BP plans wind pipeline disposal

UK oil and gas group BP confirmed it still plans to sell its entire US wind development portfolio comprising 18 projects – but will retain its operating assets.

The plan is the latest evolution of the disposal strategy that BP has pursued since it first announced in April its intention to sell its wind operations.

BP Alternative Energy spokesman Matt Hartwig tells Recharge that BP hopes by the end of the year to tie up a single deal or multiple transactions with buyers that will continue to develop the projects.

Hartwig says the 18 projects represent approximately 3GW of potential wind capacity in various stages of development across the US.

One of the highest profile, the planned 124-turbine Cape Vincent wind farm in Jefferson County, New York was expected to need a $300m investment by BP.

But Hartwig added: “We are keeping and will continue to operate the 16 operational wind farms located in nine US states that have a combined generating capacity of approximately 2.6GW.”

When the sale was announced, analysts pointed to the highly attractive nature of much of BP’s wind fleet, but also highlighted several risk factors that potential buyers would have to weigh up before making an offer.

These included a significant presence of Clipper Windpower’s 2.5MW turbine in the BP fleet. The company was the biggest customer of Clipper, which experienced a troubled technical track record and is now in the hands of a US private equity group.

In July BP said it had reversed its plans after failing to secure a bid that met its valuation for the assets.  It said that despite receiving a number of bids, it had determined that now was not the right time to sell the entire wind business.

BP has already withdrawn from the solar market, and has said the attempt to divest the whole wind operation was “part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company”.