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‘Right person, right time’: bp hires ex-RWE Renewables boss Dotzenrath as green energy chief

Release date:
14 September 2021
High-profile former power utility executive appointed after departure of current gas & low carbon energy head Dev Sanyal

bp has named former RWE Renewables CEO Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath as the new head of its fast-growing renewables and low carbon energy unit, putting one of the biggest names in the green power industry at the forefront of the oil & gas supermajor’s energy transition plans.


Dotzenrath – who left the German utility giant at the end of August – replaces Dev Sanyal as executive vice president, gas & low carbon energy, with the latter leaving bp for a new role elsewhere.


After joining bp in March 2022, Dotzenrath, 54, will lead a renewable and low-carbon push that is arguably the most ambitious of any global oil & gas giant, with headline targets to develop 20GW net of renewable assets by 2025 and 50GW by 2030.


Dotzenrath is among the highest-profile executives in the renewable power sector after steering RWE Renewables through the integration of the former E.ON and Innogy green energy businesses that resulted from a mega-merger between their German utility parent groups. She had previously been CEO for E.ON Climate & Renewables.


By the time she left last month, RWE Renewables was among the largest green power players in the world and among a clutch of leaders in offshore wind, one of the key growth areas for bp under its own renewables plans.


bp CEO Bernard Looney said: “I am delighted that Anja has chosen to join us and help lead bp’s transformation from international oil company to integrated energy company. She is exactly the right person for bp, at exactly the right time – a globally respected and deeply experienced leader in renewable energy with a proven track record of transforming and growing businesses.


“I have been hugely impressed by the quality of her strategic thinking and her deep operational expertise. But as impressive as this is, I am even more impressed with how she has done it – leading teams with the right values and a strong sense of purpose.”


Transition pacesetter

bp has since early 2020 – when Looney announced plans to turn the UK-based supermajor into a net-zero emissions company by 2050 – been a pacesetter among oil & gas giants diversifying into renewables along with fellow European groups such as Total, Shell and Equinor.


By the end of the second quarter of this year Looney said a 24.9GW renewables pipeline was already in place, 3.7GW of that in projects that have taken a final investment decision.


bp’s renewables growth has been dominated by solar – mostly through its Lightsource bp joint venture – and offshore wind, where the group has within a year come from a standing start to become a major player, first by buying a half share of Equinor’s projects off New York and then by securing new acreage in the UK Irish Sea. bp has also stated its ambitions in floating wind auctions off Scotland and Norway.


Looney has on several occasions robustly defended bp’s strategy against claims by some analysts that it overpaid for the Irish Sea acreage, pointing to a strict returns threshold and saying offshore wind is just one part of a new value chain for integrated energy companies that will also include green hydrogen.


Sanyal, a bp veteran over three decades, is leaving for an unspecified job elsewhere.


He has since late last decade been at the core of the group’s latest push into renewables – an earlier foray had fizzled out several years earlier – and formed the joint venture with Lightsource that marked its start in 2017.


Looney said: “I have worked with Dev for decades and have seen first-hand the incredible contributions he has made to bp, most recently creating our gas & low carbon energy business and building first-class positions in solar, biofuels and offshore wind. He has always been a tireless champion and ambassador for bp around the world.”

Article by Andrew Lee, courtesy of Recharge. (Copyright)

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