15 December 2017 2017 10:15 AM GMT

Beyond Petroleum. BP Returns To Solar; Following Shell, Total Into Clean Energy

Lightsource and BP have announced that they have agreed to form a strategic partnership, bringing Lightsource’s solar development and management expertise together with BP’s global scale, relationships and trading capabilities. BP will acquire on completion a 43% equity share in Lightsource for a total consideration of $200 million, paid over three years. The great majority of this investment will fund Lightsource’s worldwide growth pipeline. The company will be renamed Lightsource BP and BP will have two seats on the board of directors. BP is not alone in moving away from oil and gas and towards clean energy. Anglo-Dutch Shell is purchasing electric car infrastructure companies, France’s Total is acquiring battery storage firms and Norway’s Statoil is pioneering floating wind farms.

Nick Boyle, Group CEO and founder of Lightsource, said: “We founded Lightsource to lead the solar revolution and chose to partner with BP because, like us, their ambition is to build and grow this company for the long-term. Not only does this partnership make strategic sense, but our combined forces will be part of accelerating the low-carbon transition. Solar power is the fastest growing source of new energy and we are excited to be at the forefront of this development.”

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive added: “BP has been committed to advancing lower-carbon energy for over 20 years and we’re excited to be coming back to solar but in a new and very different way. While our history in the solar industry was centred on manufacturing panels, Lightsource BP will instead grow value through developing and managing major solar projects around the world. I am confident that the combination of Lightsource’s expertise and experience with BP’s relationships and resources will propel this innovative business to even more rapid growth.”

Global installed solar generating capacity more than tripled in the past four years and grew by over 30% in 2016 alone, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. BP’s Energy Outlook analysis sees solar as likely to generate around a third of the world’s total renewable power and up to 10% of total global power by 2035.

Lightsource is now, a global player in the development, acquisition and long-term management of large-scale solar projects and smart energy solutions worldwide. It has grown in just seven years to become Europe’s largest developer and operator of utility-scale solar projects. The company has commissioned 1.3 GW of solar capacity to date and manages approximately 2GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts – the equivalent of powering over half a million homes through clean energy.

BP’s interest in Lightsource BP will complement its existing Alternative Energy business, which includes wind energy, biofuels and biopower. BP Wind Energy has interests in onshore wind energy across the US with a total gross generating capacity of 2.3GW. BP Biofuels has world-scale plants in Brazil, which produce around 800 million litres of ethanol equivalent per year as well as generating low-carbon power for Brazil’s national grid.

Lightsource sees opportunities in integrating solar with BP’s other businesses and trading capabilities as well as through BP’s international scale and relationships. Dev Sanyal, BP’s chief executive for Alternative Energy, added: “We see significant opportunity to offer affordable, reliable, low-carbon power solutions by integrating solar alongside our existing Alternative Energy and gas business. We see Lightsource as a strategic partner with a similar vision and, with the benefits of BP’s global scale and relationships, we together plan to build the global market leader for solar.”

Sanyal also emphasised the changing industry as the driver for the strategy, saying BP was returning to solar because the sector had matured and the model had shifted from manufacturing panels to developing solar farms. Solar “is really an important part of the overall energy mix. It will constitute around 10% of global power in the next 20 years and is growing around 15% per annum. We like the fundamentals of the industry and we like the fundamentals of the company,” he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, BP will pay Lightsource $50million on completion of the agreement, with the balance paid in instalments over three years. Completion is anticipated in early 2018. Lightsource BP will target the growing demand for large-scale solar projects worldwide with a focus on grid-connected plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with private companies. The company will continue to develop and deliver Lightsource’s 6GW growth pipeline, which is largely focused in the US, India, Europe and the Middle East.

Lightsource has grown exponentially since its foundation in 2010, maturing from a startup into a major global player with considerable size, scale and reach. The company provides full lifecycle services, integrating in-house development, operational management, contracted income (25-30 years+) and deep asset financing expertise. With approximately 2GW under management, of which 1.3GW was developed in-house, The company has established a significant global pipeline across its four divisions: UK & Europe Large Scale Solar (est. 2010); India, Middle East and Asia (IMEA) Large-Scale Solar (est. 2016); North America Large-Scale Solar (est. 2017) and LS Labs Smart Home & Distributed Energy Software (est. 2015).

BP is a global energy business with a wide reach across the world’s energy systems. With over 70,000 employees and activities in more than 70 countries, BP finds, produces and transports oil and natural gas; trades oil, gas, products and power; manufactures and markets fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals; and produces renewable energy through its wind, biopower and biofuels businesses.

Photo: Courtesy of Lightsource BP

August 10th 2018
Major Role For WorleyParsons’ Advisian On World’s Largest Solar Power Project

Noor Energy 1 has appointed Advisian, the global consulting firm of WorleyParsons, as Owner’s Engineer for the concentrating solar power (CSP) fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. The 700MW project will be the largest of its kind in the world and as an Owner’s Engineer, Advisian will protect the owner’s interests by ensuring all contractors are adhering to project specifications. It will also provide a review of the basic and detailed engineering, manage risk and provide technical support during construction & commissioning of the plant.

August 15th 2018
Electrification The Key To Decarbonising Europe’s Economy

Electrification is the key to decarbonising Europe’s economy, according to WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. He said: “according to the IEA, wind will be the #1 source of electricity soon after 2030, providing more than 30% of Europe’s electricity, but electricity is only 22% of the final energy needed by Europe’s economy. Political momentum is starting to grow for an EU target of net-zero emissions in 2050. To do this we’ll need to electrify heating and transport, where the share of renewables is just 18% and 6% respectively; that has to be the #1 priority”.

August 8th 2018
Poland Scores Big: Mercedes-Benz Agrees Europe’s First Automotive Sector PPA

Mercedes-Benz has announced Europe’s first automotive Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a Polish wind farm. It is also the first such deal signed in Poland. It will buy electricity generated at the 45MW wind farm to power its manufacturing facility in Jawor, 10km away from the wind farm. The longer-term goal is to source all of its power needs from renewables. Corporate PPA deals like this are expanding rapidly in Europe. There was a 130% increase in the volume of wind energy contracted through such PPAs in 2017 alone.

July 20th 2018
IET’s Renewable Power Generation Conference Comes To Copenhagen

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s popular Renewable Power Generation conference will be making its first visit to Denmark this year. The conference, now in its 7th iteration, will be hosted by the Center for Electric Power and Energy at DTU, which also manages the world-class experiment platform for research and development of renewables integration – PowerLabDK. Over 180 new research papers will be presented at the conference. Attendees will be able to find out the latest ideas and thinking around wind power plant modelling and control; wave and tidal energy; renewable energy forecasting; power conversion and grid interaction; Hybrid systems combining multiple energy sources; the impact of distributed generation and use of HVDC.

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