Alternative energy

We have been investing in renewables for many years - and our focus today is on biofuels, biopower, wind energy and solar energy

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Renewables are the fastest growing form of energy. They account for around 4% of energy demand today (excluding large-scale hydroelectricity). By 2040 that could grow to at least 14% – an exceptional rate of growth for the energy industry.

As part of our approach to building our alternative energy business, we are looking to grow our existing businesses and to develop further new businesses and partnerships to deliver sustainable value.

Biofuels

We believe that biofuels offer one of the best large-scale solutions to reduce emissions from transportation.

We produce ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil. This ethanol has life cycle greenhouse gas emissions that are 70% lower than conventional transport fuels. In 2017 our three sites produced 776 million litres of ethanol equivalent.

Brazil is one of the largest markets globally for ethanol fuel. To better connect our ethanol production with the country’s main fuels markets, we are partnering with Copersucar, the world’s leading ethanol and sugar trader, to operate a major ethanol storage terminal.

Our largest biofuels mill is certified to Bonsucro, an independent standard for sustainable sugar cane production.

Our strategy is enabled by:

  • Safe and reliable operations – continuing to drive improvements in personal, process and transport safety.
  • Competitive feedstock – concentrating our efforts in Brazil, which has one of the most cost-competitive biofuel sources currently available in the world. 
  • Domestic and international markets – selling bioethanol and sugar domestically in Brazil and also to international markets such as the US and Europe through our integrated supply and trading function.

Advanced biofuels

Butamax®, our 50/50 joint venture with DuPont, has developed technology that converts sugars from corn into an energy rich biofuel known as bio-isobutanol. It can be blended with gasoline at higher concentrations than ethanol and transported through existing fuel pipelines and infrastructure. Butamax® plans to upgrade its recently acquired ethanol plant in Kansas to enable it to produce bio-isobutanol to demonstrate the technology to existing ethanol producers.

Biopower

We create biopower by burning bagasse, the fibre that remains after crushing sugarcane stalks. In 2017 our three biofuels manufacturing facilities produced around 850GWh of electricity – enough renewable energy to power all of these sites and export the remaining 70% to the local electricity grid.

This is a low carbon power source, with the CO2 emitted from burning bagasse offset by the CO2 absorbed by sugarcane during its growth.

Wind energy

We have interests in 14 sites in the US with a net generating capacity of 1,432MW, making BP one of the top wind energy producers in the country. We continue to optimize our business by seeking out technological advancements and finding ways to deliver power more efficiently.

Solar 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.

In January 2018 we formed a strategic partnership with Lightsource to drive growth in solar power development worldwide. The company is now known as Lightsource BP.

Lightsource is a global leader 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.

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.

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