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BP sets out detailed renewables growth program focused on solar, offshore wind

Highlights

83% of 20 GW pipeline focused on solar PV

New JV with Equinor boosts offshore intention

Merchant risk plays into power trading theme

London — BP is targeting a combination of organic growth and infill acquisitions of early-stage development projects to reach a 50 GW target in global renewables by 2030, Dev Sanyal, BP's EVP gas and low carbon energy, said in an online presentation Sept. 15.

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The company had 2.5 GW net of renewable capacity as of end-2019, with a development pipeline of around 20 GW mainly in the US (9 GW), and Europe (7 GW), and mainly in solar (83%), followed by wind (15%) and biopower (2%).

"We will enhance this pipeline through integration with our other businesses," Sanyal said. "This might be a city or a corporate trying to access renewable power solutions."

BP has recently announced low carbon city partnerships with Houston and Aberdeen.

Solar's prominence in the portfolio was due to its fast-to-market characteristics, Sanyal said.

"It is possible to move from concept to construction in 18 months to two years, which will allow us to grow our pipeline rapidly in the next five years," he said.

Projects in development included the 300 MW Bighorn solar farm in Colorado, to supply the Evraz steel plant, and the 260 MW Impact solar farm in Texas, where BP is offtaking 100% of the generation.

Lightsource bp (50% BP owned) is building a 250 MW subsidy-free solar farm in Zaragoza, has acquired a 2 GW pipeline of projects from Enerlife in Brazil, is involved in the Eversource JV building 500 MW in India, and is building another 500 MW of bifacial solar capacity in Australia.

"Beyond solar, our pipeline also includes offshore wind energy, including our recent agreement to form a strategic partnership with Equinor in the US, with an initial 4.4 GW of gross generating capacity," Sanyal said.

In addition to identified projects, BP is evaluating a further 21 GW of early stage options, including onshore wind projects in the US.

Sanyal welcomed the growth in power purchase agreements to manage merchant risk in project development.

"Through our trading business we have the ability to market the uncontracted merchant exposure or become the power offtaker," he said, adding that BP is targeting growth in traded power volumes from 200 TWh in 2019 to 350 TWh in 2025, and 500 TWh in 2030.