BP seeks to set up a retail electric company in the United States: filing

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP has asked to supply U.S. residential customers with electricity generated from wind, solar and natural gas, betting on rapid growth in demand for electricity as economies give up fossil fuels to fight climate change.

FILE PHOTO: Details are seen on a BP (British Petroleum) EV (Electric Vehicle) charging station in London, Britain January 30, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

BP wants to supply power in California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas in its first foray into the retail power sector, according to an April 20 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (FERC) consulted by Reuters.

The UK company does not have an energy retail business, but is one of the largest electricity traders in North America, supplying wholesale customers such as power generators and cities gas, renewable energy and storage.

A new subsidiary called BP Retail Energy will supply the power, taking on utilities that are under increasing pressure from investors and governments to cut carbon emissions.

“BP Energy Retail is a retail energy marketing company that intends to sell electrical products directly to commercial, industrial and residential customers,” the filing said.

BP declined to comment.

The dossier lists the sources of electricity generation with which BP Retail Energy is affiliated. These were BP’s US onshore wind farms, solar power plants and its natural gas plant in Whiting, Indiana.

BP has set out plans to increase its renewable energy capacity by 20 times while reducing its oil production by 40% by 2030 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Its plans are largely based on expanding its customer base for fuels, electric vehicle charging and convenience stores. He did not say publicly that he would start a retail electric business.

European rivals including Royal Dutch Shell and France’s Total are also targeting rapid growth in the electricity retail sector as they move away from oil and gas.

Shell’s retail business has focused on Britain while Total has built up a large portfolio in France and North West Europe.

BP generates renewable energy in the United States through several onshore wind farms and Lightsource BP, a solar developer in which it has a 50% stake. BP is also developing offshore wind farms with Norway’s Equinor off the east coast.

BP wants to increase its renewable energy production from about 3.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2020 to 50 GW in 2030 and increase the volume of electricity it trades from 214 terawatt hours (TWh) per year to 500 TWh on the same period.

Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Clarke