Cohocton Wind Watch: BP to focus on U.S. wind farms
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

BP to focus on U.S. wind farms

BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, will end its planned wind power projects in India, China and Turkey to focus on onshore generation in the U.S.

BP plans to have 1 gigawatt of wind power generating capacity in the U.S. by the end of the year, which will rise to 3 gigawatts ``in the next couple of years,'' said the company spokesman Robert Wine. Together with Clipper Windpower Plc, it plans to invest as much as $15 billion to build the world's biggest wind farm in the U.S.

``We will be retrenching those projects and all the money now will be going to the huge U.S. onshore development,'' Wine, said by phone today. ``This is a serious scale investment, that's going to be the only focus in the future.''

BP is following the same strategy as its European larger rival, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, by focusing on U.S. wind projects. Shell in May sold its 33 percent stake in the London Array project, a 1,000-megawatt wind park off the English coast, citing rising costs. The U.S. offers access to land such as the Texan plains, where developers can build plants with less objections from local communities than in Europe.

In February, BP said it planned to invest about $1.5 billion in alternative-energy projects this year, accelerating a 10-year business development program.

Earlier this year, BP valued its alternative-energy business at $5 billion to $7 billion. In 2005, it agreed to spend $8 billion by 2015 to expand production of solar, wind and biofuel energy.

Joint Venture

BP and Clipper agreed in July to form a joint venture to construct the 5,050-megawatt Titan wind park on 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) in South Dakota. The park starts near Harrold and ends 83 kilometers (53 miles) east near Wessington. The project will take about 10 years to complete, according to Fred Mitro, a manager at BP Alternative Energy.

BP has ended its partnership with China's Goldwind Science & Technology Co, which aimed to build a wind power project in China's northern province of Inner Mongolia. On Nov. 4, the U.K. company notified Goldwin's unit about the changes to BP's strategies in wind power development, the Chinese company said today in a statement posted on its Web site.

In January, BP signed an agreement to purchase a 49 percent stake in Goldwind's unit, Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Co., to jointly build the wind farm. The two companies had agreed to transfer the stake after the planned completion of the project in February next year.

New Investors

Goldwind is seeking new investors in the project now, it said today.

In December, BP said it planned to expand wind power projects in India, the world's fourth-largest wind power producer after Germany, the U.S. and Spain.

BP and Suzlon Energy Ltd., India's biggest maker of wind- turbine generators, last November started operations at a 40- megawatt farm in Dhule, northern Maharashtra. BP was examining plans to install more turbines in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

BP and Electricite de France SA, Europe's biggest power supplier, had previously planned to buy stakes in Turkish companies that won government licenses to set up wind farms, Hurriyet reported July 29, citing no one. BP was interested in acquiring stakes in seven projects with a capacity of 246 megawatts, the newspaper reported.

``We are working on with the various partnerships that we've formed around the world how best to exit from those'' projects, Wine said. ``Anything that was built will remain.''

BP will keep its 22.5 megawatt wind farm at the Rotterdam refinery and a 9-megawatt unit at its terminal in the port of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, he said.

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