Chevron’s Solar Announcement, More Than Hot Air?

Today, Chevron’s PR team is out in full force!

And no, today they’re not lying to the public about their toxic legacy in Ecuador, climate change, their massive greenhouse gas emissions, their expansion into the tar sands of Canada, their human rights abuses in Nigeria, or their massive dirty energy lobbying and campaign expenditures.

Nope. Today, Chevron has got the social media world a-Twitter over their “substantial” investments in renewable energy. Project Brightfield, a 740 kW project with 7,700 solar panels, will be built on an 8-acre dirt plot in California where Chevron formerly ran a refinery that belched out gasoline and asphalt. Chevron’s solar testbed news comes on the heels of the oil giant announcing last month that it will build a 1 MW concentrating solar photovoltaic system on the tailing site of a mine in Questa, New Mexico.

Call me cynical, but Chevron’s “substantial” investments in renewable energy, seem like little more than a typical corporate greenwash move to hide their real crimes in Ecuador and around the world, and deceive the public into believing that they have turned over a new leaf.

Fact is, Chevron hit a new-time low in renewable energy investments in 2009. Antonia Juhasz, oil industry expert and NY Times best-selling author reports:

“In 2009, Chevron spent its lowest amount on green alternative energy since at least 2006, spending less than 2%, or just 1.96% of its total capitol and exploratory budget on green alternatives. And, remember, this is a VERY generous estimate. We are including in this estimate lots of things that are decidedly NOT green.”

Another fact that Chevron “forgot” to mention in their “Project Brightfield” media blitz is that regardless of this Bakersfield, CA solar project, Chevron continues to be the #1 greenhouse gas emitter in California.

Finally, I would love to see how Chevron’s investment in “Project Brightfield” compares to the amount they spend on lawyers, lobbyists, and PR expenses to delay cleaning up their toxic oil legacy in Ecuador and denying the communities justice.

If Chevron wants me to blog and tweet about them as clean energy heroes, they’re going to have to do a helluva lot more. John Watson, Chevron’s new CEO does have a real opportunity to not just talk about turning over a new leaf, but really doing it right now. First step, committing to clean up Ecuador and the rest of your dirty operations around the world.

Those are some press releases I would like to read!

5 Responses to “Chevron’s Solar Announcement, More Than Hot Air?”

  1. 1 Nick Magel Mar 22nd, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    What irony! Chevron wants to develop “test” solar at their Kern River oil extraction facility.

    2 quick things that jump to mind. (I’ll leave the whole Chevron’s accountability in Ecuador thing out of this. the over 900 crude pits left by Chevron in the Amazon speak for themselves)

    1. this is the facility. Whoa it’s a beauty.

    2. Kern River is a HEAVY oil facility(80% is heavy oil). meaning it is the most expensive, polluting, and energy intensive type of oil extraction out there.

    Wonder how much energy goes into each barrel coming out of Kern River?


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About Brianna

Brianna spends her days (and many nights) using media and communications to amplify the voices and demands of people fighting for a more sustainable and equitable future. She's works with Energy Action Coalition, Rainforest Action Network, International youth climate movement, and many others. For the UN Climate Negotations (COP 15) Brianna is working with the Avaaz action factory. Woohoo!

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