Royal Dutch Shell Is Making An Effort — Will It Be Enough?

Shell was one of the major sponsors of the Gladstone Ecofest. It has a stated goal of building a low-carbon integrated power business in Australia in line with customers’ evolving energy needs. Part of its strategy is the purchase of assets deemed to be environmentally friendly. Royal Dutch Shell is making an effort — will it be enough? Here is a summary of some of its media releases.

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Image courtesy of Shell

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Image courtesy of Shell

February 2019

“Shell has agreed to acquire 100% of sonnen, a leader in smart energy storage systems and innovative energy services for households.

“‘Full ownership of sonnen will allow us to offer more choice to customers seeking reliable, affordable and cleaner energy,’ Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President New Energies at Shell, said.

“sonnen offers smart energy storage to customers and offers digital energy services via its sonnenCommunity platform. For example, the sonnenBatterie optimises the use of solar power in a household and supplies energy at night using stored solar power generated in daytime. sonnen has been a pioneer in the energy market by combining its technology with new business models for a decentralised energy system. Recently, sonnen put Germany’s biggest virtual battery into operation. It is based on a network of home electricity storage systems across the country to help balance power supply and demand on the power grid.”

December 2019

“ESCO Pacific and Shell have announced today that they have formed a strategic partnership, combining ESCO Pacific’s solar development and asset management expertise together with Shell’s global scale and energy capabilities. Shell has purchased 49% of the business.

“ESCO Pacific is a successful and experienced Australian focused utility scale solar developer, having delivered to market nearly 500MW of projects since 2017, with a further 350MW of solar assets under long term management.

“ESCO Pacific’s Founder and Managing Director Steve Rademaker said, ‘ESCO Pacific has been one of the fastest-growing independent solar developers in Australia. We’d like to build on that growth and continue our rapid scaling by leveraging the resources that the Shell investment makes available to us. This partnership is a testament to the success of our strategy, our business and our team’

“Shell Australia Country Chair, Zoe Yujnovich added, ‘Today’s announcement of Shell’s investment in ESCO Pacific, coupled with the recent acquisition of ERM Power, supports a pathway for Shell to supply more and cleaner energy to utility, commercial and industrial customers in Australia. As the energy mix shifts in the years ahead, Shell intends to grow with the creation of a material integrated power business.’”

August 2020

“Shell Australia acquires 100% of Select Carbon, a specialist company that partners with farmers, pastoralists and other landowners to develop carbon farming projects throughout Australia.

“This is Shell’s first acquisition globally for its Nature-Based Solutions business, which invests in forests, grasslands, wetlands and other natural ecosystems around the world to reduce emissions and capture more CO2 while benefiting biodiversity and local communities. It will contribute to Shell’s ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society. There is no single solution to tackling climate change and Shell supports nature-based carbon credits as one addition to robust decarbonisation throughout the global economy.

“Select Carbon has developed and manages a portfolio of over 70 projects covering about 9 million hectares across different ecosystems and agricultural uses, including in Australia’s diverse rangelands. The carbon credits** generated through Select Carbon’s projects are offered for sale through the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund and other markets, creating an additional revenue stream for farmers and landowners.”

June 2022

“Shell Energy Operations Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell plc (‘Shell’), 2022 today  announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 49% of Australian wind farm developer, WestWind Energy Development Pty Ltd (‘WestWind’), which has a 3 gigawatt (GW) project pipeline across Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

“Shell Australia Country Chair, Tony Nunan, said: ‘Meeting our customers’ energy needs today and into the future by developing renewable energy is core to Shell’s strategy.’

“WestWind has permitted approximately 2 GW of wind projects and aims to progress a further 3 GW of renewable capacity in the coming years.”

The world cannot transition from climate-destroying fossil fuels without the cooperation of the major oil companies. As they reconfigure their energy assets from oil, coal and gas to wind, solar, and batteries I would encourage them to do so with the urgency that the crisis demands. Royal Dutch Shell is making an effort — will it be enough?


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