Big Oil Races to Become Big Clean

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"It's not a choice if we should do renewables. We need all of it."

The realization that diversification of energy is in everyone's interest has shifted perceptions and the big oil companies, the likes of BP and Shell, have taken the lead in alternative energy.

Companies like ExxonMobil now proudly claim to "be part of the solution, not the problem," as the main problem with fossil fuel has been one of big pollution and big profit. If profit is a necessary condition to drive investment in the energy business, pollution of the atmosphere is no longer an acceptable option, most of these companies say.

But we must be realistic about the energy mix and realize that we need "more diversification and investment in conventional and non-conventional energy as fossil fuel will [be] with us for decades to come," said Vahan Zanoyan, PFC Energy Chairman, long-term veteran of the energy business, economist and now CEO of First Energy Bank.

While many of the oil companies may have been brought kicking and screaming to the alternative energy space, leading chief executives say they are now here to stay. "It's not a choice if we should do renewables. We need all of it," said Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Shell. "We need conventional oil, unconventional oil, gas, renewables and nuclear. There’s more than enough space for all."

The global recession may have dampened energy demand this year, but in the longer term, The International Energy Agency says that world energy demand will double by 2030 as the population grows to close to 9 billion.

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