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Alternative Energy

Oil Companies Promote Alternative Energy, posted in Industry, Politics, Transportation.


Alternative Energy
Alternative Energy

Oil Companies Promote Alternative Energy

News » Energy | Biofuels | Environment | Hydrogen | Solar | Transportation | Wind
October 24th, 2007 - View Comments

Wind Turbines 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!

YouTube: Chevron “Untapped Energy” Ad | More Videos

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.

What do you think?

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  • http://energyboomer.com Birney Summers

    Some companies, that historically have been in the oil business, have been looking into their crystal balls and figuring out that they should change to being Energy Companies not just Oil Companies. Chevron has become a leader in this self preservation move.

  • Realistic

    While what Birney Summers wrote has some truth to it, most big oil companies are holding out that people will continue to be ignorant enough to continue to consume fossile fuels in great quantities regardless the damage or prices to pay for such actions. Sad but true. Some companies are making moves like this in order to grab a bigger share of the market once more alternative energies come ‘online’ and become more widely used in order to cover all their bases. However, oil companies will continue to prey upon the weak minded masses that fill up their gas guzzling vehicles on an hourly basis since too few are intelligernt enough to use more efficient means of trasportation and energy use.

  • Adrian Akau

    It makes good sense for these companies to become energy companies rather than just producers of oil because it seems that as the oil runs out, they are going to have less and less of it to sell. Oil companies are looking for the golden egg of the next energy era.

    Oil is Not Forever

    Oil is not forever,
    No matter how we endeavor,
    To drill and pump,
    The source will slump,
    We need something better.

    adriankau2aol.com

  • http://blog.hasslberger.com Sepp

    This piece reads like a promotional blurb for the oil company. Anyway, if Chevron is investing in let’s say wind power, it is only good business sense. They are diversifying, that’s all.

    Oil is not forever. Although there is enough of the black stuff to feed our appetites for a long time to come, it has been decided that we should get off it. So the companies that are into oil exploration are looking around to find things to do with their money that are going to guarantee future income.

    In that sense, we will see these companies investing in technologies that are too capital intensive to be used by consumers directly. The aim is of course to continue to be out energy suppliers.

    I personally prefer the use of distributed power generation, where everyone has their own means to generate power. That could be solar, wind, hydrogen from water, or some new way of making electricity that no one is telling you about yet.

    Look around and don’t get blinded by oil companies getting into “alternative energy”.

  • http://www.internetcommunitysstandard.com Kerry Fritz II

    All those recent ads by oil companies are just tokens, they could be doing a lot more and should have been doing it sooner – these ads are somewhat like the cigarette company ads telling people they shouldn’t smoke – even bad press is press nonetheless – but try to get them to finance a grander sale project or inquire into the actualities of the ad (for example methane n CA’s San Jaquin Valley) and you will see that it is all smoke and mirrors, just to get their name on the air – not to actually do what they could/should be doing and not to give the grants to the people who have been plugging along by themselves for years. They are actually threatening people that have the products that we should have right now, or buying patents and sitting on them so they can get more fossil fuel money. I live in a village surrounded by oil fields, it stinks at night and oil production is expanding, not moving to alternatives – Americans are fools to believe the hype that the oil companies, etc. powers that be are developing alternatives.

  • CJ

    Surprised not that this article is talking about an oil company is diversifying, but that Chevron is the one mentioned rather than BP. BP’s marketing seems so much more focused on alternative fuels that I assumed it was making a greater investment than most. I’d love to see any information ranking oil companies by investment in alternative fuels, though I don’t hold out much hope that solid information is publicly available. Anybody have additional info?

  • Juan Francisco

    If Chevron was really serious and cared about the environment they would free the Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery patents they are setting on. They sued Toyota and Panasonic for the most successful electric battery ever produced. Guess why GM sold the patents to Texaco/Chevron!

  • Chris

    I don’t think it is a question. Of course they are sincere about alternative fuels, because whoever gets it first will have a monopoly on that :) . They still profit, and they will peoples hearts. But by paying close attention to Futuregen and Iogen, alternative fuels do have some mass production problems. It’s not that its hard to make alternative fuels, a lot of companies can. And its not that we aren’t sincere enough to make it, we do. It’s mass production. Look how long it took for Henry Ford to start mass producing the car? MANY YEARS after the development. Now we just have to wait till we find out how to mass produce cellulosic ethanol and clean coal. That plus better batteries for hybrids will help a lot.

  • Stewart

    Very refreshing, I thought the same thing when Philip Morris put out the stop smoking ads… man these companies really do care…

    Has anyone heard of marketing, branding or image development. They want you to think they are putting so much toward new fuel so when you go fill up… my goodness… your helping Chevron help the planet… well good for you!

  • ZT

    Chevron is a corporation, and like all corporations, it will endeveur to make the biggest profit possible. Yes, this means selling every last drop of oil, but it also means dominating the market once that oil is gone.

  • DaS Energy

    In order for any alternate technology to compete with Coal burning is must be able to provide power 24/7 365.

    It makes good politics for Coal burners to support alternative technologies that cost more than Coal to provide power, set-up cost and life of product,against total wattage produced.

    Here in Australia the see through Politics of supporting Carbon reduction are this.

    Coal Carbon capture a never ending cost. Major funding.

    Solar power cant produce power 24/7 365. Lesser funding.

    Geothermal can produce 24/7 365 but cant attach to any power lines. Least funding.

    Cheaper power 24/7 365 and Carbon zero is no more a pipe dream than being able to fly.

    No Government funding is provided to technology which can produce power 24/7 365 and cheaper than power with added cost of Carbon capture.

  • Bruce A. Gardner

    Well, it still gets down to control. who is going to control the energy supplies of the future? if the war continues to escalate in the Mid East, where are we to go for those supplies if there is no one that is willing or capable of selling any of the crude. the energy plan that John Dean came up with during the Nixon administration of building more bombs to take any oil we wanted in the Mid East is not going to fly anymore. and remember, we have to have it at the current rate of usage, and now that China has become our industrialized side of the U.S., they will become out competitor in capturing that energy, which means that we will be paying them more for the products which we no longer produce and we will be our own competition for it. you should review T. Boone Pickens Plan on alternate/wind driven energy plan. he suggests that there could be enough electric energy derived from wind-mills (22%) which would replace the natural gas that is presently used to produce electricity (22%) and that gas could then be used to power engines with a cleaner source of power, which the oil companies now control, since natural gas is found when drilling for oil. i did the development of the first energy field in the midwest, starting in southwestern Minnesota, which now extends into Iowa. If the narrow minded governor of South Dakota would come out from under his rock, he would be able to hook on and in total they could supply 35% of the nations electric needs. if North Dakota were to be added to this grid, in total there could be 65% of the nations electric needs met.

  • Bruce A. Gardner

    By the way, when we did the development of the electric wind generation field in SW Minnesota, the farmers/ranchers who owned the property on the ‘Buffalo Ridge’ (which is the loess wind blown watershed division between the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers), were able to “sell” the “wind rights” over their property to the company that built the mills and supplied the power to the Northern States Power plant and then the property owners took that check into their banks and were able to pay off their mortgages! a win, win, wind solution!

  • Jason in Oregon

    The comments posted about marketing, branding and image development is right…partially. Helping Chevron will help the planet in the long run, if they find a solution to our energy problems. Who came up with the automobile? A businessman or the government? Who comes out with drugs that help to save our lives? A Pharmaceutical Company or the National Institute of Health(GOVERNMENT)? Who has shaped the internet as we know it? A bunch of small and large businesses or the government? I think we all know where I’m going with this. Supporting a company that is trying to increase/improve technology to make money is always going to help bring a solution quicker than relying on the government. I certainly understand that Big Oil and Big Pharma and every other corporation makes tons of money, but they also help us to live our lives and make them easier.

    This is a believable article IF, and that’s a big if, you believe in Capitalism. When men and women are faced with technological challenges, we always find a way. I’m sure that we will find a way off of Foreign Oil and hopefully homegrown oil, too.

    From what I’ve heard, T. Boone Pickens has it right.

    Drill now, More Wind Now, More Clean Coal Now, More Natural Gas…..More energy now and lets try like hell to find a way off of oil permanently!

  • http://gailk@ualberta.ca Gail Kelly

    The point of staying in business is to make money by supplying the demand. We demand alternative energy. Naturally, Chevron wants a piece of this. As one Big Oil executive said to me once, “We don’t have any problem with promoting alternative energy. We just need to figure out how WE can get rich by it.” The question is how will the small suppliers, who did the initial foot work, research, and invested their life savings into starting alternative energy projects, survive under the big foot of big oil?

  • Jon Kelly

    Just as the U.S. became the industrial giant of the world the oil companies seen a future for their products and made all the profits, nearly 100 years ago. Today its time to change the way industry does business. Still American oil giants are trying to find new oil reserves everyday of the year, and in doing so we can enjoy the pleasure of buying the products oil companies sell. Populations will climb and new cars will get cleaner, better fuel mileage, and more oil will be pumped to supply the demand. Oil is not going away fast lets face it who’s got what every super power needs to survive and win a war? or wars? Oil companies. They’ve proven they are more important than jobs for people out of work, and the planet we live on slowly being put to death, yes thats right our oil companies have so much power that oil rallies the stock markets out of depression, and keeps the billions of people around the world fed each day. You see we built our future around oil and the only way to change the future is to start walking, and go back to living like the Amish, any volunteers? I didn’t think so.

  • pooja singh soni

    Oil is not going away fast lets face it who’s got what every super power needs to survive and win a war? or wars? Oil companies. They’ve proved they are more important than jobs for people out of work, and the planet we live on slowly being put to death, yes thats right our oil companies have so much power that oil rallies the stock markets out of depression, and keeps the billions of people around the world fed each day. You see we built our future around oil and the only way to change the future is to start walking, and go back to living like the Amish, any volunteers? I didn’t think so.

  • http://obamanation.com obummerdrummer

    People are so dumb. Big Oil worrying about running out of oil? Don’t you think they’ll charge more of it if they have less of it and demand stays the same? Get your economics theory straight. Have you checked on even one Big Oil company’s balance sheet lately? 23 billion dollars in NET INCOME, for 50,000 employees. You think those 50000 are taking home 400K a year? You bet your ass not. Oil is big money, period.

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