Incoming BP renewables and low-carbon chief Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath said it was “an easy decision” to join the oil & gas supermajor, which she claimed offers a unique opportunity to help shape the energy transition.

Dotzenrath will in March 2022 start work as BP’s executive vice president (EVP), gas & low carbon energy after last month leaving RWE Renewables, where she was CEO of one of the world's largest green power businesses.

“BP’s strategy is transformational – an integrated energy company from what was an oil company,” Dotzenrath told Recharge in an exclusive interview.

“I was absolutely intrigued by the vison and the strategy [CEO] Bernard [Looney] and the leadership team of BP put forward last year, and the massive ambition to grow the low carbon business.

“It’s a fascinating role and it’s the right company for me – global reach, the possibilities for funding, a great team.

“It was an easy decision for me to join BP,” said Dotzenrath, who was approached by the supermajor over the job and was hailed by Looney as bringing a crucial delivery track-record to its ambitions.

When she replaces her predecessor Dev Sanyal – who is leaving BP for a new job elsewhere – Dotzenrath’s remit, among other areas, will include achieving targets to develop 20GW net of renewable assets by 2025 and 50GW by 2030, among the most stretching green power goals globally.

The incoming EVP claimed BP is in many respects “in a much stronger position than some of the pure-play renewables companies” to deliver on a massive scale in the energy transition.

“BP has fantastic strengths. If you look at its global footprint… this is a core strength. It comes down to accessing big infrastructure projects. You need to have the trust of governments, you need to have access to the right partners to bring these massive multi-billion projects to life.”

Dotzenrath said: “If you look at the track record in the last couple of months, still under Dev’s leadership, the company made huge progress in building a pipeline of offshore wind, solar – this is the proof of the concept, and more to come.”

Integrated vision

BP’s early inroads into offshore wind include its success in conjunction with EnBW in securing up to 3GW of Irish Sea seabed rights for future development in the UK Crown Estate’s most recent round of leasing auctions in February.

While BP was delighted to secure the sites, Looney has faced claims from some analysts that the group paid too much for the rights – criticism he has robustly faced down.

With Dotzenrath at that stage still at RWE – which separately enjoyed its own success in Round 4 – is she comfortable with the leasing deal she has inherited?

“I’m super-comfortable [with the Irish Sea leases]… I’m absolutely delighted we have this strong capability in the UK,” she said, adding that the wind farms themselves were just one element of a far wider integrated value chain.

“There is additional value BP can create with integrated energy solutions. We need hydrogen, we need biofuels, we need gas for a very long time.

“[And] If you want to scale in renewables, if you don’t have a leading-edge global trading capability you will run into problems.”

Dotzenrath told Recharge that BP’s transition in some respects mirrors the coal-to-green processes underway at giant utilities she has worked for. “E.ON went through a huge transformation process, then RWE – I’m very happy to bring that experience to BP.”

“I love the vision – it’s super-credible, super-ambitious.”

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