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Shell Ditches Wind, Solar, and Hydro

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the do-what-you-know dept.

Earth 883

thefickler writes "Shell has decided to end its investment in wind, solar and hydro projects because the company does not believe they are financially sound investments. Instead Shell is going to focus on carbon sequestration technologies and biofuels. Not surprisingly, and perhaps unfairly, bloggers have been quick to savage the company: 'Between Shell's decisions to stop its clean energy investments and to increase its debt load to pay for dividends, the company is solidifying an image of corporate greed over corporate responsibility.' Is Shell short sighted, or is it just a company trying to make its way in an uncertain world?"

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quick to savage the company... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252349)

quick to savage the company logo is more like it.

fast buck freddie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252449)

He said hold a dollar bill up to the mirror
And I'll show you something funny
It's only a fast buck, but
It's so hard to make that kind of money

Now it's hard to get serious when the joker
Is laughing
And by now the joker is wild
It's hard to keep laughing when a rich man's
Looks like a gun that's gonna smile
What's going on, I ask you
What's going on, can you see?
What's going on, I ask you and
Who's coming on, is it you or me?

Coming on while it's still soft and warm
Burn it dry before the fiery storm
Sing it now while you still have a song
Grab on now while you're still feeling strong

How long, how long would you like it
How long, how long will it be
How long, how long can we take it?
How long before we take it back, you and me
Think fast

I was thinking that I should be singing along
Think fast I think he's coming thru
Think fast, he thinks he's running you
I was thinking that I should be singing along
Think fast, he thinks he's coming in
Think fast, I think he's wearing thin
I was thinking that I should be singing along
Think fast, he's taking all your time
Think fast, you know he's out of line
But who cares, you know you can, you will, you
Know you can

Sing it now while you still
Sing it now while you still
Sing it now while you still have a song^H^H^H^HShell

(airplane not starship - red octopus)

Company motto is "Make sure to be evil" (-1, Flamebait)

yes it is (1137335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252363)

So they recast their company activities to be in line with their company motto. Hopefully they run down the path to irellevance quick smart!

Re:Company motto is "Make sure to be evil" (5, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252425)

Just because they're being shellfish doesn't mean you have to be crabby. :-)

Re:Company motto is "Make sure to be evil" (5, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252505)

With shells like these who needs anemones?...

Corporate culture (5, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252369)

As a company, if they can make more money on oil than on wind, then clearly the shareholders will demand oil. Oil is there bread and butter. I wouldn't expect them to innovate on something that is outside of their corporate culture. Like with the movie and music and software industries; you get innovation and creativity from smaller independent entities, and conservativism from the established entities.

Re:Corporate culture (5, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252531)

so the big question becomes: Is Shell an oil company, or an energy company?

while oil is currently very cheep, it's supply is limited to hundreds of years. Renewable energy is expensive now, but it will not run out for a very long time. (billions of years)

to use a car analogy, Shell has gotten off the future express way and is driving down a dead end street. it may be a very long road, but it will come to an end.

Re:Corporate culture (5, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252559)

while oil is currently very cheep, it's supply is limited to hundreds of years.

I'm not too sure about that. Regardless however, the equation remains stable: when the supply diminishes then prices increase. It's the paradox of people hunting animals to extinction; the more rare the animal the more money hunters can demand for it until there is no more left.

Oil company's need an excuse to change into generic energy companies. By hook or by crook they'll take the path of least resistance to the highest profit margin (whether it be with oil or solar panels).

Re:Corporate culture (4, Insightful)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252591)

To be more precise, limited to some tens of years... The cheapest kind of oil will be depleted in 10-20 years, your lifetime! :)

Re:Corporate culture (5, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252717)

to use a car analogy, Shell has gotten off the future express way and is driving down a dead end street. it may be a very long road, but it will come to an end.

That's not a very good analogy really. Right now, oil is probably more representative of a highway that comes to an abrupt end in a very dry and barren desert; you know that it's going to end at some point, but you are not 100% sure quite where that it is. Alternative energy is a maze of meandering side roads and dead ends that lie to either side of the high way that represent higher short-term running costs, research that leads to economically or environmentally nonviable solutions, or equally bad dead ends as oil. Some of those roads, however, do lead to the future express way and those are the ones we have to find, but the problem is we don't really have a good map yet.

I'd say Shell has simply decided that, right now, they need to sit out The Recession with what to them at least is a safe and financially sound proposition in the form of biofuels, by getting back onto the dead-end highway for a while. This is really just the same basic strategy being taken by all those other business that have been focusing on their core operating markets recently. At least that way they're still moving and they know that the road remains good for a while yet, and it doesn't preclude them from doing a little more exploring of the side roads later on, and there might even be some better maps by then...

Re:Corporate culture (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252773)

agreed. your analogy is MUCH better than mine.

Re:Corporate culture (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252767)

But when the oil is out they can benefit from others investments in renewable energy and expand in that area at a lower cost.

Re:Corporate culture (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252807)

Nah. Shell is a feudalist nation. ;)

As you might not know, they have their own military in Africa. And their own money (oil).

I'm just not yet sure, where their land is. ;)

Can't nuke something, that has no land, can you?
Anyone interested in buying an orbital ICBM?

Re:Corporate culture (2)

Bored Grammar Nazi (1482359) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252625)

Oil is there bread and butter.


Re:Corporate culture (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252697)

Be careful Shell : investors are not family ! Once oil will not be profitable enough, they'll take their shares back and go see a company that spent 10 years building a good solar array network... Don't think that by obeying them, you buy their loyalty.

Re:Corporate culture (5, Insightful)

mike_slashing (1162557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252707)

Problem is that in a couple of years they all get fired and governments have to bail them out.. because they have overcapacity and keep working on deprecated industries (c.f today's strike in France, very much motivated by the auto industry). This shareholding story is BS. Today's boss will want to have his money&bonus today and couldn't care less about the company; if they would, they'd be visionaries... and they're not. So following the (stock)market interests may well be the establishment, but it's not an excuse. We should know better by now and should stop tolerating the establishment's behavior.

Really, all three? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252371)

And thus is our future in the hands of corporations...Just so much to look forward too.

Re:Really, all three? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252589)

Capitalism is the enshrinement of the profit motive. Not only do you worship it, but you're using unfair trade rules, corporate strongarming and even military action to "liberate" the rest of the world from all other methods of social organization.

When you stop thinking that you have the best country in the world, then you can start whining about things like this. Until then, however, bend over and take it like good little consumers.

Now with MOAR POAST Tsarkon Reports Yoda (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252377)

Tsarkon Reports 9 Step Yoda Grease

9 steps to greasing your anus for Yoda Doll Insertion!
v 4.50.3
$YodaBSD: src/release/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/yodanotes/9stepprocess.sgml,v 4.50.3 2009/03/12 05:52:25 tsarkon Exp $

  1. Defecate. Preferably after eating senna, ex lax, prunes, cabbage, pickled eggs, and Vietnamese chili garlic sauce. To better enhance the pleasure of this whole process, defecation should be performed in the Return of the Jedi wastebasket for added pleasure. []
  2. Wipe ass with witch hazel, which soothes horrific burns. (Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda certifies that his lips, raw like beaten flank steak from nearly continuous analingus with dogs, are greatly soothed by witch hazel.)
  3. Prime anus with anal ease. [] (Now Cherry Flavored for those butthole lick-o-phillic amongst you - very popular with 99% of the Slashdotting public!)
  4. Slather richly a considerable amount of Vaseline and/or other anal lubricants into your rectum at least until the bend and also take your Yoda Doll [] , Yoda Shampoo bottle [] or Yoda soap-on-a-rope [] and liberally apply the lubricants to the Doll/Shampoo/Soap-on-a-rope.
  5. Put a nigger do-rag [] on Yoda's head so the ears don't stick out like daggers!
  6. Make sure to have a mechanism by which to fish Yoda out of your rectum, the soap on the rope is especially useful because the retrieval mechanism is built in. []
  7. Pucker and relax your balloon knot several times actuating the sphincter muscle in order to prepare for what is to come.
  8. Slowly rest yourself onto your Yoda figurine. Be careful, he's probably bigger than the dicks normally being shoved up your ass! []
  9. Gyrate gleefully in your computer chair while your fat sexless geek nerd loser fat shit self enjoys the prostate massage you'll be getting. Think about snoodling [] with the Sarlaac pit. Read Slashdot. Masturbate to anime. Email one of the editors hoping they will honor you with a reply. Join several more dating services - this time, you don't select the (desired - speaks English) and (desired - literate). You figure you might get a chance then. Order some fucking crap from Think Geek. Get Linux to boot on a Black and Decker Appliance. Wish you could afford a new computer. Argue that cheap-ass discount bin hardware works 'just as well' as the quality and premium hardware because you can't afford the real stuff. Make claims about how Linux rules. Compile a kernel on your 486SX. Claim to hate Windows but use it for World of Warcraft. Admire Ghyslain's courage in making that wonderful Star Wars movie. Officially convert to the Jedi religion. Talk about how cool Mega Tokyo is. Try and make sure you do your regular 50 story submissions to Slashdot, all of which get rejected because people who aren't fatter than CowboyNeal can't submit. Fondle shrimpy penis while making a Yoda voice and saying, use the force [] , padawan, feeel the foooorce [] , hurgm. Yes. Yes. When 900 years you reach [] , a dick half as big you will not have. []

All in a days work with a Yoda figurine rammed up your ass.



Tux is the result after trimming Yoda's ears off so that Lunix people don't rip themselves a new Asshole

What you can do with you ass after sitting on a GREASED UP YODA DOLL. []

y______________________________YODA_ANUS__- []
o_________________.'_:__`.________________y []
d____________.-.'`.__;___.'`.-.___________o []
a___________/_:_____;__/____;___________d []
s_,'__""--.:__;".-.";:_:".-.":__;.--""__`,a []
e_:'_`.t""--.._'/@.`;___',@`_..--""j.'_`;s []
x______`:-.._J_'-.-'L___`--_'_L_..-;'_____e []
________"-.___;__.-"__"-.__:___.-"________x []
y____________L_'_/.------._'_J___________y []
o_____________"-.___"--"___.-"____________o []
d______________.l"-:_TR_;-";._____________d []
a_________.-j/'.;__;""""__/_.'"-.________a []
s_______v.'_/:`._"-.:_____.-"_.';__`.v____s []
e____.-"__/_;__"-._"-..-"_.-"__:____"-.___e []
x_.+"-.__:_:______"-.__.-"______;-.______x []
_v;___`.;_; I Yoda Have A _____:_:_"+._;__ []
y_:__;___;_;_Greased Up ME In __:_;__:_:_y []
o_;__:___;_:_MY ASS! This Goes__;:___;__:_o []
d:___;__:__; On FOREVER!______:_;__/__::_d []

Ground Control to Yoda Doll Ballad : "Soddity"

Synopsis: --Major Tom goes to the bathroom and shoves a Yoda doll up his ass, and then gimps back to his desk to post AC Trolls on Slashdot. -Yoda Doll to Major Tom. - Yoda Doll to Major Tom. - Take your ex-lax bars and put my do-rag on. - Yoda Doll to Major Tom. - Commencing countdown, rope is on. - Begin insertion and may Goatse's love be with you. -- This is Yoda Doll to Major Tom, - You've rectally been flayed! - And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear. - Now it's time to leave the crapper if you dare. -- This is Major Tom to Yoda Doll, - I'm stepping through the door. - And I'm farting in a most peculiar way! - And my ass looks very different today. - For here... - Am I shitting in the tincan? - Far...too busy posting trolls. -- Slashdot censors you... and there's nothing I can do. -- Uploading one hundred thousand files, - I'm feeling very ill. - I don't think my feces know which way to go. - I can't tell my intestines from spaghetti- - code. Yoda Doll to Major Tom, your prostate's dead, there's something wrong, - Can you hear me, Major Tom? - Can you hear me, Major Tom? - Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear... Am I shitting in the tincan? - My ass like a baboon's - Slashdot censors you - and there's nothing I can do.

The Yoda Pledge

I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
and to the Republic for which it shoves,
one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
with anal lube and ass grease for all.

hello.mpg lyrics.
I'm doin' this tonight ,
You're probably gonna start a fight .
I know this can't be right .
Hey baby come on,
I loved you endlessly ,
When you weren't there for me.
So now it's time to leave and make it alone .
I know that I can't take no more
It ain't no lie
I wanna see you out that door
Baby , bye, bye, bye...

A picture of your ass after YODA. []

Re:Now with MOAR POAST Tsarkon Reports Yoda (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252547)

A+++ for effort

Re:Now with MOAR POAST Tsarkon Reports Yoda (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252605)

I cannot fathom the kind of person who would actually spend the time to write that. Truly, I'm astonished.

Re:Now with MOAR GAY NIGGERS Tsarkon Reports... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252703)


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| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
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` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2009 Gay Nigger Association of America []

Re:Now with MOAR JEWS ROASTING IN OVENS.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252721)

Tod für alle Juden. In die brennende Öfen werden sie!

Die Glorreichen Rede von Reischsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler in Poznan (Posen), (Polen / Poland)

Montag , Oktober 4, 1943 (04.10.1943)

Ich will auch ein ganz schweres Kapitel will ich hier vor Ihnen in aller Offenheit nennen. Es soll zwischen uns ausgesprochen sein, und trotzdem werden wir nicht in der Öffentlichkeit nie darüber reden. Genau so wenig, wie wir am 30. Juni gezögert haben, die befohlene Plicht zu tun und Kameraden, die sich verfehlt hatten, an die Wand zu stellen und zu erschiessen. Wie wir darüber niemals gesprochen haben und sprechen werden. Das war so eine Gottseidank in uns wohnende Takt, Selbstverständlichkeit des Taktes, dass wir uns untereinander nie darüber unterhalten haben, nie darüber sprachen, es hat jeden geschauert und jeder war sich klar, dass er es das nächste Mal wieder tun würde, wenn es befohlen wird und wenn es notwendig ist. Ich meine die "Judenevakuierung": die Ausrottung des jüdischen Volkes. Es gehört zu den Dingen, die man leicht ausspricht. "Das jüdische Volk wird ausgerottet", sagt Ihnen jeder Parteigenosse, "ganz klar, steht in unserem Programm drin, Ausschaltung der Juden, Ausrottung, machen wir, pfah!, Kleinigkeit". Und dann kommen sie alle, alle die braven 80 Millionen Deutschen, und jeder hat seinen anständigen Juden. Sagt: alle anderen sind Schweine, und hier ist ein prima Jude. Und zugesehen, es durchgestanden hat keiner. Von Euch werden die meisten wissen, was es heisst, wenn 100 Leichen beisammen liegen, wenn 500 daliegen oder wenn 1000 daliegen. Und dies durchgehalten zu haben, und dabei -- abgesehen von menschlichen Ausnahmeschwächen -- anständig geblieben zu sein, hat uns hart gemacht und ist ein niemals genanntes und niemals zu nennendes Ruhmesblatt. Denn wir wissen, wie schwer wir uns täten, wenn wir heute noch in jeder Stadt bei den Bombenangriffen, bei den Lasten des Krieges und bei den Entbehrungen, wenn wir da noch die Juden als geheime Saboteure, Agitatoren und Hetzer hätten. Wir würden wahrscheinlich in das Stadium des Jahres 16/17 jetzt gekommen sein, wenn die Juden noch im deutschen Volkskörper sässen. Die Reichtümer, die sie hatten, haben wir ihnen abgenommen, und ich habe einen strikten Befehl gegeben, den Obergruppenführer Pohl durchgeführt hat, wir haben diese Reichtümer restlos dem Reich, dem Staat abgeführt. Wir haben uns nichts davon genommen. Einzelne, die sich verfehlt haben, die werden gemäss einem von mir gegebenen Befehl, den ich am Anfang gab: Wer sich auch nur eine Mark davon nimmt, ist des Todes. Eine Anzahl SS-Männer haben sich dagegen verfehlt. Es sind nicht sehr viele, und sie werden des Todes sein - GNADENLOS! Wir haben das moralische Recht, wir hatten die Pflicht unserem Volk gegenüber das zu tun, dieses Volk, das uns umbringen wollte, umzubringen. Wir haben aber nicht das Recht, uns auch nur mit einem Pelz, mit einer Mark, mit einer Zigarette, mit einer Uhr, mit sonst etwas zu bereichern. Das haben wir nicht. Denn wir wollen nicht am Schluss, weil wir den Bazillus ausrotten, an dem Bazillus krank werden und sterben. Da werde ich niemals zusehen, dass so etwas überhaupt nur auch ein kleine Fäulnisstelle bei uns eintritt oder sich festsetzt. Sondern, wo sich eine festsetzen sollte, werden wir sie gemeinsam ausbrennen. Insgesamt aber können wir sagen: Wir haben diese schwerste Aufgabe in Liebe zu unserem Volk getan. Und wir haben keinen Schaden in unserem Innern, in unserer Seele, in unserem Charakter daran genommen.

Re:Now with MOAR POAST Tsarkon Reports Yoda (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252727)

it's called SATIRE. read moar swift.

Two contradictory theories... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252379)

1. They shreaded Lord Oxburgh's [] employment record.

2. They are maintaining their position that they can't keep building renewable infrastructure forever. They, along with many other multi-nationals have asked for and do need certainty about what constitutes a ton of GHG, how many tons are available, and how they can go about buying and selling it.

Re:Two contradictory theories... (5, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252597)

Exactly. Consider their Energy Scenarios [] study. Essentially, after this study, they asked governments to take the necessary decisions. If you look at what they're doing, they clearly believe that 'scramble' is the scenario we face, and are preparing the company for it.

Shell are a far-sighted company. As with all chemical engineering companies, they need to plan now to build in 5 years, and their plants need to operate at a profit for 20-odd years. The point I'm making is that over time they've become very good at predicting the future.

Neither. They're responsible (-1, Troll)

int69h (60728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252381)

To their investors that is. People like to vilify oil companies as monsters, but they are in fact energy companies. If those alternative energy sources were even remotely feasible you can be sure they would be all over them. I've got a better alternative energy source. Lets strap all of the environmental whack jobs to bicycles and have them the pedal generators to a cleaner tomorrow.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252427)

Let's strap all oil company executives to bicycles instead, it would be a good learning experience for somebody that's never done any real work before~

Re:Neither. They're responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252437)

Or better yet, shove a tube up their asses and harvest the methane, because thats about all those fat lazy bums are good for.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252473)

GP says fuck the hippies and gets and Insightful. Parent says fuck the executives and gets a Troll.

Now, I'm down with the hippie hate, but I guess moderators really do like sucking corporate cock.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252623)

No, the executive-hating parent made no point and clearly has no understanding of the oil industry, if they sincerely believe that oil executives do no work. Nor have they seen people cycling to work at the Shell Centre on the south bank.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252681)

You are right, raping the American people and the environment definitely qualifies as "real work", someday I too hope to rape the American people and the environment just like all my executive heroes.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (4, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252777)

See, troll. Ad hominem and emotive attacks with little or no factual content.

If the evil oil companies are the ones raping the American people, I'm sure glad no American ever bought any oil related products, or voted for some kind of anti-environment President, otherwise they might be considered partly responsible themselves...oh, wait.

The chemical/energy industries are full of scientists, chemists and engineers. There is more of a green attitude in Shell than there is in Parliament/Congress/any government I can think of.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (3, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252483)

The problem is there's a conflict of interest; if they invest in solar/wind and managed to improve efficiency enough to reduce demand for oil then they lose money. They will promote whichever energy source gives them the largest profits, and don't have an incentive to invest in new energy sources when there are hugely profitable oil fields to look for.

Don't get me wrong I'm not a crackpot who thinks you can power the world with solar/wind, but I do think oil companies need a bit of government coercion to invest in research.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252501)

if they invest in solar/wind and managed to improve efficiency enough to reduce demand for oil then they lose money

Before someone comments that they'd be selling panels/turbines instead of oil; remember oil is a commodity, panels/turbines are a technology. They would much rather deal with selling energy rather than selling energy generators.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252805)

According to TFA, Shell have been investing in production facilities (wind farms), in that case they'd be selling energy, not technology.
I seem to remember they used to be one of the biggest investors in PV plants, for which your comment would be true.

Only if you ignore the rest of the world (4, Interesting)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252669)

Sure, if Shell were the only company in the world, they wouldn't have any incentive to invest in alternative energy. But if they don't, someone else will. So while a solar panel sold may be a lost oil sale, Shell would sure as hell rather be the ones profiting on the solar panel.

The problem here is that there is no profit in the alternative energy business, at least not on the scale Shell operates on. One day that will change, but there is still too much oil in the world for that to happen yet.

Another issue at play is the tragedy of the commons [] . The free market model relies on every transaction reflecting the true value of the good changing hands. Thats the idea behind a subsidy; one party is selling a good or service to another party, but the public as a whole also benefits from the service, so the public helps pay for it.

Thats also the idea behind the failed-as-implemented idea of carbon credits. When I buy a gallon of gasoline and burn it, I just paid a company to pump the oil out of the ground, refine it, ship it to me, etc. I even paid taxes for the roads I drive on. But I went and blew all those toxic fumes into the atmosphere, a public resource, without paying for that resource.

The only viable solution to this is to impose a tax on every gallon of gasoline equivalent to the cost of removing a gasoline-gallon's worth of exhaust from the atmosphere. By forcing consumers to pay the true cost of gasoline we will allow the free market system to eventually correct the situation and make renewable energy a viable business model that much sooner. Of course some subsidies won't hurt either, but you can't just subsidize "good" without penalizing "bad".

Mod parent as troll (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252487)

If those alternative energy sources were even remotely feasible you can be sure they would be all over them.

It's not about feasability, it's about rentability. The "environmental whack jobs" say that pollution and ressource waste are an underestimated factor in the real costs. This has been definitly true in the past (if health is of any value to you) and is possibly true even today. Very few people believe that we can continue to run the world we do now for a few hundered years without catastrophic consequences for all life on it.

Of course there are those who believe in a miracle that will save us all and those that say live will probably adapt. At least the latter are right but then we should not care about "The Crisis(TM)" since economy will adapt and we should not care about them getting the hands chopped off because they will adapt or be replaced by fitter individuals. In short the latter have an obvious lack of empathy.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252499)

  1. Lets strap all of the environmental whack jobs to bicycles and have them the pedal generators to a cleaner tomorrow.

    Stupidest idea ever. Funny. But not insightful.

  2. If those alternative energy sources were even remotely feasible you can be sure they would be all over them.

    Why do you think this? Large companies are conservative and short-sighted. Even "long term" planning is at most 10-15 years. The markets are even more short-sighted and especially stupid. "Shareholders" comprise two groups: long-term investors (e.g., 401k's) that want slow, consistent growth. And then there are the short-term traders. They are either idiots or the scum of the earth. Nobody here is willing to take on a good risk on the 20-30 year horizon.

You shouldn't have such blind faith in the free market. It is darn good at solving short-term problems. But, boom-bust cycles are a counterexample to long-term efficacy of "market value."

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252515)

If those alternative energy sources were even remotely feasible you can be sure they would be all over them.

Why? Because they are in a rush to make their existing oil lines, distribution networks, and stations obsolete, and want to shake up the system that is making them money? Not to say they have no interest, but they'd be all over them ONLY if they thought they could make even more money doing so, which they might not.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (1)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252603)

That means 'they are NOT financially sound investments'... :)

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252517)

If those alternative energy sources were even remotely feasible you can be sure they would be all over them.

"Alternative" energy sources are feasible, but they just don't make as much money as oil. In the long run "alternative" energy sources (like wind for example) are much more economically feasible (to ordinary citizens at least) because they don't cause global warming, smog, lung cancer, asthma, etc.

Lets strap all of the environmental whack jobs to bicycles and have them the pedal generators to a cleaner tomorrow.

Generally people use ad hominems when they don't have a valid argument. Emotional appeals and rants often do satisfy the lowest common denominator in society however. It's one of the reasons why people like you often get Moderated Insightful.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (1)

int69h (60728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252571)

Please learn the correct usage of ad hominem before you ever type it again on the internet. Here's one form of ad hominem to get you started.

Oil companies can't be trusted when they say that some alternative energy sources are financially sound investments, because they're just propping up their multi billion dollar fossil fuel industry

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252651)

"Alternative" energy sources are feasible, but they just don't make as much money as oil. In the long run "alternative" energy sources (like wind for example) are much more economically feasible (to ordinary citizens at least) because they don't cause global warming, smog, lung cancer, asthma, etc.

So you need to get your government to legislate for these externalities, because at the moment these have no effects on the economics at all. Shell is inherently a long-run enterprise, you can't just pull a chemical plant out of your backside and start making money. Shell are looking at the long-run and saying that governments will not have the courage to make difficult decisions and so they will scramble towards biofuels as an eco-sop and a way of subsidising farmers.

See here [] , these have been published for some time, and give insight to what Shell are doing today.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252803)

So you need to get your government to legislate for these externalities, because at the moment these have no effects on the economics at all. Shell is inherently a long-run enterprise, you can't just pull a chemical plant out of your backside and start making money. Shell are looking at the long-run and saying that governments will not have the courage to make difficult decisions and so they will scramble towards biofuels as an eco-sop and a way of subsidising farmers.

See here [], these have been published for some time, and give insight to what Shell are doing today.

If they really are thinking in the long term perhaps they should get started on a corporate army while they are at it. I wonder what they will base the bonuses on in that department? Body counts? Total tonnage of ordinance on target?

Re:Neither. They're responsible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252529)

Put all objectivists into prisons and lock them into gigantic hamster wheels while collecting the hot air they generate while screaming about purestrain gold. This plan is guaranteed to generate enough power to launch five space shuttles per day for ten years, plus we would be removing all objectivists from society. There is no downside to this plan, if you disagree, you are wrong.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252617)

People like to vilify Shell because they are total assholes. Do some research on what they did to the women of a Nigerian village who objected to having oil tar poured on their fields. Shell is one of the most evil companies on the planet bar none. You can be an oil company without having people murdered.

Re:Neither. They're responsible (5, Insightful)

F34nor (321515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252689)

Oh yeah and another thing. Oil companies are not 'energy companies' they are 'resource extraction companies' there's a difference.

This relates to an argument about making furnaces better. The furnace company has very little incentive to make a more efficient furnace because they do not have to pay for the consumables and they make a profit off of parts and service. One idea to make HVAC more efficient is to make vertical monopolies within the industry that provide the server of heating or cooling. If the manufacturer has to pay capital costs and variable reoccurring costs then they will make a machine that lasts forever and uses as little resources per unit of heating or cooling as possible. This is why GM killed the EV because they want you to consume parts and service for the (short) life of the car. If GM gave you the service of having a car and had to pay for gas, parts and service you would have 100mpg cars in 10 years that would last a million miles without service. Don't think a million mile per engine car is possible? Look at the Volvo PS-1800, 2 million miles on single engine made in the 1960s.

Oil companies have generated more super wealthy people on this planet than any other human activity; don't underestimate people's ability to do evil when it comes to trillions of dollars.

I can see their logic (2, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252393)

I mean when you really think about it, getting unlimited energy from basically nowhere for next to free over the long run is awfully risky. I mean where's the profit model there? I just can't see it. And how can they calculate a profit margin when the energy is free? Their calculators just keep saying error when they try and divide it out. I can see why they gave up.

Re:I can see their logic (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252489)

fail. it's not free, it's bloody expensive. if a filthy rich oil company can't afford it who can?

Re:I can see their logic (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252511)

I mean when you really think about it, getting unlimited energy from basically nowhere for next to free over the long run is awfully risky. I mean where's the profit model there? I just can't see it. And how can they calculate a profit margin when the energy is free? Their calculators just keep saying error when they try and divide it out. I can see why they gave up.

If it's almost free, then why don't you do it? Surely you can afford to implement an almost free energy generation system.

I'll tell you why: Land, infrastructure, maintenance, delivery, and research are not cheap. You can't afford to do it. Shell has decided it can't, either.

Somewhat offtopic: Personally, I think relying too heavily on air/wind/solar farms to power our future is unwise, for a variety of reasons. Moderate usage of these technologies is prolly a Good Idea, tho'. Nuclear power and extraplanetary solar collection are the power sources I'd advocate, although those ain't cheap, either.

Thats ok (5, Interesting)

Raven737 (1084619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252409)

i think it would be bad anyway if the companies whose primary business is selling fossil fuel also controlled a large chunk of the renewable energy market.
I mean can you say 'conflict of interests'?

Leave it to the little guys that are better (specialized/core business) at it anyway.
And at least now we truly know where they stand.

No Conflict. (2, Insightful)

Inominate (412637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252541)

In fact, it's logical for the oil companies to be behind any future fuels. They already have much of the infrastructure required for it, there is no way any start up can build up to that level in a reasonable amount of time.

This isn't BIG OIL(ever notice how you can put "big" in front of any industry to make them sound evil?) killing renewable fuels, it's a business accepting that these technologies are unfeasible for them. Wind and solar are dicey at best as energy sources. Hydro is made impossible by the very same environmentalists trashing shell.

The issues with biofuel come about from the realities of BIG AGRICULTURE. In the US for example, corn is a staple crop. Why? Because of massive government subsidies, ethanol being one of them. Corn is a terrible way to produce it, but it's kept alive to keep money going to farms.

Biofuel is the here and now, it could be implemented on wide scales quickly and at reasonable cost. But to do so requires farmers to grow something more efficient than corn, and for oil companies to buy into it. BIG OIL isn't retarded, they know they're going to run out of oil and are poised to jump on whatever is next.

Of course, this is all moot because biofuel and solar/hydro solve two different problems. The problem of generating electricity is very different from that of powering cars. The main issue at hand is finding a way to store energy in a sufficiently dense, low cost package to power a car. Today's batteries are awful at this. All the clean power in the world doesn't mean dick if you can't store and harness it.

Firehose:Shell ditches wind, solar and hydro (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252415)

Everybody should STOP BUYING at SHELL

Re: Firehose:Shell ditches wind, solar and hydro (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252647)

Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility--a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.
- Lee de Forest, 1926, inventor of the cathode ray tube

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
- Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM

It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.
- Albert Einstein's teacher to his father, 1895

It will be years - not in my time - before a woman will become Prime Minister.
- Margaret Thatcher, 1974

This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
- Western Union internal memo, 1876

We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.
- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

640K ought to be enough for anybody.
- Bill Gates, 1981

Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.
- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.
- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

We don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.
- Hewlett-Packard's rejection of Steve Jobs, who went on to found Apple Computers

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value.
- Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1911

With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.
- Business Week, 1958

Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.
- Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941

Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.
- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, October 16, 1929.

It's fusion or bust (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252417)

Controlled fusion is the next step for our species. We won't know how hard it is except for retrospectively, but we haven't got much time left.

Nobody wants to save energy. There are billions of people on this planet that would like to use half as much energy as an average American, and no amount of wind or solar is going to deliver that.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252477)

no amount of wind or solar is going to deliver that.

BS. Wind is currently the cheapest source of energy there is(oil can compete when it stays well below 100$ a barrel), and wind continues to get cheaper. The only problem is, that it's not available all the time, or so they want us to believe.

And fusion ? I have to see if it will ever be viable. How are they going to control the plasma ? I think it will cost more energy to keep the plasma in check than they will ever get energy out of it.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252545) you have any data to support that idea? Because I see tons of government subsidies that make wind energy viable, but I didn't see any investment without those subsidies. Facts to back up your claim of wind energy? Zero.

Solar panels are JUST NOW starting to break their 1$/watt barrier. If we DOUBLED solar power usage every year for the next 20 years we would end up getting something like 10% of our power from solar sources. Think about that. AND that assumes having enough silicon for all those solar cells (there isn't enough. It's incredibly resource intensive to acquire silicon).

Wind: More effective than it used to be. Not yet effective without gov't support. And only viable in certain parts of the country, because wind isn't everywhere. Not at the speeds needed. There are also the consistency issues, since wind power does not have a steady output. This causes problems with electric grids dealing with intermittent power supply. So yeah, it probably isn't a good idea. Shell will be much better off waiting for ten years and then jumping into the solar market. Maybe.

Re:It's fusion or bust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252587)

There isn't enough silicon? HAHAHAHAHAHA! You are quite the uninformed moron.

A quick look at wikipedia demonstrates the depth of your ignorance:
"On Earth, silicon is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) in the crust,[1] making up 25.7% of the crust by mass."

Separating silicon and oxygen is expensive. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252673)

Yes, there is a lot of silicon. There is a lot of oxygen. But the silicon is combined with oxygen in sand. The problem is separating the silicon from the oxygen.

Re:Separating silicon and oxygen is expensive. (2, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252755)

Re:It's fusion or bust (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252551)

the only problem is, that [wind is] not available all the time, or so they want us to believe.

I used to wonder if environmentalists were crazy conspiracy theorist whackjobs, but you've gone ahead and removed all of the uncertainty from that question.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252595)

find ANY wind map. look for the largest area without wind. you only have to spread your mills over an area that's much larger.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252687)

crazy conspiracy theorist whackjobs,

I have reason to believe windpower(and solar) is being held back. It is in the best interest of large energy corporations to hold it back, because solar and wind releases the grip of big energy corporations on governments and citizens, because it is MUCH easier to produce locally, and on a smaller scale.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252655)

There are test reactors that produce the same amount of energy that it eats for controlling the plasma. See the ITER project for example (i hope it gets built, some usual childish problems around the place and etc hinders the project somewhat) []

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252525)

Yes. Controlled fusion has been around the corner for the last 40 years. NP mate. In the mean time, we need to focus on cutting CO2/pollution/etc.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252535)

Controlled fusion is the next step for our species. We won't know how hard it is except for retrospectively...

So... we don't know how hard fusion is... but we do know it's DEFINITELY the next step?

Here's hoping it doesn't turn out to be impossible. That'd really suck if our next step was impossible.

No, no, no (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252569)

"[New energy source] or bust" is a very irresponsible thing to say; we need to learn to compromise. But I'll just focus on your particular suggestion of fusion:

  • We don't know when it'll be ready: I went to a talk by one of the guys behind the JET reactor and he said 30-40 years before the first commercial reactor
  • We don't know how much it'll cost: What use will fusion be if it costs more than current power sources?
  • It isn't radiation free: The huge neutron flux it outputs makes the reactor walls highly radioactive, it produces high-level nuclear waste just like any fission plant
  • It needs tritium: Yes fusion plants can produce tritium, but this is a long process and means that even once the technology is ready it'll still be a couple of decades before we have enough tritium being generated to start up large numbers of new power plants

Fusion is very promising, if only because it has no proliferation worries, but other than that all of the advantages that count are already available in fission reactors.

  • The power is cheap and will scale: Many European countries get the majority of their power from it
  • We have plenty of nuclear fuel: There won't ever be a nuclear fuel crisis because before we've used the enrichable uranium ore, and then reprocessed and reused all of the nuclear waste in our breeder reactors, the sun will be dead.
    Think solar is renewable? Not as renewable as nuclear.
  • It's safe: If the only reason for not going for it is an accident 30 years ago when the technology was in its infancy that's great
  • It's available now: We cannot wait for the perfect power supply. We need to change over now. We've got the fuel, the tech, the experience.
    All we need is for the public to get their heads out of their asses and learn to accept compromise.

Re:No, no, no (1)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252701)

I think that accident didn't happen because of the infancy of the technology but because of chains human mistakes operating the facility including turning off the protection mechanism etc.

I think it strengthens and weakens your point at the same time. The technology is already foolproof and we are dumb not to use it. The humans operating the technology are idiots or some of them are idiots. The more plants you have the more chance you'll get some idiot melting it down.

Maybe some regulations can decrease this probability by orders of magnitude though.

Re:It's fusion or bust (1)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252635)

Who cares they don't. I don't think that we can completely kill our planet with waste and other craps. The oil and natural gas is so rare, it's simply not enough the provide all the energy to finish ourselves by waste. When it will be damn expensive to get some energy (and wind and solar panels are more expensive now, and will be when palladium becomes rare too) then people starts to look for saving energy. All problems solved.

Re:It's fusion or bust (2, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252757)

Wind is abundant all over the place. Areas where solar may be restricted due to space (such as densely packed cities with tons of skyscrapers) are the perfect locations for wind power.

It's a well known fact that city streets act like wind tunnels. It may take a shift in construction architecture, to position wind turbines in the right spots(between buildings, up high, where the wind likes to go), but it is doable, and it'd reduce the burden on the power grid a bit.

I'm sure someone will come and say it isn't feasible - but up here in Vancouver, BC (Canada) [] , many tall buildings are being replaced with earthquake-immune ones. They aren't tall like New York - most are just ~30 stories or less - but many actually dangle off central pillars, which is pretty neat.

If they can be rebuilt for a purpose like that, they could also design them to support wind turbines at the top. :P We just have to start planning now, so it can be done in 15 years.

What the? (5, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252423)

FTA: Since biofuels frequently lead to greater emissions than either diesel or gas,

That's not really true... Using Biodiesel can result in 75% less CO2 emissions, at the exhaust pipe.

Some Biodiesels, eg, based on Coconut oil, are incredibly low on emissions.

People who claim biodiesel releases more CO2 are making an argument industry wide, including the converting of existing land not used for agriculture to produce biofuels.

Which is a little dishonest, because there are other technologies being developed that make use of badly salt-affected land to produce Biofuel. (Algae based production)

These technologies actually improve the situation and make use of land that otherwise cannot be used at all.


You're retarded (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252503)

the land that "otherwise can't be used at all" is the naturally brackish wetlands that protect the oceans from our retarded corporate farming policies. "Biofuels" require the raping of nature. Nuclear is, unfortunately, the only plausible short term solution; solar and wind are nice eye candy but have failed miserably to scale or become financially viable. Long term, fusion is the only one that looks good now, but crystal balls are notoriously bad. The brutal reality is that any alternative energy must be cost effective to work. That's just all there is to it.

Re:What the? (3, Informative)

kendoran (1091611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252683)

It is important to take the entire lifecycle into account when measuring CO2 emissions.

While it may be true that biofuels can [potentially] result in 75% less emissions at the exhaust pipe, it's important to factor in the emissions from the process of producing, harvesting, refining, etc when making a comparison to fossil fuels. Excluding emissions from the product lifecycle when making an argument for biofuels is very misleading.

Devil's advocate (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252431)

While it is unpleasant that they are cutting back on other options, putting money into carbon sequestration actually makes a lot of sense for an oil company. Apparently something similar has been done for at least a couple of decades to use injected gas to extract extra oil from wells.

mikeken763 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252463)

the biggest problem with CO2 is trying to achieve less at the tail pipe, when they should be shooting for less at the engine exhaust output

Nuclear.... (5, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252469)

Compared to anything mentioned, the cleanest form of energy is nuclear power, all factors considered. It's the only thing we should be looking at in the long run as a primary source of power for the grid. Wind and solar are great for local uses but not on a large scale. They are incredibly land intensive for a very small output. A nuclear power plant's physical footprint for the power it generates is practically nil.

People just have to stop equating nuclear power with nuclear weapons, and realizing that modern reactors are far, far safer than reactors from half a century ago. Unfortunately, the United States has lost 30 or 40 years of reactor development time compared to other countries.

As usual, radical environmentalists are their own worst enemy. They advocate alternative energy, and then jump up and down when a new solar installation is built on a fictionally endangered habitat or a wind farm causes migratory bird strikes. You can't have it all ways.

You must find a viable replacement for fossil fuels before eliminating them or taxing them to death. Solar and wind alone are not a viable replacement at that scale.

Re:Nuclear.... (1)

tgrasl (607606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252661)

You must find a viable replacement for fossil fuels before eliminating them or taxing them to death. Solar and wind alone are not a viable replacement at that scale.

But how are they going to be developed?

We need to create economic incentives to encourage investment in the development of alternatives, and the only efficient way to do that is through higher taxes on carbon emissions. The people who think fusion is going to save us are mostly the same ones who don't want the government to distort markets, yet somehow expect the government to magically produce viable. It's laughable.

Re:Nuclear.... (1)

Hoski (1249412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252729)

What the hell kind of view of environmentalists is that?! Also, the bird loving people are more conservationist. Srsly. Have a better opinion.

Re:Nuclear.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252745)

nice to see how quickly people are throwing out all the "alternative" energies. Geothermal is not alternative. It's the real energy source we should be putting our money into. Clean, 100% renewable. A hole lasts about 40 years then you move to a new one and you can reinitialise the old one once it reheats. Costs about $10 million per hole. Lack of government willpower to sink money into it on a mass scale for fear of losing jobs is the only thing stopping it from happenning. Google is spending big on making it happen to reduce their data center costs. Big oil will never do it as it takes away half their business.

Re:Nuclear.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252797)

If you consider the radioactive mine tailings and all the other dirty processes that go into producing atomic energy, never mind the issues of handling the waste, it certainly doesn't have a zero footprint.

But, I do agree that it deserves more critical investigation without cold war & terrorism spectres hanging over it...

flamebait (4, Informative)

metalcup (897029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252495)

The post header is a flamebait - and the mods have really screwed up for not having caught it. If you read the TFA (yes yes, I know this is /.), the article headline says "Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels" They are saying that compared to investing in wind, solar and hydro, they want to invest in biofuel reseach, since they think it will be profitable (duh! they are a company - they exist to make a reasonable profit). The impression I got from reading the slashdot post header was that shell has decided to go completely out of alternative energy (/non fossil fuels) entirely. Posting sensationalist headlines is o.k. for mags - why do that here on /.?

Biofuel is pretty unethical (3, Insightful)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252735)

We don't have enough arable land on planet earth to fully convert from oil to biofuel.

Furthermore, it's a physical fuel that must be grown (on land, using fertilizers, pesticides and farm machinery), processed (expending energy) and then transported (expending energy).

Biofuel is only cheap because of gullible (or corrupt) politicians.

Re:flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252747)

I think a valid argument could be made that companies do not "exist to make a reasonable profit." Companies exist to provide a service, and part of providing and maintaining that service relies on making a reasonable profit - this is true, since they cannot provide a service that they can't afford. But their ultimate responsibility is the service, not the profit they make from it.

I do agree with the other points you make, though. And kind of agree with Shell's positioning on the subject, furthermore. As PhantomHarlock stated in an above post, the alternative sources that Shell is forgoing aren't really viable on a large stage.

Some of you need to get over it (5, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252513)

Personally, I am happy that they are doing this. First, Solar PV IS CURRENTLY THE MOST EXPENSIVE generator going. Solar THERMAL is a different thing. It is cheaper than coal is currently, if you do not include salt storage. They are looking at co2 sequestering. Ok. My guess is that shortly, somebody else will create a plant that uses Solar thermal for daytimes and then switches to Natural gas for cloudy/night. Mostly clean, EXCEPT for CO2. Sequester it, and things are good. The nice thing about such an approach is that it WILL lead to more AE.

Likewise, there are MANY other companies doing hydro and wind. Their pulling out will do nothing to harm them. IOW, they will continue.

That brings up the issue of bio-fuels. Far too many of you are thinking in terms of ethanol via corn, sugar cane, etc. That is a red herring (just like hydrogen production is). Skip that garbage and instead focus on converting crap (literally) to gas; ALGAE. There are several companies that are scaling up right now; Solix and Sapphire. Sapphire is doing gas production directly and they currently have it at less than 100/bl oil equivelence. BOTH of these companies need the price of oil to go up to around 80-85/bl and we are approaching that. These companies will likely get money from US and scale quickly. US MAY be a gas exporter within 4 years because of bio-fuels, combined with American cars moving towards electrical powering.

Even now, I look at the dependency that EU has on Russia for Natural Gas, and how Russia has used it. Shell can help break that. Ppl just need to think big and long term.

With that said, I am amazed that Shell, is walking away from things like hydro, and even wind. Foolish on their part. BUT, it still works out.

Re:Some of you need to get over it (1)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252743)

I think wind and solar NOW is not making money. It is too expensive and others are developing it. When it becomes cheaper, the biggest companies start to mass-produce it and kill the smalls that developed them. Not fair. Maybe i could say who cares. People get the tech and clean energy some day. That's what Shell wants.

CSR (5, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252521)

Corporate Social Responsibility is another one of those dishonest and fraudulent business fads, flaunting secondary goal that often contradict with the primary goal of making money. When push comes to shove, guess which one would prevail. Shell is an oil company, set up to make money in oil business. Criticizing it for not being "socially responsible" (however you define it) is like berating a snake for not acting like a cow.

You want renewable energy, set up monetary incentive for it, and be prepared to pay for it.

Re:CSR (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252561)

Actually, a snake, or a person can be punished with death. As such, the vast majority of snakes will not go after a cow. Companies are not. In fact, because we do not hold most execs responsible, it allows them to act in ways that are contrary to even their long term good. In fact, I would say the push over the last 30 years to have American companies pursue profit at all else is what has left these companies in massive debt. Basically, we have amorals running amoral companies.

Re:CSR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252723)

Rubbish. Companies are punished with death. Think firestone for a recent example. And in the firestone example the owners / directors of that company paid with everything they had.


Re:CSR (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252583)

All objectivists deserve to be put on a rocket which is then fired into the Sun. The world becomes a slightly better place every time an objectivist leaves it.

Terrible PR investment (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252523)

If they hadn't gotten into renewable energy, sure there would have been some good PR lost, but take a look at the backlash they're going to get now pulling out of it. The mistake was to get in if they had no staying power.

Bah (2, Insightful)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252563)

Bah, humbug.
Does this mean we can PLEASE break up/ditch/ignore the Corn Cartel... sorry, lobbying group... which is probably the single biggest reason that biofuel is expensive and inefficient and such a bad idea?
Although I'm unhappy to see Shells move, I can't blame them... they aren't really a R&D outfit, and other startups are taking over the role of expanding wind/hydro/solar and making it profitable. Now, if they would just dump all that money into deciding that algae (or, gasp, hemp!) is a much more efficient biofuel, and help get rid of Big Corn, then everyone could win...

Re:Bah (0, Troll)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252713)

The surface of Earth is hardly enough to give people food they want. Why would anyone think it's enough to drive the much more hungry cars and super-computers? :)

Anyway some regulation wave of 5% of fuel should be bio-ethanol drove the food prices to the skies just 1-2 years ago.

This leaves them alone (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252615)

With BP, Arco and other companies at least acknowledging in TV ads that the current 100% reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable and other solutions, along with simply using less, are a must. Shell is an awfully wealthy company and investing 1% of the money they spend on locating new oil sources would finance an awful lot of school/university projects to come up with financially viable forms of alternative energy. This investment would have more than paid for itself just on PR value.

I have never been particularly loyal to any brand of gas, but I think I will start using the BP station 3 blocks down the road that I drive to get home anyway rather than Shell which is just at the highway exit.

stunt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252637)

"end its investment in wind, solar and hydro projects":
twas just a PR stunt so they, as oil company, could
make TV adds for themselves that for once didn't
involve a car.
side note: whats more free then water dropping from
the sky, light shinning from the sun and wind?
not a sound investment? lol

I understand this. (3, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252761)

Wind and solar are a load of shit. They require huge upfront costs, have low reliability, and are hard to transport. Bio fuels, esp. cellulose, TDP, and algaculture are efficient, require low or lower upfront cost and can use existing infrastructure owned by the company.

PGE, Marlborough New Zeland, and some companies in Texas are working with algae. What is algae but the product of billions of years of technical development to be the most efficient solar power device on the planet. It is self replicating and can turn our shit into oil. It can also be used for carbon sequestration (if you burn the oil on site you can vent the exhust through the growing algea to speed up production and capture CO2.) Algae in a best case scenario can create 20,000 gallons of bio fuel per acre of land vs. 18 gallon per acre by corn. It doesn't use up the soil resources, it doesn't need chemical fertilizers created with fossil fuels, and it can per pumped around in pipelines that we already own. When combined with TDP you don't even need to worry about having the most efficient producer of oil or getting contaminated with other strains or bacteria. You can just run the system on whatever green goo grows and then render it down into shorter carbon chains. If another better strain that is more efficient comes along later just inoculate with that one. Don't fucking wait for perfection, just get going.

Thinking you can produce a cost efficient solar system that completes with a primary biological producer shows a painful level of hubris. Want nano-tech power? Wow mother nature already does that.

Cellulose BioFuel (1)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252763)

The biofuel tech I see with the most promise is Celloluse biofuel plants.
Several are being built now in varying sizes, and they can use nearly any type of plant refuse to produce fuel.
Think about the acres of land in highway strips and airports sitting unused but required to be mowed? What if all our lawn clippings
turned into Ethanol? Sure, the fuel/acre is nothing compared to corn, but the organic material is already being created and wasted!
To me, that is as close to 'free energy' as solar and wind (yep, still costs $$$ to build the plants, maintain them, run them, and distribute the product, just like solar/wind)

Shell didn't say they'd "never" invest in solar/wind. As oil prices rise, their interest in solar/wind/etc will rise as well, because the delta profit will be more in it's favor. The only way that's going to happen real soon is if governments make oil power so expensive (taxes or greenhouse regulations) that they change the profit curve. And the hit to the economy isn't something any country seems willing to go through right now.

Tr07l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27252787)

Clean Coal is rubbish (3, Informative)

irober02 (1320181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252789)

Scrubbing a few percent of sulfur or nitrogen oxides from flue gas is one thing but let's suppose they develop technology to scrub all the carbon dioxide -that is, the vast bulk of waste gas from combustion -aside from the (presumably) environmentally benign water. Just how much of the stuff are they going to have to deal with? Stoichiometry and Periodic Table data help here. Ideally, one tonne of carbon (Atomic Weight 12) will generate 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide (Molecular Weight 44). So, roughly speaking, every semi-trailer (or train) full of the back dirty stuff brought into the power plant will require four trucks or trains to carry the waste away! Probably more due to the difficulties of bulk-handling compressed gases. Since we need to store the stuff safely for geological time-spans we also need to consider the volume of the waste collected. One cubic metre of coal will generate perhaps 5000 cubic metres of carbon dioxide at room temperature and pressure. (There's some uncertainty about just how much coal is in a cubic metre. It's not likely to be a solid lump but if it was, there would be 3.6 tonnes. Powdered coal would be somewhat less dense but you get the idea.) That's a lot of champagne bubbles! Obviously the waste gas, once collected, is going to need to be compressed and refrigerated to make the handling challenge more manageable but more energy will be needed for that. The Lake Nyos burp disaster killed 1700 Cameroonians in 1986, so large depositories of carbon dioxide are not to be trifled with. Carbon sequestration is just camouflage for corporate dinosaurs.

That which is subsidized prospers (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252791)

The USA currently subsidizes the oil trade directly [] , and indirectly through foreign policies centered around oil. This includes military spending, a lot of it. If the free market were sane, and the costs were built in to the products that incur them, what do you suppose would happen? What if all spending for military intervention in the Middle East had to be paid for through gas taxes? The effects would be seismic.

We in the US only just now got $80 billion in subsidies for alternative energies in the last stimulus bill from Obama. That's a good start, but had we spent all the money we've spent on the bloody misadventure in Iraq on putting up solar panels, solar chimneys, and wind turbines or more innovative forms of wind power, the world would be a different place, and Shell would be singing a different tune.

Corporations go after the easiest money, quite reflexively. They have no other ethic. They're just not built for it. If you want a world where companies do what's right, change the rules, whether from the capitol or the grassroots.

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