I was watching the television on Saturday night and would you believe there was a commercial about alternative energy? I was amazed. Alternative energy education right at home in my living room! As I sat there on the couch staring at what I believed was most likely the next neo-liberal campaign for conservatism, and not a truly educational 30-second bit, I was surprised by the ending comment and commercial sponsor: Chevron. Yes, one of the biggest names in fossil fuels is talking about anything but!
So I decided to dig a little deeper into the idea of a major oil company investing in alternative energy. Actions certainly speak louder than words. Yet what I found to be the reality is that in this eco-revolution, the push for renewable and sustainable energy may have overlooked a major proponent: Chevron Energy Solutions.
Chevron Energy Solutions is a subsidiary of the Chevron Corporation, and is entirely owned by the company. The mission of Chevron Energy Solutions is to “to help clients use less energy and pay less for energy, and ensure reliable, high-quality power for critical operations.” So in pursuit of this mission, the Chevron subsidiary promotes alternative energy as a means for improving energy use in facility infrastructure. In other words, they seek to promote energy efficient technologies in public institutions and businesses. They accomplish this through the employment of projects and research in areas other than fossil fuels. Solar electric and stationary fuel cell technologies are among these projects.
As a group of engineers, project managers, energy managers and analysts, Chevron Energy Solutions harnesses the power and professionalism of the eco-friendly industries – all in its quest to promote alternative energy and technology. This Chevron subsidiary seeks to not only conserve natural resources in energy production, but to reduce greenhouse gases as well. This is accomplished through the reduction in demand for electricity that would otherwise be produced by fossil-fuel power plants.
Chevron Energy Solutions has also developed and commercialized advanced energy technologies. These technologies include fuel cells, as mentioned earlier. They also include photovoltaics and advanced batteries. The company has also claimed it is active in hydrogen fuel research and development efforts as well. In fact, Chevron is investing $300 million dollars each year into alternative fuel sources.
So what does all of this mean? It certainly sounds like a commercial for Chevron, doesn’t it? Yet the point of this article is that, in the name of environmental activism and the development of alternative energy, we tend to ignore the bigger picture. It is true that Chevron is part of the petroleum-based energy industry and is often touted as a member of “Big Oil.” And it is true that, as a Big Oil affiliate, Chevron is often suspected of resisting alternative and renewable energy technologies. However the reality is that even Chevron is embracing the development of alternative energy. Remember that as the environmental revolution rolls on our energy resources will continue to evolve. So we must not overlook all of those who seek to develop alternatives to petroleum-based energy resources: even the petroleum-based companies themselves.