BP Halts Sale of US Wind Power Unit

Thursday, August 1st, 2013
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BP has called off the sale of its US wind operations a mere four months after first announcing it would spin off the renewable energy unit.

Matt Hartwig, a spokesperson for BP America and its Alternative Energy business, told Renewable Energy World that “the company has determined that now is not the right time to sell the business,” after the company received an undisclosed number of bids.

BP’s US-based wind operations are comprised of 16 farms spread across nine states throughout the country, including Texas, Indiana, Colorado, Kansas, California, South Dakota, Idaho, Hawaii and Pennsylvania, and possess a total generating capacity of 2.6 gigawatts.

The company also has a further two gigawatts of projects in the planning stage which are currently “nearly shovel-ready.”

BP’s first announced the spin off of its US-based wind assets in April with the intention off restoring the company’s focus on its mainline oil and gas operations. The sale of the wind assets would also raise cash to meet liabilities arising from the disastrous 2010 Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the time of the announcement, however, Hartwig said that the prospective sale would be contingent on the company receiving “attractive offers” for the business. Conditions for the spin-off appeared highly favourable, with wind power providers currently enjoying a seller’s market as a result of low interest rates, strong demand for assets with steady cash streams, and a scarcity of incoming projects.

Other players in the market have already taken advantage of these propitious conditions, with NRG Energy’s recent $468 million yieldco IPO proving hugely popular with investors, who drove prices up from the target range of $19 to $21 to $27 per share.

Despite Hartwig stating emphatically in July that the sale of the wind business would not mark BP’s “exit from alternative energy,” the spin-off would have effectively brought an end to the company’s foray into renewable electricity generation following the shut down of the company’s solar interests and the sale of wind assets in India.

Hartwig now says that for the time being BP would focus on “safely maximizing the financial and operation performance of the existing assets.”

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