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Are big oil companies a factor that is slowing down the use of renewable energy?

Key Words

energy, cost effective renewable energy implementation, oil companies, short-term costs, production, life cycle accounting, vehicle manufacturers


Big oil and coal still provide for most all of the global energy needs. As consumers, we have been addicted to both: oil for transportation and coal for electric generation. For the past century, their cost of production has remained less than the startup costs for renewable energy.

Times have changed.

You now find several of the world's largest fossil fuel providers are now merging, buying and developing renewable and energy efficiency divisions.

Now, some of the largest oil and gas companies have become leaders in the solar (Shell and BP) and wind industries (GE). They have invested heavily as market share grows into viable business opportunities. In fact, the solar and wind sectors have grown at 20-30% over the past 5 years.

These firms are aware that fossil fuels are a depleting resource, and expanding into the renewable sector makes economic sense. When total life cycle accounting is used (including all externalities), renewable energy sources are more cost effective.

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Updated: 2016/06/30

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