BP today announced the acquisition of a 43-percent interest in solar power company Lighthouse for US$200 million, following in the footsteps of peers Shell and Total, which have been very active in the renewables sector recently.
Lighthouse is the largest utility-scale solar power development company in Europe, and BP’s investment will be used to fund its international expansion. Forecasts are that solar power will generate a third of global renewable power by 2035 and a tenth of total power by that year, so it certainly makes sense for BP to get on the solar train and add solar to its investments in wind power, biofuels, and biopower.
Lighthouse, in the seven years of its existence, has commissioned 1.3GW of solar projects and manages 2GW of such projects through long-term contracts. After the acquisition by BP, the solar project developer will be better placed to respond to growing global demand for utility-scale projects, according to the two companies.
There have been a lot of renewables news from the Big Oil camp recently. Shell acquired Europe’s biggest electric vehicle charging network and announced it will raise its annual investment in clean energy from US$1 billion to up to US$2 billion until 2020.
Related: ‘Perfect Storm’ Wreaks Havoc On Europe’s Energy Market
Total in September announced two acquisitions, one of a solar and wind power company, EREN RE, and the other of an energy efficiency solutions providers. The company is also working on artificial intelligence to use in exploration and production.
Even Exxon, the company notorious for its refusal to acknowledge climate change and the role the energy industry has played in it, recently succumbed to shareholder pressure, and after last year acknowledging the existence of climate change, now said it will start reporting on the risks climate change policies would have on its business. Meanwhile, it is working on biofuels, which probably makes the most sense as a starter renewables pack for an oil company.