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BP builds solar pipeline with over 10 GW of US, Greek, Portuguese deals

03 June 2021 Cristina Brooks

BP's Lightsource bp joint venture continued to pick up acquisitions in the decarbonizing US and European markets over the last week or so.

The venture with UK-based Lightsource is active in at least 13 countries, compared with five in 2017 when the two first teamed up.

In Portugal, Lightsource bp will acquire five solar projects to add over 1.35 GW of renewable power capacity to its portfolio, according to a 28 May statement.

The Portuguese solar farms will not only serve corporate buyers but will count towards the government's aim of reaching a 47% renewable share of national energy consumption by 2030. The target was outlined to EU authorities in the country's 2019 National Energy and Climate Plan.

The major has 2 GW under development in Spain, and its Madrid affiliate participated in a Spanish government PV auction in March, gaining a 5-MW project.

Elsewhere in Europe, a partnership of Lightsource bp and Greek construction company Kiefer TEK succeeded with bids into a government PV auction on 24 May. The partners won over 40% of the 350 MW awarded at the auction.

But BP's biggest transaction came with the acquisition of 9 GW of solar projects across 12 US states announced on 1 June.

Under the agreement with independent US solar developer 7X Energy, around 2.2 GW of the projects will reach final investment decision in 2025, and the rest will reach that stage by 2030. Texas-based 7X Energy develops utility-scale solar for large corporations, utilities, municipalities, and electric cooperatives.

The deal puts BP further along on its path to increase its developed renewable energy capacity to 50 GW by 2030, as it will have 23 GW in its pipeline with the new projects included.

BP may market the power from the American PV projects through an integrated package via energy trading and customer franchises. "In line with our strategy, we'll aim to integrate these projects with our existing onshore and offshore wind, natural gas, and trading and shipping businesses to give customers what they want—reliable, affordable, and clean energy," said Dave Lawler, bp America president, in the announcement.

BP retains a major presence in the US gasoline market, via 7,200 BP and ARCO-branded service stations.

The company set the goal to reaching 50 GW of renewables capacity in August 2020, following from the announcement in February that year that it would become a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner, including through a 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products it sells and reaching net zero across its operations on an absolute basis by that year.

Posted 03 June 2021 by Cristina Brooks, Senior Journalist, Climate & Sustainability, IHS Markit

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