Monday, October 09, 2006

Chevron invests in renewable fuels

The Chevron Corporation is teaming up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to research and advance renewable fuels (also called biofuels). The 5-year agreement focuses on converting cellulosic biomass (plant and animal wastes) into biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel.

Chevron has invested in many renewable energy technologies, but primarily geothermal. Renewable energy, especially energy efficiency, has been touted as a central philosophy of the company. Vice Chairman Peter Robertson has stated, "It makes good
economic sense and we do it - I think it is very important for the future of our business."

Many oil companies and utilities have widely publicized their commitments to renewable energy. Is it enough? BP was looking good with its wind investments and "Beyond Petroleum" rebranding, but earned the ire of many after its sloppy maintenance of a major Alaskan oil pipeline. And it's been pointed out that Chevron's commitment to renewable energy is just 2% of the company's total profit. To truly blow open the U.S.'s renewable energy markets and slow global warming at the same time, we need a more vigorous commitment from our business friends, and the policies and incentives from Congress and the states to support them.

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