Lightsource bp has formed a joint venture with Portuguese gas utility Dourogás to invest in solar and hydrogen infrastructure in Portugal.
Under the terms of the deal, the two energy firms will explore the potential to produce green hydrogen at eight sites, with up to 200MWp of solar projects earmarked to power 130MW of electrolysers.
Lightsource bp is to lead on the solar element of the projects, while Dourogás will develop the electrolysers. Green hydrogen produced at the sites will be injected directly into Portugal’s gas grid.
The first project under the partnership, to be developed at Monforte, a principality near Portugal’s border with Spanish solar hotspot Badajoz, is to receive a €5 million (US$5.6 million) grant from the European Union’s Portugal 2020 fund which will support its early-stage development.
The duo said the partnership could support more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs at its peak.
Miguel Lobo, country head for Lightsource bp in Portugal, said that when used to generate green hydrogen, solar became an “entire energy transition toolkit”, lauding the technology’s ability to “immediately cut the footprint of industries, heavy transport and heat in ways electricity alone cannot”.
“This partnership is a beacon of the possible. It shows what the energy sector can do not in 2050, or 2030 but right now,” Lobo said.
The creation of the joint venture also follows Lightsource bp’s investment of €900 million (US$1.1 billion) in Portuguese developer INSUN in May of this year. At the time, Lobo said Lightsource bp was closely monitoring future opportunities to invest in technologies such as green hydrogen.
Interest in generating green hydrogen through solar-powered electrolysers has grown over the course of 2021 and stands to be of keen interest heading into 2022 and beyond. While a significant number of prospective projects have emerged in Australia, a number of which have been fast tracked by Australia’s regional governments, European renewables companies such as Acciona Energia, Octopus and Ørsted have all committed to European projects this year.