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BP shows rare acumen in solar move

Financial Times

Published: July 14 2009 03:00 | Last updated: July 14 2009 03:00

From Mr Michael Colijn.

Sir, Ed Crooks’ article “Back to petroleum” (Analysis, July 8), on BP’s retreat from renewables, completely misses the point. It is the goal of every company, including a renewables one, to make money, and to look for the fastest and best way of doing so. Moving solar production to China where it is cheaper to manufacture, and shifting from expensive corn-based bio-ethanol to cheaper sugar cane-based projects, is not only sensible, it is unique among oil majors to show such business acumen with regard to their fragile eco-upstarts. Having worked consecutively in Shell’s solar division and BG Group’s micro-power company, I experienced at close hand the trap of a green start-up without the focus on short-term positive cashflow, leading to its ultimate demise.

Now, running a growing clean tech business, I applaud BP for trying to make money rather than simply spending billions to look good.

Michael Colijn,
Managing Director,
The Magic Boiler Company,
Zuidbroek, The Netherlands

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

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