Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell said it has urged the Dutch government to come up with bolder offshore wind targets and quadruple the goal for installed capacity to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. Europe’s biggest oil company, which has traditionally invested little in green energy sources, is ramping up renewable energy investments to $1 billion a year by the end of the decade after pressure from shareholders to do so and as it sees governments turning to less carbon intensive and more flexible fuels. Some of its recent activities in renewable energy include winning a contract, as part of a consortium, to build a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands and bidding for an offshore wind licence in the United States.
In the Netherlands, where it is by far the largest listed company, it is lobbying the government to raise its long-term offshore wind target to give investors clarity on priorities further out. “We need to lower the costs of development, but we would also want the Dutch government to come up with the policy for a further rollout of 10-15 GW in capacity for the period until 2030,” said a spokeswoman for Shell in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is lagging other European countries in renewable energy investments and was ordered by a district court in The Hague in 2015 to cut carbon emissions by 25 percent within five years after losing a court case brought by environmental campaigners.The government has since launched a programme to speed up renewable energy projects, including tenders to build 4.5 GW of offshore wind farm capacity and more beyond that.
As part of a group of the Netherlands’ largest companies, Shell has called on policymakers making up the next Dutch government to adopt a comprehensive climate law that will help the country meet targets set out in the 2015 Paris climate accord. Shell said in its sustainability report published on Wednesday that it is “helping” policymakers in the Netherlands to find an energy mix that allows reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The oil major, which operates the Netherlands’ largest operating gas field in Groningen jointly with Exxon Mobil, is also pushing for the use of gas to complement erratic renewable energy production. The Dutch government has capped the amount of gas that can be produced from the Groningen field because of related earthquakes and wants to continue winding down output as part of its emissions-cutting plans. “The largest contribution Shell can make to reducing emissions globally in the near term is to continue to grow the role of natural gas,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said at an industry event last month. (Editing by Susan Fenton)