British oil and gas supermajor BP has increased its ownership in solar developer Lightsource BP, while announcing a new corporate renewable power purchase agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Europe.
Working through its trading and supply business, BP will supply AWS with 172 megawatts of power from solar farm in Spain and a wind farm in Sweden, due online in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The relationship with AWS could increase to 400 megawatts, BP said.
Separately, BP has acquired newly issued shares in UK-based Lightsource BP, lifting its stake to 50 percent. The oil major paid roughly $200 million for a 43 percent stake in the British solar developer back in December 2017, in a deal that valued the solar developer at £350 million ($460 million).
The terms of BP's latest investment were not revealed. The majority of its initial investment into Lightsource BP was to be made in installments over the course of three years, with one such payment of just over $50.7 million paid earlier this year.
BP has not invested in clean-energy businesses on the same scale or with the same breadth in recent years as some of its contemporaries, specifically Total and Shell. But its activities have picked up in recent months.
Beyond its latest investment into Lightsource BP, which is targeting 10 gigawatts of developed assets by 2023, BP owns the U.K.’s largest network of public EV chargers through BP Chargemaster. Other investments include energy management firm GridEdge and e-mobility startup MaaS Global.
Earlier this week Repsol moved the needle for oil companies when it pledged to be net zero by 2050. The scope includes emissions from the burning of its products.
This year has seen Lightsource BP acquiring the development rights to its first projects in Spain, where it now holds a 300-megawatt pipeline, as well as making headway across the Atlantic. In September it closed finance on a 125-megawatt portfolio of projects across four U.S. states. The developer has expanded into eight new markets since BP's first investment.
A spokesperson for BP told GTM that the company is eyeing growth for its renewable PPA business and will fulfill this demand for generation using in-house, affiliates or third-party partners as required.
"We have a strong trading presence in North America and Europe where we are actively pursuing renewable PPA opportunities. As subsidies decline and international renewables markets develop, we will look to build out this in line with our customer requirements," the spokesperson said.
BP also said it hoped its energy trading experience would help it remove a recurring barrier for many prospective PPA clients: complexity.
"We find many organizations are interested in the strong economic and environmental benefits offered by renewable PPAs but are put off by the inflexible structures, complexity and additional risks that these typically involve."
In October, Conor McGuigan, director of business development for Europe at Lightsource BP, told GTM the firm hoped to be able to exploit BP’s trading arm, adding that the oil major’s reputation gave the joint venture credibility very few solar developers could rival.
That was shortly after the firm had secured 300 megawatts of solar projects from Forestalia to build in Spain.
The European PPA market is still expanding, with McGuigan hopeful Italy could also offer new opportunities.
Yesterday Ørsted announced what it calls the largest-ever corporate offshore wind PPA, for a chunk of an upcoming 900-megawatt project off the coast of Germany.