From our bird's-eye view of the renewable energy industry, we often see positive developments for humanity before they become common knowledge. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the clean energy innovations and sustainability actions that are legitimate cause for optimism despite the very real threats to people and the environment posed by climate damage.
by ReVision Energy co-founder Phil Coupe
Can you think of an industry that has had to survive decades of unrelenting attacks from the most powerful competitor on earth? If you guessed that ‘David’ is the renewable energy industry and ‘Goliath’ is the multi-trillion-dollar fossil fuel industry, you would be correct.
Despite the profound greenwashing embedded in the message of the oil tank to the right, evidence of a tectonic shift in the energy landscape can be seen as some fossil fuel companies change their public stance on renewables.
ReVision installing solar on an Irving gas station.During our first 20 years in business, ReVision Energy has withstood the searing and nearly lethal heat of well-funded political attacks, disinformation campaigns, and outright dirty tricks inflicted by a fossil fuel industry trying to stop the clean energy transition. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we have become living proof that truth and fighting for what's right can eventually overcome seemingly omnipotent adversaries.
Today, much to our shock and awe, we have some folks from the Goliath camp joining us to address the urgent and colossal problem of drilling, fracking, and scraping apart the earth for enough oil, gas, and coal to meet the energy needs of 8 billion people. Some fossil fuel companies now realize that burning that volume of fossil fuels in a closed atmosphere has become a long-term existential threat to life as we know it.
Irving Oil, one of the largest energy companies in New England with ~900 gas stations across six states, is a case in point. On its website, Irving publicly acknowledges that climate damage is caused by human activity, and the company states it is taking steps to reduce its carbon emissions.
Considering that more than 50% of all the carbon pollution in New England comes from tailpipe exhaust, Irving’s environmental ambitions stand to benefit everyone. Irving has begun directly targeting tailpipe emissions by installing electric vehicle charging stations at some of its gas stations. Another positive sign from Irving is the installation of solar arrays at some of its gas stations.
A ReVision-installed DC Fast Charger at Irving's Newport, ME gas station.For those who might be justifiably skeptical about Irving’s long-term plans, it is worth noting the recent creation of The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy & Society on the campus of Dartmouth College. Much of the Irving Institute’s programming is centered on renewable energy, battery storage, and other aspects of the clean energy transition. The Institute also houses Dartmouth’s Sustainability Office, the Revers Center for Sustainability and Innovation, and the Dartmouth Climate Modeling and Impacts Group. The Irving Institute is aligned with Dartmouth’s goal to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.
We think it’s rational cause for optimism that companies like Irving Oil have begun decarbonizing their operations and offering charging options to electric vehicle drivers. Yes, these are the early days of fossil fuel companies beginning to participate in the clean energy transition, but hopefully it won’t be long before we see bigger shifts like this future vision in northern New England: