Solar and Oil industry businesses to collaborate

Published: 12 Dec 2017

One of the largest oil and gas production companies has recently announced its plan to collaborate with GlassPoint Solar and construct one of the biggest solar projects in the region to support oil sector development. Aera Energy, which is jointly owned by the big oil businesses Shell and ExxonMobil account for nearly a quarter of the oil production in California.
 
Situated at the Belridge oilfield, near Bakersfield, the combined solar project will be the first of its kind to utilize solar steam and solar electricity to power oilfield operations. This will reduce the overall emissions from the oil sector. Developers claim that once the site is complete, it will deliver the largest peak energy output of any solar project within California.
 
Divided into two sections, the Belridge Solar project will include an 850 MW thermal site, producing 12 million barrels of steam to extract oil and a further 26.5 MW Solar PV facility to generate energy. Aera Energy aims to reduce its consumption of onsite natural gas and reduce overall carbon emissions from pumping oil.
 
The Belridge solar project is expected to save over 350 000 metric tons of carbon emissions every year, which equates to the equivalent of more than 30% of all vehicles in Bakersfield. The Belridge facility will preserve the consumption of natural resources and reduce the amounts of NOx and other pollutants.
 
Aside from the environmental impacts, the solar project will generate in excess of 500 engineering and construction jobs within the renewable energy sector. Aera and GlassPoint have announced that construction will near completion in early 2019, with the first project beginning early 2020.
 
The CEO of AERA expressed how proud she was to be part of low carbon and sustainable future of California. She believes by utilizing new technology, oil operators will be able to reduce their emissions and improve the efficiency of the whole process, and at the same time improve the local economy.

Whilst critics suggest that projects like this will still continue to produce carbon emissions, it is clearly an improvement for an industry that many countries still rely upon.

Furthermore, It is essential the energy industry communicated more effectively. It will be more beneficial for energy companies to be working together, rather than competing against each other. The collaboration between AERA and GlassPoint could be the first of many working partnerships between the oil and renewables industry.

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