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BP makes U-turn on $1.5bn sale of wind farms



BP has decided against selling its US wind farm assets, despite announcing such a move back in April under former chief Lord Browne.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the oil firm said, “Despite receiving a number of bids, the company has determined that now is not the right time to sell the business.” The FT suggested that BP’s reason for not selling might be related to its declining value.

BP was once at the forefront of the fossil fuel industry in embracing investment into renewable energy, but ended its involvement in solar power in 2011. However on its website, it states, “Wind power is clean, safe and increasingly affordable. Supported by government policies, it has grown rapidly in many countries and is now growing at a rate of 30% a year globally.”

BP Wind Energy owns 16 wind farms over nine US states, with other two under construction. The generating capacity of these developments is around 2,600 megawatts (MW) – or “enough to provide electricity for a city the size of Washington DC”.

The firm also has a strong focus on biofuels, with around a 10% share of the market worldwide. In July, the company opened the UK’s largest biofuels refinery in Hull – the £350m Vivergo bioethanol plant.

Some argued that the sale of the wind farms might have meant a change of strategy in BP’s commitment to renewable energy, considering its abandonment of solar projects. However, the company has denied this, saying that the move was simply part of its portfolio management.

BP is currently struggling to repay damages to the victims of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which occurred in 2010. It has described the compensation process as ‘unfair’, claiming that many do not deserve the money.

Further reading:

New major biofuels plant opens ahead of crucial EU vote

BP contests Deepwater Horizon payback scheme amid fears it could run out of money

BP calls on prime minister for help on spiralling Deepwater Horizon fees

Big oil companies under investigation for price rigging

Gulf Coast residents target BP shareholders over impact of 2010 disaster