Oil Giants Say No to Renewable Energy

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
No more research

President Barack Obama wants to spend $150 billion over the next decade to create “a clean energy future” by developing alternative sources of energy. But the most important players in this ambitious plan—oil companies—don’t want to participate. Despite the rhetoric many in the industry employ about their investments in “green” technologies, the fact is oil companies continue to spend very little on research-and-development for non-fossil fuel energy sources.

According to Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, an industry trade group, the top five oil companies have spent around $5 billion over the last 15 years to develop sources of renewable energy—a mere 10% of the roughly $50 billion funneled into the clean-energy sector by venture capital funds and corporate investors during this period. “Big Oil does not consider renewable energy to be a mainstream business,” Eckhart told the New York Times. “It’s a side business for them.”
It’s become even less than that for some companies. Royal Dutch Shell has decided to freeze its research and investments in wind, solar and hydrogen power, and focus its alternative energy efforts on biofuels. It also has sold off much of its solar business and pulled out of a project last year to build the largest offshore wind farm, near London.
BP, a company that has spent nine years saying it was moving “beyond petroleum,” has been getting back to petroleum since 2007, paring back its renewable program.
“In my view, nothing has really changed,” Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, said after the election of President Obama. “We don’t oppose alternative energy sources and the development of those. But to hang the future of the country’s energy on those alternatives alone belies reality of their size and scale.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead (by Jad Mouawad, New York Times)


Dominic Ebacher 15 years ago
In two generations, people will look back, and be surprised that we let these environmentally destructive buffoons lie to us for so long. Let's hope we can get past this hurdle and into the future: if the big players don't want to step up than maybe its time for a new game.
Janice Jones 15 years ago
Could it be that we simply have to move forward with clean energy despite the oil companies? They have been trying to stop us for years. When they do get called out, they say they want Americans to pay for them dumping billions of tons of pollution into the air and water. That is not right!
Larry Plummer 15 years ago
These same companies are the ones issuing reports telling Americans that their utility bills will climb to record levels. How do they know? They issued the false reports. Again, they have billions of dollars to protect. I hope that Americans are smart enough to see through this deception?
Mike Scabinski 15 years ago
I heard that big oil has dumped millions of shares of renewable energy stock in an effort to destabilize the market. It seems like something these men would do. They could care less about America. I do not like them threatening President Obama either. They should all be arrested and jailed.
Kevin Jenkins 15 years ago
Typical for big oil. As the planet continues to disintegrate around us these freaking scum bags do everything they can to derail and meaningful change that would preserve the planet. Rex Tillerson and his band of cheap thugs in suits are a miserable lot. NATIONALIZE BIG OIL THAT PUTRID SCUM BAG

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