Shell ditches wind and solar for biofuel only investments

March 18, 2009

Shell ditches wind and solar for biofuel only investments Shell has decided to narrow its focus and end its investment in wind and solar projects.  Last year it pulled out of the one thousand megawatt London Array project which would have been the world’s largest off shore wind farm.  Instead Shell is going to focus on carbon sequestration technologies and biofuels.

According to The Guardian, Shell decided to quit investing in green technology like solar, wind and hydro because these technologies weren’t sound investments and didn’t make money for investors.  This would be understandable if green technology weren’t poised for fast growth in the near future.

Shell is world’s largest “buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels”.  Crop-based biofuels are blamed for deforestation and high food prices.  Since biofuels frequently lead to greater emissions than either diesel or gas, the company’s move furthers the impression that it is investing in projects that are environmentally destructive.

The company’s investment in the Northern Canadian oil-sands project has been criticized because it will require massive amounts of energy to remove the oil.  Shell has said that it is investing in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to minimize the CO2 that is expected to be released during oil recovery.

In a further questionable move on the part of the company, Shell is increasing its debt level so that it can continue to pay dividends and invest in biofuel and CCS technology.  In the midst of a worldwide economic meltdown crisis, this seems like an incredibly foolish move for the company to make.

Between Shell’s decisions to stop its clean energy investments and to increase its debt load to pay for dividends, the company is solidifying an image of corporate greed over corporate responsibility.  Previously Shell appeared to be courting a more environmentally responsible image with advertisements that emphasized the company’s investment in clean energy.  Apparently, Shell no longer cares for either the environment or the image.

Ironically, as more European countries are setting tougher environmental standards, Shell has become at best environmentally indifferent and at worst environmentally destructive.


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7 Responses to “Shell ditches wind and solar for biofuel only investments”

  1. Jason Montgomery:

    Looks like reality is catching up with Shell. With oil coming down in price, a lot of these alternative energy sources just don’t make sense economically.

  2. Tim B:

    These are not “clean” energy systems but rather cleaner energy systems. Solar(pv) is not very clean at all, having a far larger carbon footprint than nuclear.

  3. fogbows:

    goood !!!!!!

  4. Cam:

    Much of the emphasis on cleaner alternatives is focused on direct replacements of energy requirements from oil to some other source. But with present technology the energy we can produce isn’t a direct comparison. Just look at the advent of electric vehicles, a commuter car has very limited range and certainly is not capable of moving goods and services across great expanses. Electric trains could but then this limits to track locations. Society has yet to develop an energy source that is as powerful as fossil fuels. The other facet of this, is that moving to a more green society places a large part of the equation on living in cities, but agriculture and food sources do not work all that well in cities. So this lends it’s self to veganism, which in turn clusters the populations in localized areas. Some have speculated that the entire principal behind the green movement is centered around control. “Who funds all the green peace rallies?” Last I say it was the socialist world party

  5. Johnathan Dougher:

    Solar, Wind and various alternative energy sources are more expensive. Period. Environmentalists have been saying for 40 years that the big discovery is right around the corner and after all these years we are no closer. Sure there have been many advances in making alternative energy cheaper and at the same time there have been even more advances in conventional fuels to make them cheaper and progressively more cleaner. Alternative energy sources simply have not gained any relative ground.

    The increased use of Solar and Wind based energy drives up energy costs. The higher the energy costs in the U.S. the more jobs move overseas to places with cheaper energy like China and India. These countries doesn’t have any environment regulation of any consequence. So business will continue to move (as they have already been doing now for 15 years or so) to places with less regulation and do more harm to the world as a whole.

    Don’t blame Shell. They are not being paid to be environmentalists and they are not being paid to solve the world’s problems, whether they are imagined problems or not. They are being paid by stock holders to make money. If wind and solar were so profitable the author of the original article would have already put up hundreds of wind and solar farms and be the world riches person. It hasn’t been done because it’s not economical do so without massive tax payer subsidies.

  6. GreenBoy:

    We want the government to create laws that confiscate money through excessive taxation of the richest 40% of the population. We Green’s will then take this money and re-engineer society to match our vision of the world.

    We will socialize medicine. We will socialize your financial system and next we will socialize the final means of production, energy production. We will control every facet of your life. We have learned that people cannot be controlled unless we control medical care, energy and finance.

    As we eventually control all the means of production we will be able to rationalize that you must follow our rules because your actions “effect the rest of us”. More importantly we will have the power to enforce our beliefs upon you. You will be forced to live the way we want you to live and where we want you to live because if you don’t it will “effect the rest of us”.

    Just think how better the world will be when we can ration what medical care you get, what energy you get, what money you get based upon how conformant you are to our beliefs. You’ve had your chance at so called freedom and we are not pleased with what you’ve done with it. Now we are going to take it away from you and give those decisions to people that agree with us.

    We are doing it for the good of our vision of society and if you don’t like, tough.

  7. Karl Hallowell:

    “Between Shell’s decisions to stop its clean energy investments and to increase its debt load to pay for dividends, the company is solidifying an image of corporate greed over corporate responsibility. ”

    Or fiduciary responsibility over stupidity. And now is a great time to borrow money especially if you have higher interest rate debt that you can pay off in the process. You just are just mistaken as to why they are borrowing money.

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