While some observers might claim we’re on the cusp of a clean energy transition, the reality is a widespread shift to renewables began years ago. The U.S. already has enough clean energy capacity to power 50 million homes, and over 300,000 Americans already have direct clean energy jobs. Economics are one of the biggest drivers. Because wind and solar costs have fallen by 90 and 70 percent, respectively, over the last decade, they’re now the most affordable sources of new electricity in much of the country.
Nor are wind and solar niche technologies—many of the world’s biggest names in energy are rapidly adding renewables to their portfolios. The latest news comes from bp, which just announced a deal to acquire 9 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects currently under development. The move comes as the company works to meet its target of developing 20 GW of net renewable generating capacity by 2025 and 50 GW by 2030. bp now has 23 GW of renewables projects under development. The new projects span 12 states, will create thousands of well-paying jobs, and will be developed by Lightsource bp.
As noted, these projects are not only emission free, they also make financial sense, as they satisfy criteria for generating returns of at least 8 to 10 percent on low-carbon investments.
“With this purchase, we are continuing to put our strategy in action as we grow our renewables business in a deliberate and disciplined way,” said Dev Sanyal, bp executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy. “It brings us 9GW of high-quality solar projects in markets where we can create integrated renewable energy offers through our trading and customer franchises.”
The U.S. is well on its way to a majority renewable future, as businesses of all types, from independent power producers to utilities to legacy oil and has companies, build the wind and solar projects powering tomorrow.