COP27: How solar power can help solve the energy trilemma

Energy day at COP27 is an opportunity to reflect on the so-called energy trilemma, which took on new meaning for many in 2022. The trilemma is the need to find a balance between energy costs, security and sustainability.

For many people in rich nations, energy is something that was largely taken for granted. 2022 has changed that.

The case for the public and private sector to secure, predictable electricity prices has been shown in stark relief against soaring prices. Lightsource bp has agreed power contracts with an array of partners in a number of different sectors.

We recognise the individuality of our customers by creating customised solutions, tailored to the needs of an organisation. Our global team of energy experts has delivered multiple power contracts with prominent energy buyers across the world. Lightsource bp can deliver flexible power contracts developed in partnership with, which include varied tenures and pricing structures.

You can learn more about how they are benefiting from solar in the case studies below:

Locking-in power pricing for 15 years

Against 2022’s backdrop of spiking energy costs in Europe, Forterra was determined to lock-in price certainty and value with renewable energy, so the company chose Lightsource bp as its partner. A 15-year power purchase agreement for a total of 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually will provide Forterra with valuable price certainty and predictability at a time when this is in short supply. This PPA will provide renewable energy to Forterra’s 17 sites across the UK meeting 70% of the company’s total energy requirements from solar by 2025.

Read the press release

Transforming AB InBev’s UK energy mix to support sustainability goals

AB InBev contracted a 15-year power purchase agreement with Lightsource bp in 2018 to roll out 100 megawatts of solar power and support goals to brew Budweiser with 100% renewable electricity. At the time, it was the largest unsubsidised solar energy deal in UK history. Lightsource bp developed two solar farms that now power AB InBev’s two main UK breweries, based in Magor, South Wales and Samlesbury, Lancashire.

Read the press release

Meeting sustainability goals and advancing climate commitments

The 345 megawatt Oxbow Solar project will help McDonald’s and eBay meet their sustainability goals and advance their commitment to climate action, while growing Lightsource bp’s expanding footprint of solar assets across the Southeast. Once complete, the project will generate over 600,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy annually, equivalent to the average annual consumption of 59,000 US homes.

Read the press release

Globally however, the deep concerns around the cost and accessibility of energy are a daily reality for all, long before the events of 2022, even access to basic electricity is not a given. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon back in 2011. The goal was universal access to sustainable sources of energy by 2030. So far more than 400 million more people now have access to electricity but another 730 million must join them. 

A UN brief for the current Secretary-General, António Guterres states that “the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis that it has caused is a stark reminder of the need for energy resilience and stronger push for the transition to renewable energy.”

The current gap in emission reduction pledges and what is required to limit average global temperature increase to 1.5°C also looms large. The energy trilemma is clearly very much alive today.

The cost of renewable energy and energy storage at all scales is collapsing. Solar photovoltaic costs fell 13% in 2021, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). All while solar technology continues to improve. 

Lightsource bp is active in 18 markets around the world with more to come soon. We remain committed to advocating for solar, energy storage and other renewable technology as the backbone of the response to the trilemma in the short-, medium- and long-term. 

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