At first glance, it might look like oil companies are pulling out of renewables. At the end of June, BP closed its alternative-energy headquarters. The oil company also has cut its alternative-energy budget and closed several solar factories in Spain. And that's after Shell sold off most of its solar business at the end of 2007. But while solar might not have been the best fit for the petroleum industry, analysts say that oil companies might be better-positioned in renewable fuels – and are seeing some obvious signs of movement into the area.

"My gut [feeling] is that oil companies understand that, at some point, they've got to get into renewables." -- Michael Butler, CEO, Cascadia Capital