ExxonMobil is looking to renewable energy sources to power its shale production in the Permian basin as it signs a deal with Orsted, a Danish renewable energy company to buy 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity produced by solar and wind farms, a Bloomberg report said.
The electricity Exxon will be buying from Orsted will be produced at two farms, Sage Draw wind farm and Permian Solar farm, both of which are still under construction to be completed in early 2020s.
As solar and wind power become cheaper and demand for shale is soaring, it seems the time is apparently right for ExxonMobil to start looking to renewables.
“We frequently evaluate opportunities to diversify our power supply and ensure competitive costs,” an Exxon spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Permian is the shale play where production is growing the fastest and with it demand for electricity is growing, too. Bloomberg reports that just one part of the Permian, the Delaware Basin, consumed 350 megawatts (MW) of electricity this summer, which was triple the consumption three years ago. This amount is enough to power almost 300,000 households and it is set for another triple increase, according to utilities, in the next four years.
The company has been the target of a lot of criticism and lawsuits regarding its attitude to climate change and renewable energy use. Bloomberg earlier this year reported that Exxon was looking to seal a deal for the purchase of electricity produced from renewable sources. At the time, a source close to the company said it was looking for long-term contracts of 12, 15, or even 20 years, for the supply of at least 100 megawatts (MW).