bp to provide solar power to ExxonMobil-SABIC JV’s Texas olefins complex

Sept. 27, 2023
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures LLC has entered a deal to receive renewable power supplies for its Texas Gulf Coast ethane cracker and derivatives complex from bp's nearby Peacock solar project in San Patricio County, Tex.

Gulf Coast Growth Ventures LLC (GCGV)—a 50-50 joint venture of Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and ExxonMobil Corp.—has entered a deal to receive renewable power supplies for its Texas Gulf Coast ethane cracker and derivatives complex from bp PLC’s nearby Peacock solar project in San Patricio County, Tex., about 10 miles north of Corpus Christi.

Under construction as of Sept. 26, the 187-Mwdc Peacock solar project will supply all electricity it generates directly to GCGV’s petrochemical complex under a long-term power purchase agreement, bp said in a release.

Under development by bp’s 50-50 partner Lightsource bp Renewable Energy Investments Ltd. (LSbp)—which is also managing construction on behalf of bp—the Peacock solar project comes as part of commitments by both bp and GCGV to advance the ongoing global transition to a reduced-carbon future responsibly and sustainably, according to the companies.

“Securing this agreement and kicking off construction of Peacock helps support the transition to lower-carbon energy, while benefiting local communities and the economy,” said Dave Lawler, bp America Inc.’s chairman and president. “It’s another way bp is accelerating growth of our US solar generation capacity, investing in [the US], and advancing our transformation to an integrated energy company.”

“Once online, the solar-generated electricity [from Peacock] will be used to partially power our [GCGV complex] and help reduce emissions in support of a net-zero future,” said Paul Fritsch, GCGV’s president.

Scheduled for startup in second-half 2024, the Peacock solar project will generate enough renewable energy annually to power the equivalent of 34,000 homes, and once at full capacity, will generate enough renewable power that could avoid more than 256,000 tonnes/year (tpy) of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of about 55,000 fuel-burning cars, bp said.

Commercially operating as of January 2022, GCGV’s complex includes its 1.8-million tpy ethane cracker, 1.1 million-tpy monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit, and two polyethylene units with combined capacity of 1.3 million tpy (OGJ Online, Jan. 20, 2022).

Solar project details

bp confirmed PCL Constructors Inc.—which serves as main engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the Peacock project—will install ultralow-carbon solar panels and trackers supplied by First Solar Inc. and GameChange Solar LLC, respectively.

Alongside renewable power generation, the Peacock project site also will include range of agricultural, biodiversity, and social initiatives supporting a sustainable transition, including:

  • Planting of vegetation under and around the solar panels, including native plant species beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife.
  • Improvements to habitat value, species composition, soil health, and overall ecosystem functions at the solar farm.
  • Agrivoltaics-based activities such as sheep grazing at the site to benefit the local rural economy and keep the farmland in production.

Part of bp’s strategy to invest in and build renewable energy capacity of 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, the company said it anticipates the Peacock project will meet its expected returns for renewable power (OGJ Online, Apr. 7, 2023).

According to bp’s website, Texas is already home to three large-scale LSbp solar projects that include:

  • Impact Solar, a 260-Mw solar farm in Lamar County, 120 miles northeast of Dallas.
  • Elm Branch Solar, a 163-Mw solar farm about 40 miles south of Dallas.
  • Briar Creek Solar, a 153-Mw solar farm in Navarro County, also near Dallas.