BP and Marubeni, a Japanese company, have agreed to form a strategic collaboration that would focus on offshore wind development and maybe look into “other decarbonisation projects, including hydrogen.”
BP will buy a 49 percent stake in an offshore wind farm proposed off the coast of Japan under the terms of the agreement. The energy giant’s announcement on Wednesday provided no details on the project’s magnitude or expected completion date.
It stated that the arrangement was “subject to merger control clearances.” In connection with the plans, BP will establish a “local offshore wind development team” in Tokyo.
By 2030, the Japanese government wants to have 10 gigawatts of offshore wind installed. Its goal is to reach 30 to 45 GW by 2040. Japan’s 6th Strategic Energy Plan envisions renewables accounting for 36 percent to 38 percent of its power generating mix in 2030, based on a “ambitious prognosis.”
By 2050, the country also intends to be carbon neutral. Meeting this objective, according to the International Energy Agency, will “need Japan to dramatically accelerate the deployment of low-carbon technology by 2030, to overcome legislative and institutional impediments, and to further promote competition in its energy markets.”
“It will also be critical to design several decarbonisation scenarios and to plan for the potential that certain low-carbon technologies, such as nuclear, may not expand as swiftly as planned,” the IEA notes.
In recent years, a number of companies in Japan have developed offshore wind initiatives.
RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power stated in August 2021 that they had signed a deal to “jointly examine the feasibility of a large-scale floating offshore wind project” in waters off Japan’s coast.
RWE Renewables’ Sven Utermöhlen stated in a statement at the time that his company saw “huge potential for floating wind farms worldwide — but especially in nations with deeper coastline waters, such as Japan.”
In June, Japanese authorities announced the selection of a consortium of six companies to create a 16.8 megawatt floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture. For the project, there were no other bidders.
BP, a major oil and gas producer, says it plans to become a net-zero firm by 2050 or sooner. It’s one of many prominent corporations that have pledged to go net-zero in recent years.
While such commitments attract attention, carrying them out is a big task fraught with financial and logistical challenges. Goals are typically light on the latter, and the devil is in the details.
BP CEO Bernard Looney provided some insight into his business’s approach last month, describing it as a “greening corporation” that is currently carbon-intensive but is striving for a net-zero future.
At a time when a number of governments have declared a climate emergency, his remarks, which he stated during a panel discussion chaired by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Cairo, Egypt, are sure to have raised some eyebrows.
Looney stated that three requirements must be met as part of the transition to renewable energies: energy must be cleaner, reliable, and inexpensive. He described the problem as “complicated.”
“We need to get to a world where only a few things happen,” Looney explained. “For starters, our goal is to minimize emissions, not to defend sometimes ideological ideas on whether or not to use hydrocarbons.”
“Our goal is to reduce emissions, and if burning natural gas instead of coal cuts emissions, we should go ahead and do it.”
Looney further elaborated on his statement, saying it was impossible to fathom how hydrocarbons might alter overnight because they were “such a major element of the energy economy today.”
“We must invest in those hydrocarbons and drive emissions down if we want that energy to remain affordable because we want this loop where people demand the energy shift,” he stated, before adding that his company was attempting to do so.