Italian energy giant Eni and Angolan state oil company Sonangol are looking to build a 50MW PV plant in the south of the West African nation to kick-start a new renewables joint venture company, called Solenova, just formed by the pair.

The solar project, to be built in a region of the country where diesel thermal plants still dominate electricity production, would be part of a wider clean-energy portfolio that Eni hopes to grow to 1.6GW by 2022 and 5GW by 2025, backed by €1.4bn in investment in the next three years.

“This initiative, and the others under evaluation, are in line with the Angolan global strategy for the electricity sector of promoting renewable energy with the aim to reduce the diesel consumption, lowering operating costs and polluting CO2 emissions [by adding 800MW of installed renewable capacity by 2025, with a focus on utility-scale solar],” Eni said in a statement.

Historically oil and gas-focused, the Italian group in 2016 signed a global co-operation pact with GE to jointly develop large-scale renewables, spanning onshore and offshore wind and solar, and last year it invested in projects including a wind farm in Kazakhstan and a solar plant in the south of his home country.

Eni is also exploring using renewables to power a marginal oil and gas field in the Adriatic Sea and is part of a joint industry project called Win-Win exploring using floating wind turbines to run reservoir pumps on offshore fields.

The global oil & gas sector is slowly coming round to transitioningto renewables but so far is channeling just 1.3% of total capital expenditure into developing low carbon areas of its business, with European majors leading what progress there is, according to a recent study by climate investment research specialist CDP .