The tide is beginning to truly shift in the post COP21 energy industry as more and more large energy companies previously devoted to oil and gas are beginning to diversify their investments and projects towards a greener profile.
This is a stark contrast to the greenwashing we’ve been seeing since the mid-2000s, for example BP’s award of the Emerald Paintbrush from Greenpeace, a satirical award given to the company for its efforts in greenwashing their sustainability and renewable energy practices. The company touted their CSR and sustainability efforts for new investments and ventures, when really in the year of the award, the company had only devoted less than 4% of new investments to the exploration of renewable energies.
The time of easy greenwashing has passed and it seems that companies are truly looking for ways to be truthful in their CSR and adaptive sustainability measures.
Statoil has been wisely starting to diversify its business lines outside of traditional oil and gas over the last year with a particular acceleration in activity in 2016. Eldar Saetre, Statoil’s CEO has shown a rare degree of vision (for the O&G space) in this regard since taking over Norway’s largest oil and gas company early in 2015.
Statoil is a great case study of this shift, who has recently diverted a large amount of their new investments into wind and offshore battery projects. Statoil AS has acquired a 50% interest in a €1.2 billion wind project that E.On AG, Essen, will build and operate offshore Germany.
The Arkona project will include 60 Siemens turbines installed in 23-37 m of water in the Baltic Sea 35 km northeast of Rugen Island. It is to be fully operational in 2019 with installed capacity of 385 Mw.
Before entering the German project, Statoil had interests in wind-energy projects off the UK and Norway.
It is a sign that renewable energy is starting to become attractive enough as an investment opportunity that conventional profit driven energy companies see the sector as an opportunity.