This is what is at stake and what is not interesting to oil companies in search of a profit. Your beating heart.
Listening to Shell Oil Co. head this a.m. on Washington Journal on CSpan, I was delighted that a caller got to ask Mr. Hofmeister why oil companies were buying up small refining plants and shutting them down? Shell's executive, of course, went into a quick spiel about how expensive it was to run those little guys, without explaining why then the oil companies bought them in the first place. Kind hearts, no doubt, after all it's Valentine's Day.
Then I started looking a bit into Shell's record and found that it had also been divesting itself of solar energy projects. It wasn't profitable enough to generate energy in a responsible way.
Shell, the oil company that recently trumpeted its commitment to a low carbon future by signing a pre-Bali conference communique, has quietly sold off most of its solar business.
The move, taken with rival BP's decision last week to invest in the world's dirtiest oil production in Canada's tar sands, indicates that Big Oil might be giving up its flirtation with renewables and going back to its roots.
Shell and BP are among the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, but both have been keen to paint themselves green through a series of clean fuel initiatives.
BP, under its former chief executive, John Browne, promised to go "beyond petroleum" while Shell has spent millions advertising its serious interest in the future of the environment.
But at a time when interest in solar power is greater than ever, with the world's first "solar city" being built at Phoenix, Arizona, a small announcement from Environ Energy Global of Singapore revealed that it had bought Shell's photovoltaic operations in India and Sri Lanka, with more than 260 staff and 28 offices, for an undisclosed sum.
Shell declined to comment on these criticisms or talk about where its priorities lay. But the chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, did make a number of comments last summer which could have paved the way for a change in policy. Alternative energy sources such as renewables will not fill the gap, he argued, forecasting that even with technological breakthroughs they could give supply only 30% of global energy by the middle of the century. "Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems," he said.
Meanwhile, BP has been accused by Greenpeace Canada of lining itself up to help commit "the biggest environmental crime in history". This follows its decision to swap assets with Husky Oil, giving it an entrance ticket to the Alberta tar sands, which are said to be five times more energy-intensive to extract compared to traditional oil.
While I hate to beat a dead horse, the coincidence of running into another illustration of the points in yesterday's post, (which elicited some excellent comments), was too much to pass up. That horse needn't have died in vain, anyway.
A meeting of energy companies going on in Houston this week, the Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference, and it's generating a lot of hogwash that likes to pass itself off as reasonable discussion. For the second time, I'm hearing claims that we need more drilling here on the U.S. continent and continental shelves, not renewable energy. The conservation role is being passed off to the public, and responsibility for real energy cutbacks to that public.
Drilling, producing oil and closing down refineries would seem to be where the money is.
The cost of building a U.S. power plant has risen 130 percent since 2000, and 27 percent in the 12 months to October 2007 alone, according to a new index developed by Cambridge Energy Research Associates and released on Thursday.
CERA, owned by IHS Inc (IHS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), established the Power Capital Costs Index (PCCI), which uses 2000 costs to set a base for the index of 100 points.
Ward said that since 2000, the costs for plants that emit more carbon dioxide have gone up the least.(Emphasis added.)
All heart, indeed. I am inclined to think that we need to start legislation requiring an escrow account be set up when energy companies an operation. It would address the cost of health effects that would result from the production of pollution.
I see a future for funding full medical care for our American people, costs can well be within the range of the profits off those American people. That seems more reasonable to me than supporting the production of pollution by the very American people who are providing that inconscionable profit to the producers of pollution.
A Happy Valentine's Day to you, Diane and I thank you. Cabdrollery hit 100,000 visits yesterday. Hugs and kisses.