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 870 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $26.8 billion in announced investments.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
For more information on Nucor, visit Nucor.com.
For more information on NextEra Energy Resources, visit NextEraEnergyResources.com.
A detailed community profile for Henderson County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.