Oil major bp begins construction at 187MWdc Peacock Solar project in Texas

The Briar Creek solar project is bp’s 153MW facility in Texas. Image: Lightsource BP.

British oil and gas major bp has started construction at its 187MWdc Peacock Solar project in southern Texas, US, and expects the project to begin commercial operations in the second half of next year.

The company has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, a joint venture operated by US oil major ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabian chemicals firm SABIC, to acquire electricity generated at the project over the “long-term”. None of the companies specified how much power would be bought as part of the deal, nor for how long the deal would remain in place.

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“Securing this agreement and kicking off construction of Peacock helps support the transition to lower carbon energy, while benefiting local communities and the economy,” said Dave Lawler, bp America chairman and president.

The project is itself a joint venture operated by bp and its subsidiary, solar developer Lightsource bp, and forms part of bp’s long-term renewable power programme. The company aims to invest in and build 50GW of renewable power capacity by 2030, and has said that it is on track to meet this target, having grown its renewables portfolio to 24.5GW of projects at various stages of development by 2022.

Projects such as these are important steps in decarbonising the world’s energy mix, but more significant action is required from oil and gas majors in particular to change their carbon emissions.

Figures from Reuters suggest that, in 2022, bp emitted 338.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e), a relatively unchanged figure from the 339.6mtCO2e the company produced in 2021, raising questions as to the efficacy of the group’s work to cut its emissions.

The news is the latest development in the busy Texas solar sector, which has already seen Scout Clean Energy sign a PPA for its Markum project in the state, and Southern Power acquire a 200MW facility in Haskell County, this month.

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