‘Energy transition toolkit’: BP solar venture eyes major green hydrogen role in Portugal

Lightsource BP – the solar developer 50% owned by the oil supermajor – plans to build up to 200MW of PV in Portugal to power green hydrogen production in a joint venture with local gas utility Dourogás.

The partners plan to deploy 130MW of electrolysers across up to eight sites, with hydrogen produced under the partnership injected directly into the Portuguese gas grid.

Portugal becomes the latest market targeted for renewable hydrogen by Lightsource BP, which already has green H2 interests in the UK and Australia. The developer entered the Portuguese solar market earlier this year under a separate joint venture.

Miguel Lobo, country head for Lightsource BP in Portugal, said: “Solar is scalable, quick to deploy and today, cheaper than any other form of electricity. We’ve always believed in solar as a vital tool in decarbonisation. When used to generate green hydrogen, it becomes an entire energy transition toolkit.”

Portugal earlier in 2021 set out a hydrogen strategy that aims to see its gas grid injected with up to 15% H2 by the end of the decade and deployment of 2GW of electrolysers. The first project under the joint venture will be backed by a €5m ($5.7m) EU grant.

The Lightsource BP-Dourogás alliance is the second major green H2 initiative unveiled in Portugal this week, following news of a multi-company project to test large-scale production led by local renewables giant EDPR.

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Growing ambition

Lightsource BP in September announced a more than doubling in growth ambitions backed by a $1.8bn finance package.

The London-based company wants to develop 25GW of projects by 2025, upping a previous goal of 10GW by 2023 and building on a PV expansion spree over the last 18 months that has already seen it make rapid inroads in Europe and the US.

The growth of Lightsource BP’s pipeline and its ability to drive projects through with targeted returns has earned it the label of “execution machine” from BP group CEO Bernard Looney, who regularly cites its success as the model for the supermajor’s wider foray into sectors such as offshore wind.

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