Top Ten Cleantech Initiatives of Chevron

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Chevron is a multinational energy corporation located in the United States but active in over 180 countries worldwide. Chevron is engaged in a number of industries, including gas, oil and geothermal energy. Chevron is known as one of the six “supermajor” oil companies in the world. In the last five years, Fortune 500 has listed Chevron as one of the five largest corporations in America. Forbes Global 2000 listed Chevron as the sixteenth largest public company in 2011. Even though they deal with oil and gas exploration, Chevron has been involved in a number of clean technology initiatives.

1) Chevron Energy Solutions. A national leader in clean energy development and innovation, Chevron Energy Solutions established a variety of sustainable energy initiatives that will increase energy efficiency and renewable energy, reduce energy costs, and ensure reliable, high quality energy for education, business, and government facilities. The objectives of Chevron Energy Solutions initiatives are to reduce harmful environmental impacts, reduce taxes, improve energy efficiency in public buildings, support sustainability objectives, advance energy security, and increase economic growth on a local level.

2) Chevron and Solar Power. In the state of California Chevron is known as the largest developer of solar photovoltaic projects. Chevron is credited with being the top installation company of solar products in different educational institutions. To date, Chevron has installed more than 128,000 solar panels. The San Jose k-12 Unified School District was the recipient of the largest solar power program and the Contra Costa Community College District, through Chevron, has the biggest solar power system of all higher education institutions throughout America. Lastly, Oakland, California’s Postal Service office has the largest rooftop solar energy system of all federal systems in the United States.

3) Chevron Uses a Solar Plant for Steam Generation. To build a solar thermal plant in California, Chevron employed solar startup company BrightSource for assistance. However, this will not be used for electricity but for steam generation. This energy will be used to get oil from below ground level. Sergio Hoyos, a business developer with Chevron Technology Ventures said that even thought natural gas cannot be replaced by solar thermal power when it comes to steam production, it will provide the oil company with a beneficial opportunity to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and utilize a good source of renewable energy.

4) Chevron Looking to Tap Geothermal Energy in Indonesia. A number of utility, energy, gas, and oil companies are entering into Indonesia and looking for geothermal energy – Chevron is one of them. To date, Chevron has drilled more than 80 wells, with each one going down approximately two miles. The energy that is trapped is able to provide enough electricity for Jakarta. The Indonesian president has offered a number of subsidies to Chevron and other companies that are drilling for clean energy.

5) Chevron Offers Energy Solutions for Schools. Chevron was asked by the University of California, Davis to assist them in making their West Village campus a net-zero energy user. Aside from passive solar technology and other energy efficiency designs, the developers at Chevron are looking to use onsite solar panels as well as a biodigester. “What we valued that Chevron Energy Solutions provided is a comprehensive input on an evolving area, both in energy conservation and renewable energy generation,” says Nolan Zales of Carmel Partners, the co-developer of UC Davis’ West Village. “Within their shop they have skills that address a whole array of issues: technical, financial, regulatory. … They’re the most comprehensive.”

6) Chevron a Part of Completing Hawaii’s Largest Solar Parking Canopy Project. Chevron Energy Solutions has partnered with Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Tioga Energy to create an 856 kilowatt solar system at the Mililani Tech Park. This will be the largest solar parking canopy project in the state of Hawaii. Chevron Energy Solutions are attributed with designing, engineering, and constructing the solar project, which includes solar photovoltaic panels placed on two building and parking canopies. This project is expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions equal to the carbon sequestered annually by over 225 trees. This new instillation is expected to assist Oceanic Time Warner Cable with achieving Gold Certificate LEED status with the USGBC.

7) Chevron Partners with High School for Two Megawatt Solar Project. San Dieguito Union High School announced with Chevron Energy Solutions in February 2011 the completion of a two megawatt solar project that is expected to save the school district over $10 million during the course of the project. The solar project is producing an estimated 70 percent of all electricity needed. Because the district is reducing how much utility power it buys, the district has been able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,200 metric tons. The cost of this project was offset by over $4.7 million which was obtained through a rebate from the California Solar Initiative and additional funding was provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

8 ) Chevron Completes Solar Project at Santa Monica College. Santa Monica College in California partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions in October 2010 for the construction of a new solar and energy efficiency project that will save the college over an estimated $14 million throughout the life of the new project. This project included a 408 kilowatt solar system that will generate power for two garages and a significant amount of the Business Education Building. Chevron designed, engineered, and installed the system and they operate it as well.

9) Chevron Works on a Number of Energy Efficiency Initiatives in Orange County. Chevron Energy solutions currently has a number of projects being worked on in Orange County, California. These projects are expected to save the local City of Brea and two school districts in the county over an estimated $40 million throughout the life of these projects via energy efficiency improvements as well as the installation of over three megawatts of solar power generation. These projects are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emission by over an approximated 88,000 tons.

10) Chevron Works with City of Brea for 1.8 Megawatt Solar Project. Chevron Energy Solutions and the California City of Brea announced the beginning of construction of a solar and energy efficiency project that is expected to save the city over $13 million in net energy savings throughout the life of the project. Brea will soon become the largest municipal production of solar energy within the entire Orange Country once 1.8 megawatts of solar panels are installed throughout the Reservoir City Pump Yard, Civic and Cultural Center, and Community Center. These projects are expected to reduce energy use by over 40 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 86,000 metric tons. As well, the project is slated to stimulate the local economy by creating over 100 jobs.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.