Energy move

BP planning for subsidy-free offshore wind farms

BP wind
BP has ambitious offshore plans

Energy giant BP is looking to build two huge subsidy-free wind farms in British waters in a move that would enhance its credentials with the green lobby and taxpayers.

Work could begin on the Morgan and Mona projects in the Irish Sea as soon as next year without contracts from the UK government to guarantee their revenues.

The wind farms together would boast up to 214 turbines about 20 miles off the coasts of north Wales and northwest England and could power 3.4 million homes.

Industry experts believe chief executive Bernard Looney’s timescale may be ambitious, given that the company has yet to apply for planning consent, which can take several years to secure.

However, he is keen to shift opinion towards the oil and gas majors who are struggling to convince the public and policymakers that they are focusing on renewable sources of energy.

Large scale wind farms in UK waters have been supported by subsidies, often by “contracts for difference” which guarantee that consumers pay a fixed price for electricity generated, topping up market prices with subsidies when required and offering revenue certainty to developers.

The BP boss told The Times: “We may not enter any [contracts for difference] auction actually, because our strategy is to use the electrons [electricity] for our own use where we can. There’s a lot of green electricity demand for us in the UK.”

BP planned to invest £1 billion in electric vehicle charging in Britain and to build green hydrogen plants on Teesside, he said.

He says the big issue has been the grid connection which he believed the company is “very close” to securing.

“I think the teams have made really, really good progress, which is what is giving us more confidence around maybe having a shorter lease period in terms of lease payments,” he said.

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