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Chevron makes it official with sale of Renewable -Energy Unit

Chevron Energy Solutions solar panels atop former landfill in the city of Dinuba, Calif.

Photograph by Chevron Energy Solutions vi PRNewsFoto –  Chevron Energy Solutions solar panels atop former landfill in the city of Dinuba, Calif.


Chevron (CVX) has finalized the sale of its renewable-energy subsidiary, Chevron Energy Solutions, to OpTerra Energy Services, a Chevron spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.


The sale, on Aug. 29, marks the latest in a series of moves away from renewables by the oil company. Earlier this year, Chevron sold a 48-person division that builds renewable projects and energy-savings retrofits for federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense.


OpTerra is backed by Oaktree Capital Management (OAK), a private equity firm in Los Angeles, according to OpTerra’s website. It develops energy-savings projects, as well as clean-energy systems from technologies such as solar and fuel cells.


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Bloomberg Businessweek first reported the expected sale of Chevron’s clean-energy subsidiary in June.


Chevron declined to comment on the price of the transaction or the number of its employees moving to OpTerra. The company said in a statement that the sale “is part of an internal strategic focus on supporting Chevron’s Upstream and Downstream businesses. Chevron continues to believe that energy efficiency and renewable energy are an important part of the overall energy mix, and operates a portfolio of renewables, including wind, geothermal and solar.”


A spokeswoman for Oaktree Capital declined to comment. An OpTerra representative previously declined to comment about the transaction and didn’t respond to a new request for comment today.


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Chevron Energy Solutions was first acquired by the oil company in 2000 and has long been a centerpiece of Chevron’s efforts to pursue renewable energy. A decade after acquiring the division, Chevron said the group had developed hundreds of renewable and energy-efficiency projects that were “reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3 million metric tons.”


In addition, Chevron executives frequently promoted the division’s clean-energy work in speeches and in testimony (PDF) before Congress.

Last month, though, Chevron confirmed that it had suspended two solar projects at a refinery in Hawaii, which would have spanned about 20 acres and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about 5,000 tons apiece.


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And earlier this year the company dismantled a renewable-power group whose mission was to create large, profitable clean-energy projects, Bloomberg Businessweek reported in May. The group had almost doubled its internal profit targets in 2013, while helping to launch solar and geothermal projects capable of powering tens of thousands of homes.
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