BP Acquires Full Control of Lightsource BP

by Warren Seah

BP, the British oil major, has recently announced a significant milestone by striking a £254 million deal to acquire the remaining 50.3% stake in Lightsource BP, which is now Europe’s largest solar developer.

Building a Strong Partnership

Having initially invested $200 million and obtained a 43% stake in the U.K. renewables startup back in 2017, BP further fortified its partnership by increasing its stake in the company. This full acquisition will enable BP to take complete control of Lightsource BP, purchasing all remaining shares from the company’s founders, management, and staff.

A Remarkable Journey

Founded by Nick Boyle, the current CEO, in Truro, Cornwall, Lightsource BP has rapidly established itself as a significant player in the solar industry. Since its establishment in 2010, the company has undergone remarkable expansion, developing an impressive 8.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity across 19 countries.

A Vision for the Future

BP has reaffirmed its commitment to scaling Lightsource’s business as it strives to develop an impressive 25 GW of solar capacity in the U.K. by 2025. With 61 GW of solar development projects already in its pipeline, Lightsource is well-positioned to contribute to this ambitious goal. At present, the company employs 1,200 staff members dedicated to advancing solar energy solutions.

Market Response

Following the announcement, shares in BP experienced a 3% increase on Thursday. This positive development comes after a period where the company had witnessed a 2% decline in its stock value over the previous 12 months.

A New Chapter for BP

Notably, this acquisition stands as BP’s first major deal since the abrupt departure of former CEO Bernard Looney in September. Looney’s exit occurred after he openly admitted to failing to disclose relationships with colleagues. While the search for a permanent CEO is underway, Murray Auchinloss has taken on the role of BP’s interim boss, overseeing operations during this transitional period.

As BP takes full control of Lightsource BP, it sets the stage for an exciting future where these two industry leaders can collectively shape the renewable energy landscape and accelerate the transition to cleaner, sustainable power sources.

BP’s Leadership Shakeup Raises Questions About Clean Energy Transformation

Speculation is swirling as BP undergoes a major leadership shakeup, leading many to question whether the new leadership will reverse the company’s recent push to become a dominant player in clean energy. The increasing prices of oil and gas have dimmed the allure of renewable energy investments, potentially creating a shift in priorities.

Under the direction of CEO Bernard Looney, who assumed his position in February 2020, BP made a bold commitment in August 2020 to slash its oil and gas production by 40% by 2030. However, in February 2023, the UK oil giant revised this target, now aiming for a 25% reduction in fossil fuel production by 2030.

BP has emphasized that it remains committed to achieving double-digit equity returns from Lightsource, a renewable energy company it partnered with, while also utilizing the company’s expertise to meet its own demand for low-carbon power. The company seeks to reduce its operational emissions by 50% by 2030.

Additionally, BP plans to leverage Lightsource’s capabilities to support its ventures in hydrogen, electric vehicle (EV) charging, power-trading, and biofuels. This aligns with BP’s long-term goal of transitioning into a net-zero company by 2050.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, BP’s Executive Vice President for Gas and Low-Carbon Energy, expressed optimism about the ongoing partnership with Lightsource. Dotzenrath stated, “This is a natural evolution of the partnership we have built over the past six years – now we will be able to take Lightsource bp to the next level of profitable growth and performance.” She further emphasized the intention to scale this successful business while utilizing its capabilities to meet BP’s increasing demand for low-carbon power.

Despite uncertainties surrounding BP’s future direction, the company remains focused on its sustainability goals and aims to strike a balance between profitability and environmental responsibility.

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