Welcome to the March edition of G.E.R.’s Top Ten Players in Green Energy. This month Chevron and its pragmatic green strategy takes the lead. Our ranking looks back over the previous month and takes into account a player’s ability to influence the cleantech industry, whether it be because of a forceful policy position, access to funding or a combination of the two.
Over the last decade, some oil and gas majors jumped right into the green energy revolution, hoping to leverage their considerable cash and energy expertise into a profitable sideline in renewables. That tactic has not weathered the recession well, as BP has shown in the last year. Enter Chevron with a new approach. The California-based company has been easing into green energy with an eye towards making its core oil and gas business less energy intensive. In March, The company opened Project Brightfield, an 8-acre facility to test solar panels under different conditions and compare the performance against benchmark technologies. Chevron is also testing concentrating photovoltaic technology at a mine in New Mexico and solar steam technology in Central California. It’s not a strategy that’s going to save the world, but it is moving green energy forward.
2: Steven Chu, Energy Secretary
Every day, there is one thing you can be sure Energy Secretary Chu thinks about: China, and how can the U.S. beat the rising green power to lead the global green economy. These days, the Secretary is not mincing words, reminding anyone who’ll listen that failure is not an option. He’s blunt and says that right now, void of any climate change law and paralyzed by the loud voices of climate change deniers, the U.S. is losing that race! At a press briefing last month, Chu told reporters that on China, “the U.S. should sit up and take notice.” He added: “The [Chinese] leadership increasingly sees economic opportunity in cleantech… Having missed the industrialized revolution and the semiconductor revolution, they do not want to miss this opportunity.”