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Nucor Corp. is partnering with the University of Kentucky Research Foundation to test an innovative carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system at Nucor Steel Gallatin in Ghent, Ky.

Nucor Corp.’s planned new steel mill in West Virginia will give the company better access to major steel-consuming markets, the company’s CEO said in a conference call Thursday afternoon.

“The location along the Ohio River provides Nucor with important transportation and logistics advantages in serving the country’s two largest sheet steel-consuming regions: the Midwest and Northeast, two areas where Nucor is currently underrepresented,” Nucor President and CEO Leon Topalian said.

“Once operational, our West Virginia mill will have some of the most advanced capabilities and one of the lowest carbon footprints of any sheet mill in the world. We are very excited to begin work with the local community in Mason County on this transformational project that will create substantial long-term value for all Nucor shareholders.”

Two weeks ago, Nucor announced plans to build a $2.7 billion sheet steel mill between the Mason County communities of Appe Grove and Mercers Bottom, about 27 miles north of downtown Huntington. Nucor is the largest steel producer in the United States.

It is a Fortune 150 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that produces steel by recycling scrap metal in electric arc furnaces.

The mill is part of the company’s three-year plan to invest $5.5 billion in new production facilities. Nucor plans capital investments of $2.3 billion this year alone, Topalian told investment analysts on the call.

Company officials said they expect nonresidential construction to remain strong in 2022, and the company’s customers are bullish on their demand for steel.

Nucor is emphasizing production methods that lower the amount of carbon emissions used in steelmaking. As one part of that, Appalachian Power announced Wednesday that it had submitted two filings to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia requesting approval and cost recovery for four renewable energy projects. Customers who purchase renewable energy from the projects would do so through a proposed renewable power plus (RPP) tariff. The tariff is aimed primarily at attracting larger companies with ESG (environmental, social and governance) needs, while providing a stable, reasonable cost-renewable solution for all existing customers, Appalachian Power said in its announcement.

“Having renewable energy in the mix was a key factor in Nucor Corporation’s recent decision to locate its $2.7 billion steel mill in the state. In fact, between Nucor’s commitment and interest from existing large energy users, we can fully subscribe the West Virginia share of energy from the renewable projects we are filing today and still need more,” Chris Beam, Appalachian Power’s president and chief operating officer, said in the announcement.

One of Appalachian Power’s filings is for approval and cost recovery of the proposed 50-megawatt Bedington solar project, which will be constructed in Berkeley County. The project is Appalachian Power’s first to follow provisions of Senate Bill 583, signed into law in 2020, which encourages solar project development on brownfield sites in West Virginia.

The second filing requests approval and cost recovery of a 204-megawatt wind energy project in Logan County, Illinois, a 150-megawatt solar facility in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and a 4.9-megawatt solar project in Amherst County, Virginia, all of which the company will own. The filing also seeks regulatory approval to enter into power purchase agreements for three Virginia solar facilities that will add approximately 89 megawatts of power to the company’s energy supply.

In Nucor’s conference call, Topalian discussed his company’s plans to improve economic efficiency and to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030.

“The sustainability side of our industry is paramount,” he said.

On Thursday, Nucor reported net earnings of $2.25 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from $398.8 million in the last quarter of 2020. For the full year 2021, the company earned $6.83 billion, compared with $721.5 million the year before.

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