‘Big Oil’ Now Promotes Renewable Energy – Wind & Solar Spur GROWTH In Fossil Fuel Energy Generation

While it may seem counterintuitive, the expansion of wind and solar energy necessarily leads to the preservation and eventual growth in fossil fuel energy generation. This “paradox” hasn’t gone unnoticed. As good business practice, fossil fuel companies are now actively advocating for and investing in wind and solar technologies.

In an analysis of energy return on investment , the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV) ultimately results in a net energy loss (Ferroni and Hopkirk, 2016). This is significantly due to the associated intermittent (and thus unreliable) availability, requiring backup from sources that provide continuous, all-day-long energy (gas, coal, nuclear, etc.). Solar energy investment therefore leads to a greater dependence on fossil fuel energies.

Likewise, as more wind parks are installed across the Earth’s pristine landscapes, more fossil fuel energy sources are needed to back them up (Marques et al., 2018).

In order for solar and wind technologies to grow their market share, fossil fuel technologies will necessarily be needed to grow alongside them. This is referred to as the “renewable energy policy Paradox” (Blazquez et al., 2018).

Image Sources: Ferroni and Hopkirk, 2016, Marques et al., 2018, Blazquez et al., 2018

Fossil fuel companies have certainly recognized the capacity for wind and solar energy to benefit them financially.

BP, for example, proudly acknowledges they are “partnering” their gas with solar and wind, or “using gas to complement the intermittency of renewables”.

Simply put, wind and solar energies are helpful to fossil fuel companies both for public relations purposes and for growing their bottom line.

Image Source: BP

Exxon is now investing in wind and solar too.

Image Source: HPPR.org

Shell is putting $2 billion into solar and wind technologies as well.

Image Source: GreenTechMedia.com

Chevron has added an entire renewable energy division and operates wind farms and solar projects.

Image Source: Chevron

With their growing advocacy for solar and wind energy, the characterization of fossil fuel companies as the enemies of “green” or climate change-friendly technologies seems to be increasingly unsupportable.

“Big Oil” may very well be on the same side as those championing (perceived) global warming solutions.

It’s just that each side may not be promoting wind and solar energies for the same reasons.


Image Source: Teklu, 2018

11 responses to “‘Big Oil’ Now Promotes Renewable Energy – Wind & Solar Spur GROWTH In Fossil Fuel Energy Generation”

  1. sasquatch

    Translation: Without coal and oil, solar and wind will be impossible.

    You need hydrocarbons/carbon every step of the way. In the final analysis, analyses, that means the sun, nothing else, end of story, anything else is moot.

    A new modern wind turbine has 60 gallons of gear oil in the gearbox. It needs to be changed. What industry out there is able to provide a steady supply of synthetic gear oil?

    Wind and solar are wholly dependent on the oil industry just like any other machine out there, a marine engine to move a ship to a train engine to move a train to a tractor to plant crops, fossil fuels power it all, solar and wind included to the very end of the argument. A solar panel is an engine, it can do work.

    Just more bunkum and bosh from the peanut gallery.

    Fossil fuels won’t go away, wind and solar need them in the worst way.

    Big Oil is more than happy to accommodate the chicanery, the maelstrom of the malaise. It’s the oil conundrum and all of that nonchalant jazz.

    Pickens wrote in the book that he told neighbors they wouldn’t see the towering turbines near his ranch “because they’re ugly.”

    Everybody else has to put up with what T. Boone Pickens will never have to experience.

    Just another idiot duplicitous billionaire who could care less unless it pays. If you suffer, too bad, sucker.

    Since T. Boone is in the oil bidness, wind and solar are ok as long as it is someone else’s backyard, not his.

    Another stupid hypocrite that deserves more than the hell that awaits him.

    Come on, it’s funny. It is better to be a cynic, more fun that way.

    1. John F. Hultquist

      T. Boone Pickens
      He also wanted to be in the water business.
      Not sure how that worked out.
      The idea was that if wind needed a power line corridor,
      he could piggy-back a water supply line therein.

  2. MGJ

    For any company with a ton of cash, a whole load of political influence and access to lots of juicy subsidies, it would seem foolish not to get on board the gravy train. Plus of course they can claim to be virtuous at the same time.

  3. John Brown
    1. Yonason

      I think that sums it up nicely.

      1. Yonason


        My comment was specifically to MGJ. Sorry.

        But, yes John, your link appears to be a good illustration of how they play the game.

  4. John F. Hultquist

    Rather than calling the locations of photovoltaics and turbine towers “parks” or “farms” , here are better terms:

    industrial scale solar factories

    immense wind factories

    A couple of terms that should be used widely and often.

  5. RickWill

    The current version of wind and solar generators are UNRENEWABLE. They are a net source of CO2 because they require more energy to replicate them than they can provide over their lifetime in modern industrial society.

    Using the term “renewable” to describe intermittent wind and solar generators in their present form is highly misleading. That is where the con job starts.

  6. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #362 | Watts Up With That?
  7. Weekly Abstract of Local weather and Power # 362 – Next Gadget

    […] ‘Big Oil’ Now Promotes Renewable Energy – Wind & Solar Spur GROWTH In Fossil … […]

  8. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #362 - Sciencetells

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. More information at our Data Privacy Policy