BP has the largest operated renewable energy business of any major international oil and gas company. In the United States, its renewable assets include 14 onshore wind farms located everywhere from the Hawaiian island of Maui to the hills of northeast Pennsylvania.
The company’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.
BP 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 southcentral Kansas, which can generate enough electricity to power twice the number of homes in the state capital of Topeka.
Wind power accounts for more than half of all renewable power in the world today, and it is helping propel the transition to a lower-carbon future. In 2016, a net wind portfolio the size of BP’s helped avoid nearly 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. To put that number in perspective, it is equivalent to:
- the annual energy-related emissions of around 326,000 typical homes;
- the emissions produced by burning roughly 3.3 billion pounds of coal;
- the emissions produced by consuming more than 347 million gallons of gasoline.
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 are always focused on safety and sustainability in everything we do at our wind farms,” says BP Wind Energy CEO Laura 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.