A 10-year renewable energy sales contract struck between Lightsource bp and Snowy Hydro will underpin a new solar farm in NSW and will result in 88 BP petrol stations in the state being powered by the sun.
The long-term power purchase agreement will enable the construction of the 107 megawatt West Wyalong solar farm in the Riverina region, with Snowy Hydro committing to buy the electricity generated by the project for 15 years.
Federal government-owned Snowy will then supply the renewable energy through its Red Energy retail arm to BP for 10 years, meeting the power requirements of all the oil company’s service stations through the state from January 2023.
BP said the deal would save 18,400 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, equivalent to removing 6100 combustion engine cars from the road.
The West Wyalong project has yet to reach financial close, but Lightsource bp said it had secured a contract with an engineering and construction company to build it.
BP’s head in Australia, Frederic Baudry, said the deal fitted with the British-based firm’s goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. The energy company flagged in 2019 its ambitions to grow its solar business and expand into carbon capture and hydrogen in Australia as part of its emissions reduction effort.
International oil majors have for the last few years been increasing their already significant position in Australia’s fast-growing renewable energy sector, with Shell, France’s Total and Italy’s ENI all among owners of wind and solar farms here as they look to reduce the average emissions footprint of their global portfolios.
Lightsource bp, BP’s solar power development venture which is the largest solar developer in Europe, already works with Snowy Hydro on a separate solar farm in Wellington, NSW, and the latest deal leverages off that relationship, said Adam Pegg, country manager for the venture in Australia.
Originally founded as Lightsource Renewable Energy, a private solar developer, BP acquired a 43 per cent stake in late 2017 and later increased its stake to 50 per cent.