The winner of the 2019 Award for Leadership in New Energy is energy company Royal Dutch Shell, which stands out from its peers with bold investments and ambitious targets to transition its business model and provide leadership in the clean energy economy.
The company has broken new ground in the last year with a long-term ambition and short term targets to lower the greenhouse gas emissions to be burned by the products it sells to consumers. That comes on top of existing targets to lower its own on-site emissions or the emissions burned from the electricity or fuels it purchases for its operations.
The Anglo-Dutch major’s goal is to achieve a 20% reduction in the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells – often called “Scope 3” emissions — by 2035, followed by a 50% reduction by 2050. In the shorter term, Shell has linked a targeted reduction of 2% to 3% in its net carbon footprint to executive pay through 2021.
“Shell has taken its climate strategy up a notch in the last year with its targets for lowering greenhouse gases of its products,” said Lauren Craft, editor of EI New Energy. “On top of that, Shell has brought its experience and know-how to many emerging sectors in the clean energy economy, including hydrogen, offshore wind, electric vehicle charging, and carbon capture, among others. These actions demonstrate that oil companies shouldn’t be pushed to the sidelines — they are valuable players in the difficult, challenging task of decarbonizing the economy.”
Shell has also stood out from the pack in recent years through its growing focus on electric vehicle charging at its fuel stations in Europe. In 2017, it purchased NewMotion, one of the biggest electric charging operators in the continent, and has joined forces with some of Europe’s biggest car manufacturers to build up to 500 high-powered charging points across 10 European countries.
Shell looks to continue its bold strategy in the future, with Shell executives noting a slew of steps the company is eyeing by 2050 to achieve its strict emissions targets. These include increasing gas production to roughly 70% of its portfolio, selling 50 billion liters of biofuels, and buying output from 200 offshore wind farms and selling it to customers. CEO Ben van Beurden has said this plan could also involve selling enough electricity on Shell fuel stations to power the equivalent demand of Australia and Argentina and planting enough forests to cover the US states of Oklahoma and New Mexico.