Global energy company BP, at one time British Petroleum, now branding itself Beyond Petroleum, is planning to double its investment in worldwide renewables -- with development of a 200 MW wind power facility in the US by 2007 included on the agenda. The wind activity is related to the launch late last year of BP Alternative Energy, a new business unit for managing investments in wind and other green business. The company plans to pour $1.8 billion into renewables over three years. "We think the time is right to develop wind power in the US," says BP's Sarah Howell. "Although we haven't yet decided on any specific sites or projects, we recognise the enormous potential." The company, which currently operates only two small wind developments (22 MW and 9 MW) alongside existing oil plants in the Netherlands, has identified enough US parcels of land to accommodate wind turbines with a total capacity of 2000 MW. BP owns US industrial land in several high wind regions away from residential areas. "Those two projects we own in the Netherlands are fairly small," says Howell, "But we're concentrating on using them to understand the technology." She adds that BP hopes to announce some specifics on wind development in the US in the near future. In addition to wind energy, BP's new business unit plans to accelerate a global investment program in solar, hydrogen and gas turbines that could amount to as much as $8 billion over ten years. The activity is seen as a likely challenge to Shell, which has also promoted green energy by recently committing to $1.5 billion in renewables, including a strong push into the British wind industry. Shell ranks eleventh in global wind plant ownership rankings, according to global consultant company Emerging Energy Research.