BP to exit wind power business

BP will exit the wind power business by putting its US wind farm operations on the block, as the British oil giant focuses on the more lucrative oil and gas business.

The London-based company, which closed its solar business in 2011, is selling 16 operating wind farms in nine US states as well as other projects.

BP owns or has joint ventures interests in 16 operating wind farms in eight US states with a generating capacity of 2,600 megawatts, as well as 2,000 megawatts of wind power projects in the development phase.

Its wind farms currently in operation have nearly 1,500 wind turbines where one megawatt of electricity can power about 200 homes during peak demand.

BP has not put a value of the assets, but analysts expect the sale to fetch between $4 billion and $5 billion.

In 2005, BP had pledged to invest $8 billion over 10 years on alternative energy, and since then, has spent $6.6 billion, with more than half of it in the US. Last year it spent $1.6 billion on alternative energy projects, including two wind farms in Pennsylvania and Kansas.

Matt Hartwig, a spokesperson for BP America, said the company is not exiting alternative energy, and noted that it will continue with ethanol production in Brazil and biofuel research in the UK and the US.

BP, which has earmarked asset sales worth $38 billion after its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, is slowly moving away from the unprofitable renewable energy business to focus on the more lucrative oil and gas business.