British multinational oil and gas company BP has gone on a spending spree of United States solar farms, buying over $280 million AUD of assets.
BP has long been known for its association with fossil fuels, but made the first significant step towards transitioning towards renewables in 2017. It was then that the company formed a 50:50 joint venture with Lightsource Renewable Energy to form Lightsource BP.
Now BP has gone on a massive solar spending spree to purchase enough assets to power 1.7 million homes, with the projects to be developed by Lightsource BP.
The solar projects were purchased from developer 7X Energy, and the assets have a total production capacity of 9 gigawatts. It is the first independent investment since BP forged the partnership.
This move alone has ballooned BP’s renewables pipeline from 14GW to 23GW. It follows the announcement from BP chief executive Bernard Looney last year to reduce carbon emissions by 2050, reduce oil output and grow the renewable energy arm of the company 20 times over by 2030. BP aims to have 50GW of capacity by then.
BP Lightsource also aggressively targeted Europe
While the sheer scale of the aggressive solar farm purchasing in the United States has been dominating headlines, BP Lightsource has also been quietly buying up assets across Europe.
BP Lightsource has made a 1.35GW co-development deal in Portugal, and it is also exploring green hydrogen opportunities in the country. It brings their pipeline up to 3.5GW across Spain and Portugal.
The company’s country head for Portugal Miguel Lobo said Portugal could produce some of the cheapest electricity in the world from solar, and there was plenty of excitement around creating cheap hydrogen in the future as well.
“Solar is ideally placed to meet Portugal’s rapid expansion plans on growing its local renewable energy generation capacity as it has excellent irradiation levels, it is quick to deploy, and low-cost,” he said.
“There really is so much potential for solar within the energy mix. In addition, there are also opportunities with growing technologies like storage and green hydrogen that are attracting new investment players across the energy value chain, and that is a huge benefit to our country.”
These announcements are the latest in a long line for BP
BP has aggressively pursued the transition from fossil fuels to renewables since it announced its partnership with Lightsource in 2017.
But the company has been making this transition for two decades, which started with changing from British Petroleum Company to Beyond Petroleum in 2001.
Since then, the company has invested in several assets, including the BP Solar 1 facility in Vietnam, but the latest announcement is the most significant.
BP already has 2200MW of wind assets in the United States to join these new assets.