Lightsource BP secured the planning go-ahead to create its biggest solar complex globally to date at 600 megawatts, in another step to meeting the oil supermajor’s ambitious renewable energy targets.

The developer — 50%-owned by UK supermajor BP — received approval for its 400MW Wellington North PV project in New South Wales, Australia.

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When combined with the 200MW Wellington project that is already under construction the total complex would be the largest globally to be built yet by Lightsource BP, the company confirmed to Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge.

Lightsource BP is one of the two key planks of BP’s renewable energy strategy, which at a net 50 gigawatts by 2030 is among the most ambitious of any major oil and gas players.

BP chief executive Bernard Looney has previously hailed the joint venture’s ability to rapidly deliver projects capable of the level of returns the oil and gas giant is seeking as it shifts into green power.

The other plank is offshore wind, where BP has already taken up major positions in the UK and US.

BP already has a net renewables pipeline of almost 14GW, Looney said while presenting first-quarter results in late April.

Australia a hot spot

Australia has emerged as host for some of the world’s largest wind and solar projects, partly thanks to its excellent resources and land availability for huge developments.

Lightsource BP said the Wellington hub could end up being New South Wales’ largest renewable energy complex with output sufficient to power 170,000 homes, and help the state meet a 60% share target for green power by 2030.

The Wellington North element alone will use more than a million bifacial modules.

Frederic Baudry, president for BP Australia, said: "This exciting development is further affirmation of BP’s strategy of growing our low carbon businesses and transitioning from an International oil company to an integrated energy company."

(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge on 13 May, 2021.)