Shell wind-, deal-breaker

shell
photocredit: nrc.nl

Can’t say I was surprised, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. One of the largest oil companies (and therefor also “one of the world’s largest polluters”), Royal Dutch Shell, has announced that they will stop investing money in windenergy. Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer has said that wind energy is not profitable enough. Instead Shell will focus on programs where they just produce more polluting energy and bury that stuff in the ground until someone else figures out a way to clear their mess up (and pick their check up as well).

On their website you can still read the following: [shell windenergy is] generating emission-free electricity that saves around 1 million tons of CO2 a year compared to emissions from a coal-fired plant.

Climate Change Advisor flies around the world
And Shell is quitting that because they’re not making enough dough in the process. I guess shooting Nigerians as they protest against you because you pollute their land with your waste oil is a lot more profitable. I wonder what their ‘Climate Change Advisor’, David Hone,  had to say about this decision. Probably nothing. He was too busy travelling around South America and spending Shell’s dollars. (what the hell does ‘climate change advisor’ mean anyway?)

… instead of reducing Shell’s pollution
So, Shell, like many others, is only willing to try and help reduce pollution if they can make enough money on it. The fact that they actually owe the rest of the world a great deal of money since they got rich polluting it (and thus: stealing from us) doesn’t count. Jeroen van der V.: you are not a good person, I’m sorry.

Nigeria Added september 2010:
In the mean time, I think in the eye of the public BP will take the prize of ‘the biggest polluter among oil companies’, but Shell has been doing it’s best as well. As a result of which it’s been removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index this month. Time for desperate measures. On Dutch television Allard Castellein, VP of environmental affairs (and thus David Hone’s boss?) agreed to do a television interview about what I’d like to call ‘the Nigerian situation’. Mr. Castellein did not look good. Which is understandable, since his story does not sell very well. Unfortunatelyy for Nigerians, their oil does.
If you happen to understand either Dutch or body language, you can see the interview below or on Youtube.

4 thoughts on “Shell wind-, deal-breaker

  1. Wanted to drop you a note as a member of Shell’s global media team:

    Our Alternatives strategy – Shell undertook a strategy to investigate a range of alternative energy and CO2 technologies… We continue with our aim over the long term of developing one material alternative energy business… and we have spent about $1.7 billion on it in the last 5 years. We don’t try and “do it all”, so we are not in nuclear, wave, and tide power for example…and we HAVE looked at wind, solar, biofuels, hydrogen and carbon-capture. Today, the largest of these activities is in Wind and we have 550 MW of capacity. We said that we planned to focus down, once we have identified where Shell ought to be in alternatives. The one that makes the most sense for Shell – that is closest to our core business – is biofuels. We are already a leader in fuels… we are already a major biofuels distributor… in many markets we are mandated to sell or blend biofuels… and it is a business activity where our brand is relevant. Therefore, biofuels feels closest to our core business and it’s an area where we believe we can add value… and focusing on it appears to make the most sense going forward.

    Looking into 2009-10

    (1) Shell will be more focused on biofuels… first in conventional biofuels that meet our corporate and social responsibility criteria… and second in research into advanced biofuels technologies that offer better CO2 performance and do not compete with food production. We will also continue looking into CO2 capture and storage. We stress that both CCS and advanced biofuels technologies are at a very early stage, and it is too soon to know when these can come into commercial scale activities.

    (2) We don’t expect Wind, Solar and Hydrogen to grow much at Shell from here, due to portfolio fit and the returns outlook compared to other opportunities. Wind and solar, are interesting of course, but they continue to struggle to compete with the other investment opportunities that we have in our portfolio, even with substantial subsidies in many markets. We finished two wind projects last year, bringing our Shell share capacity to over 550 megawatts. The outlook is that we do not expect material amounts of new investment in these areas as we go forward. Our focus right now on Wind is on operating those with increasing reliability and safety, and that goes generally well for us. On the solar side, keep in mind that we essentially sold our solar business some time ago – so already exited; the only thing we have left is a small R&D project in thin film – not a core strategic activity for us – so no major investments there. We think hydrogen is a very long-term option, and we continue to review options and how that might impact our business.

    (3) Our subsurface capabilities and R&D programmes in the capture and storage of CO2 (CCS) can add value to efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from our activities. We have made progress with several potential projects including in Canada, where we are taking part in the Weyburn-Midale CO2 monitoring and storage project; and in Germany where the first injection of CO2 was carried out in June 2008 at the CO2SINK project – the first European scientific project to demonstrate onshore CO2 storage in a saline aquifer. Shell is also a partner in the Gorgon LNG project in Australia; should this project be approved by the government and JV partners, it could be one of the world’s largest CCS endeavours. Shell is developing a project for the capture and storage of pure CO2, a waste product from the Shell Pernis refinery, into two depleted gasfields in Barendrecht. For this purpose a 17 km pipeline and compressors are needed. A decision about the go ahead of the Barendrecht project could be taken in 2009.

  2. As always, I am very pleased to receive a response to anything I write and I think it’s great if you guys are willing to engage the debate with those that are critical about our activities, so thank you for that.

    I am a bit disappointed that you guys would say that your core business is ‘fuel’ which means that you define your core business as something that is polluting and that your core busines is also running out of supply. You’d better redefine to ‘energy’ or what happen to he American railroad companies will also hapen to you guys.

    Furthermore, I understand that you can make even more money with other things than with wind energy (or solar energy for that matter) but in one hundred years, no one will care about your profits or turnover. You will have been bought up or gone bankrupt and you will be forgotten. however; invest in a better world, make sure our and your children will still have a habitable planet and at the same time, still make profit (with your size, you know you can make it work) and you will be heroes for the future.

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