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Shell Inks Another Solar Deal

By Irina Slav – Jan 18, 2018, 9:00 AM CST

Just a couple of days after it acquired a hefty stake in a U.S. solar company, Shell has made another solar move, closing a power supply deal with British Solar Renewables. Shell Energy Europe, the regional marketing and trading unit of the supermajor, will receive the whole output of the Bradenstoke solar power plant—the second-largest in Britain—for a period of five years.

Bradenstoke has a peak capacity of 69.8 MW and produces an average of 65 GWh annually. The size of the deal was not disclosed.

On Monday, Shell said it will buy a 43.8-percent stake in Silicon Ranch Corp, a solar energy company currently part of the Partners Group’s energy portfolio. A second agreement signed by Shell also gives it an opportunity to increase its stake in Silicon Ranch after the year 2021. The deal should officially close by March.

Last week, a Dutch daily reported that Shell was mulling over a bid for Dutch green energy company Eneco Group, which is active in wind, solar, and biomass. While Shell declined to comment on the report, the daily, De Telegraaf, said, citing sources from the banking industry, that the company had hired a U.S.-based bank to help it arrange the offer.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor has been very active in renewable energy lately, expanding its footprint in energy storage and EV charging and pledging substantial investments in clean energy and a 50-percent cut in the carbon footprint of its own products by 2050. This, according to CEO Ben van Beurden, will be achieved by increasing the share of biofuels in its product mix and improving efficiencies.

Shell is not stopping there. In a further sign it is actively preparing for a greener future, the company said last year it would increase its annual investments in clean energy projects to US$1 billion to US$2 billion until 2020. Though this is a drop in the bucket when compared with its overall annual capex plans for the period, which are between US$25 and US$30 billion, the size of the clean energy investment is a clear sign that Shell won’t wait until it is forced to diversify into renewables. It seems ready to go willingly in this direction.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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