Royal Dutch Shell Group, the second largest oil company in the world, says half the energy needs in industrialized countries could be met by 2020 from renewable energies and natural gas.
HOUSTON, Texas – “Sustainability and good business go hand in hand,” says the managing director of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Jeroen van der Veer says Shell’s push to boost natural gas production and invest in renewable energy are a response to consumer demand for cleaner energy but will also be good for the company’s bottom line. Coal, oil and natural gas provide 85 percent of the world’s energy needs and that status will not change overnight, but he says the oil industry needs to respond to public concerns about the role of fossil fuel combustion in raising global temperatures. “The oil industry cannot ignore the issue of climate change,” and must shift from coal and oil toward increased use of natural gas for its lower carbon content, as well as long-term investment in the development of renewable energy sources. “We are witnessing an historic shift from to oil to gas to renewable forms of energy, and a growing business commitment to sustainable development,” he explains, adding that Shell will invest $500 million over five years in renewable energy sources. “This is not being done for philanthropic reasons, but because we believe that there is a real business opportunity out there,” he explains. “Over the next 20 years, customer demand in this area is going to grow significantly.” “There is always the danger that we take our eyes off our long-term strategic objectives” to handle the current energy crisis, he explains. “The oil industry cannot ignore the likely impact of domestic and international initiatives to address global climate change, or its own responsibilities in this area.” “Our industry needs to be more active in investing for the energy needs of tomorrow, and meeting the changing economic, environmental and social concerns of our customers and stakeholders,” he adds. “Environmental, social and ethical issues are therefore central to building brand loyalty and to ensuring long-term competitive advantage.” The five year investment program of Shell Renewables recently resulted in an agreement with Siemens Solar GmbH to increase co-operation in solar energy and to expand the past decade of solar activities in Asia. “While oil and gas remain essential for the health and wealth of modern economies, our steady progress towards developing viable renewable projects and building a broader energy strategy must continue,” he concludes. “Our long-term investment in commercially viable renewables, in new energy solutions such as hydrogen and fuel cells, and in cleaner fuels are all helping us to meet new customer and stakeholder expectations. They’re helping us to earn our licence to grow, and helping us to contribute to a more responsible, sustainable and successful future.”