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Shell plans to increase the annual amount of money it invests in renewable energy to US$4 billion, the supermajor’s head of gas and new energy, Maarten Wetselaar told The Guardian in an interview.
The figure is double the maximum current annual investment Shell has allocated for cleaner energy initiatives but the increase will only materialize if these initial investments prove to make financial sense.
“I would like my current business to be financially credible enough for not only the company, but shareholders, to want to double it and look at more,” Wetselaar told The Guardian.
Shell has pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent over the next five decades as it shifts to more renewable energy, including biofuels, and boosts operational efficiencies, in the latest sign that one of the world’s top Big Oil players is determined to move away from its principal business.
"Our view is if society needs to tackle the dual challenge of climate change but also accommodating higher demand for energy — as of course the energy poor need to get access to energy as well — we have to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy system as a society to a net zero level," chief executive Ben van Beurden said last year.
Shell has been subjected to activist shareholder pressure in this respect as well. For four years in a row, Follow This, a Dutch investment group targeting oil supermajors, has been tabling resolutions requiring the company to move more deeply into renewables and away from its core business in oil. Next year will not be an exception: Follow This has already filed a resolution to be voted at Shell’s 2019 AGM, a resolution seeking to force the company to move its business goals closer to Paris Accord commitments undertaken by more than a hundred countries.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.