Is it Greenbang, or does Shell also remind you of a cartoon baddie? How about the Hooded Claw? Remember him? He was the cloaked fiend who endlessly chased Penelope Pitstop. Greenbang could imagine Shell tiptoeing around, wearing a billowing cloak, a shiny top hat, twirling its moustache and occasionally pausing to emit bursts of eldritch laughter.
Well, Shell’s latest antics have done little to disabuse Greenbang of its impression. To a clamour of loud boos and jeers, Shell has pulled out of the London Array, the proposed £2 billion Thames Estuary wind farm which would be the world’s largest.
London Array partners, government and environmental groups have sung a chorus of disapproval of Shell for leaving everyone in the lurch. They’ve expressed it in rather muted terms, but Greenbang can tell they’re not happy.
Let’s start with Shell’s main partner in the project, E.ON UK. E.ON reckons that Shell selling its stake will throw the financial viability of London Array into question. E.ON UK’s Chief Exec Dr Paul Golby told The Telegraph:
“Shell has introduced a new element of risk into the project which will need to be assessed,” Dr Golby said. “The current economics of the project are marginal at best… I believe that, at the very least, some delay to the project is now inevitable.”
How about the government? As The Telegraph points out, wind farms are a big part of the government’s plans for renewables to provide 15 percent of the country’s power by 2015. Shell pulling out of London Array will throw this into, well disarray. According to reports, Environment Minister Hilary Benn told the Commons:
“I have to say, the news that Shell wishes to sell its stake is very disappointing. And I think a lot of people would want to understand why, especially in a week in which the company has announced record profits.”
And the environmental groups? Not mincing his words was Greenpeace chief policy adviser Benet Northcote, who was reported by The Guardian as saying:
“Unless it puts its money where its mouth is and invests seriously in clean energy then Shell will rightly be known as one of the biggest climate villains on the planet.”
While there is some hope that a private equity or energy company will buy Shell’s stake, it’s unlikely that Shell will be in anyone’s green good books any time soon – especially since it’s just posted a first quarter profit of £4 billion.