Lightsource BP Global Director Says ‘Next Asia’ As Oil Giant Opens Global Solar Doors
After adding markets 13 and 14 in Portugal and Greece, Asia is now firmly on Lightsource BP’s radar in rapid expansion aided by the ability of its supermajor oil and gas co-owner to open doors across the country. planet, a senior leader of the solar group said Reload.
“They are in all countries. We have done projects in difficult countries and they are not worried about that, ”said Kareen Boutonnat, CEO of Lightsource BP for Europe and International, of BP, which owns 50% of the photovoltaic developer’s shares. after buying a stake at the end of 2017.
“They help us go to countries that we would never have tried on our own, it would have been too risky.
“This opens up many new markets in which BP has a significant presence, is well established and [has] good political relations.
And at a time when some oil and gas groups are renaming themselves entirely to distance themselves from their fossil heritage, Boutonnat added: “The fact that we are called Lightsource BP [means] we are entering any new country and people know who we are. This brand has helped us a lot. “
Lightsource BP executive spoke out after developer entered two new European markets within days and increased its total pipeline to 20 GW.
Boutonnat said Portugal was a natural extension of its existing anchorage in Spain. The company will co-develop five large-scale, early-stage projects with a local partner with a view to bringing them online between 2023 and 2026. Lightsource BP plans to sell electricity to some of the business and utility customers. who already buy from its Spanish Projects.
Greece was until recently a less obvious market. “Not all the ingredients were there,” Boutonnat said. “But you now have a spot market, the ability to sell electricity outside of government auctions. It’s really important to us, [to have] multiple routes to market, ”she said, adding that Lightsource BP is targeting a mix of around 70% contracted to 30% merchants in its European projects.
Portugal and Greece have two of the main ingredients that Lightsource BP is looking for: good solar irradiation and a government with declared clean energy ambitions.
The expansion of the joint venture quickly allowed it to establish a major presence in Europe and the United States, but its pipeline in Asia has so far been smaller. That will change soon, Boutonnat said.
“There are many exciting opportunities in Asia Pacific. We are very interested in Taiwan and have a field team in a number of Southeast Asian countries to take a closer look.
“Over time, we can see having an EMEA region and an Asia-Pacific and Americas region. We need to build this third leg of the stool. “
Lightsource BP’s Asian adventure could include opportunities to co-locate solar power with other industries, especially aquaculture, Boutonnat said.
She was more cautious about floating solar – a sector where the developer was one of the early pioneers in Europe, and which is expected to expand rapidly in Southeast Asia. While admitting that floating technology has come a long way in recent years, Boutonnat said, “The problem with floating is that it is more expensive than standard ground solar.
“You also have all the health and safety issues associated with the coupling of water and electricity.”
The benefits of having BP as a co-owner go beyond its name’s ability to open doors, according to Boutonnat.
Know-how in energy trading
The JV and the oil giant are working together on a number of opportunities in green hydrogen, which is “clearly the next big opportunity” for renewable energy, and where it expects to see solar / H2 competitive projects within about five years, depending on market and application.
BP also has tremendous energy trading and marketing capacity which has proven to be “super-important – real added value that they bring to the markets” in terms of the sale of the energy produced by the projects. Lightsource BP.
The admiration between BP and its solar JV is mutual. BP CEO Bernard Looney praised Lightsource BP’s ability to deliver solid returns in the 8-10% range the supermajor is targeting for greater stability of renewable energy projects that will cover wind, PV and bioenergy – and a net goal of 50 GW 2030 which is among the most ambitious of all fossils. group.
Boutonnat said future project returns should be bolstered by rewards for “first-mover risk” because, with the help of its co-owner, Lightsource BP is opening up new markets for solar power.