Shell, the Oil Giant, Will Sell Renewable Energy to Texans
The European oil company has been expanding into green energy even as many U.S. energy giants have kept their focus on fossil fuels.
HOUSTON — Shell said on Tuesday that it would begin selling electricity generated from renewable sources to residents and businesses in Texas, a move that brings the European oil company’s shift to green energy to the U.S. market.
The announcement underscores a widening gulf between the strategies of European and U.S. oil companies as elected leaders and consumers demand that the energy industry do more to tackle climate change. European businesses including Shell, BP and TotalEnergies are seeking to expand into renewable energy, electric vehicle charging and other fast-growing businesses as U.S. companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron mostly keep their focus on oil and gas while investing in capturing carbon from industrial plants and biofuels.
Shell, which already has electricity businesses in nine countries, plans to double the amount of electricity it sells by 2030. The company, which is based in London, is Europe’s largest oil and gas business by revenue and has operations in more than 70 countries, including gas stations, refineries and oil and gas fields.
The company has said it aims to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. While many businesses have the same target, Exxon and Chevron have not set similarly ambitious climate goals.
Executives at Shell said its new power business in Texas would offer customers greater access to the wind and solar power that is increasingly abundant in the state. It will also give drivers of electric vehicles free charging at night, when demand for electricity is low, and on weekends.
“Our aim is to lower our carbon intensity,” said Glenn Wright, vice president of renewables and energy solutions for Shell in the Americas. “We have to make tangible steps, especially in this space, where we can engage customers with renewable, cleaner energy solutions.”
Shell said it would eventually expand its retail electricity business to other parts of the United States, including Eastern and Southern states that are part of the PJM energy market, the nation’s largest regional transmission system. The company said starting in Texas made sense because more than 26 million of the state’s nearly 29 million residents were served by a single grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.