Solar energy venture not so sunny for BP

Europe’s second-largest oil company, BP Plc. has plans to abandon a task receiving Australian government funding to build a solar power plant in New South Wales.

“We’ve indicated that we wish to leave the consortium and that we won’t be part of the new bid process,” Jamie Jardine, a Melbourne-based spokesman for BP, said by mobile phone today.

BP, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Pacific Hydro Pty, which received A$306.5 million last year to build the Moree solar farm, missed a December financing deadline. This prompted the government to reopen the competition to other companies, including AGL Energy Ltd.

Mike Petrucci, CEO of BP’s solar unit, told staff about the company’s decision to leave the global solar business due to it becoming profitable after 40 years. The increase in production by Chinese competitors has seen the industry face price pressures and oversupply.

BP and its partners in the proposed A$923 million solar photovoltaic plant had failed to sign power-supply agreements needed to advance with the project. The company said it was sticking with the Australian project, even after deciding to exit the business globally.

“In the past two weeks, we’ve worked with the consortium to refine and develop the proposal, and we believe the new consortium will be an effective one,” Jardine said today.

The Moree venture will be eligible to bid for the funds and have a chance to show it is “still the most meritorious project,” Australia’s Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said earlier this month. The government also invited TRUenergy Holdings Pty Ltd. and Suntech Power Holdings Co. to update their applications seeking solar grants.

According to Ferguson, the government expects to make a decision in the second quarter.

By Australian Solar Quotes

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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