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BP and Lightsource joint venture poised to be largest solar player in Australia

Solar panels.

Lightsource bp, a 50:50 joint venture between Lightsource and oil and gas major BP, is set to become the largest solar developer and owner in Australia, as it aims to reach financial close on its Wellington North and Wunghnu Solar Farms later this year.

Lightsource bp has started construction on Wellington North and Wunghnu through early work arrangements with engineering, procurement, and construction contractor Gransolar, and recently entered into power purchase agreements with companies ENGIE, Orica and Mars Australia, the company said today. The joint venture has five projects in operation and under construction across New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, totalling over 1GWp of generating capacity, which would be the equivalent to powering over 350,000 homes a year.

Lightsource bp claimed it will become the largest solar developer and owner in Australia calculated based on the total megawatts (MW) of solar generation capacity to have reached construction in Australia as of August 2022, based on data from consultancy Rystad Energy.

Aerial view of solar farm in Australia.
Wellington North solar farm in Australia

Its West Wyalong and Woolooga Solar Farms are in advanced stages of construction and are due to be completed by the end of 2022, and its Wellington North and Wunghnu Solar Farms have begun early stages of construction and are due to be completed in 2024. Its 200MWp Wellington Solar Farm is now operational and is exporting power to the grid.

“Australia needs more clean, low-cost energy in the power system to drive down costs for consumers, meet rising demand, combat climate change, and improve energy independence. The outlook for solar in Australia and the region is incredibly strong, with increasing political support, greater investor certainty, and capital looking to participate in the sector,” said Adam Pegg, Managing Director, Lightsource bp Australia and New Zealand.

“In addition to our solar ambitions, we are actively exploring other investment opportunities in the sector, and believe the hybridisation of renewables to complement solar – including battery storage, co-location of wind and integration with green hydrogen production – will be increasingly important to the future energy mix and in driving the energy transition,” said Pegg.

BP to lead giant green hydrogen project in Western Australia

Lightsource bp’s total operational and planned projects in Australia and New Zealand now consist of over 4GWp of generating capacity. “We see the acceleration of renewables happening more rapidly than previously anticipated and expect our operations in Australia to make a significant contribution to meeting Lightsource bp’s global target of 25GW of solar by 2025,” Pegg added.

In June BP (LON:BP) acquired a stake in and announced it will lead one of the world’s largest clean energy projects, which aims to supply green hydrogen from Australia to key markets including South Korea and Japan. The London-based energy giant confirmed it would add a 40.5% interest in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which was previously estimated to cost about $36 billion. The project aims to install 26 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity over a vast 6,500 square kilometer stretch of Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

In August 2021 BP said that Western Australia was an “ideal place” to develop export-scale green hydrogen and ammonia production facilities. bp announced the findings as part of its publicly available feasibility study into the production of hydrogen and ammonia using renewable energy at scale in Australia.

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