BP is one of the largest operators of renewable energy businesses among its peers, with more than a dozen onshore wind farms in the United States.
In 2017, a net wind portfolio the size of BP’s helped avoid around 2.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
To put that number in perspective, it is roughly equivalent to:
- the annual energy-related emissions of 248,000 typical homes;
- the emissions produced by burning 2.5 billion pounds of coal;
- the emissions produced by consuming 258 million gallons of gasoline.
In 2018, BP partnered with Tesla to install a high-storage battery at its Titan 1 wind farm in South Dakota. This project is the first of its kind in BP’s U.S.-operated wind business and a potential step forward in the performance and reliability of wind energy.
BP will integrate the battery with its Titan 1 facility and configure it to help manage internal electricity demands when the wind isn’t blowing. This will enable the site to store electricity and make it available whenever needed.
“The battery pilot project at our Titan 1 wind farm will provide BP Wind Energy with valuable insights as we seek opportunities to use energy storage more effectively across our diverse portfolio,” says BP Wind Energy CEO Laura Folse. “It’s another way that we’re working to create a wind energy business that is sustainable for the long term and supports the global transition to a low-carbon future.”
BP’s U.S. wind farms have a gross generating capacity of 2,259 megawatts. That’s enough electricity to power all the homes in a city the size of Philadelphia, and it makes BP one of America’s top wind energy producers.
The company directly operates 13 wind farms — in Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas — while holding an interest in a separate wind facility in Hawaii.
Its largest wind facility is the Flat Ridge 2 farm in south- central Kansas, which can generate enough electricity to power twice the number of homes in the state capital of Topeka.
Every BP-operated wind farm receives round-the-clock support from on-site personnel and/or from BP’s Remote Operating Center (ROC) in Houston. During normal business hours, operators at individual wind farms manage their sites. During off-hours, weekends and holidays, operators at the ROC take control.
Using advanced technology, ROC teams centrally monitor all BP sites — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — while working with colleagues in the field to enhance performance, reliability and safety.
ROC monitoring systems capture turbine availability, power generation capacity, wind speed, weather and other critical factors. An embedded alarm system immediately notifies operators of potential problems, such as approaching storms or flash flood warnings.
BP works hard to prevent its wind operations from affecting the wildlife and habitats that surround its facilities. For example, it voluntarily adjusts the movement of wind turbines to reduce their impact on bat populations during peak migration seasons.
“We’re always focused on safety and sustainability in everything we do at our wind farms,” says Folse. “Our staffers at the ROC provide an extra set of eyes and help our people in the field work safely and responsibly.
“Additionally, we continue to optimize our business by seeking out technological advancements and finding ways to deliver power more efficiently.”
The Benefits of Wind Power
Wind power is safe, clean and increasingly affordable – with the potential for production on a much larger scale.
As a low-carbon energy source, the use of wind reduces the amount of carbon produced to meet the world’s energy needs. We estimate that BP Wind Energy’s wind energy generation in 2015 alone offset nearly 3 million tons of CO2 in 2015, which is equivalent to the annual emissions from approximately 246,000 typical homes, according to the BP 2015 Sustainability Report.
As wind turbine technology has continued to evolve and improve, wind farms using new generation technology can produce more energy at an ever-decreasing cost – a cost that is becoming increasingly competitive in the overall energy marketplace.
At BP Wind Energy, we are committed to playing a central role in mapping the future of this important and exciting segment of the energy sector.