Posts on ‘March 19th, 2009’
Shell’s spending on renewables except biofuel appears to have fallen from $200m a year to zero over the past nine years
So at last we have an explanation. During my video interview with Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Shell, I asked the same question 15 times: “What is the value of your annual investments in renewable energy?”
After several attempts to change the subject, he admitted that he knew the figure, then flatly refused to reveal it. Nor could he give me a convincing explanation of why he wouldn’t tell me, claiming only that “those figures are misused and people say it is too small” and it “is not the right message to give to the people”.
We’ve got so used to big oil companies trying to use tiny investments in renewable energy as fig leafs for their core business of pumping oil, that in a way, an oil company just turning round and issuing a big ‘screw you’ to such pretensions might almost seen slightly refreshing, if only for the novelty value.
Well, in theory. But it’s hard to read yesterday’s press statement from Shell without your heart sinking. With regards to wind and solar power, Shell said that they do “not expect material amounts of investment in those areas going forward. [Wind and solar] continue to struggle to compete with the other investment opportunities we have in our portfolio.”