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Shell continues power trip with '100%-renewable' utility

Oil and gas giant rebadges First Utility and offers all-renewable electricity to 700,000 customers

Shell relaunched its UK utility business as a 100%-renewable electricity supplier and rebadged it with its own name, in a move the oil & gas giant said underscores the growing role of clean power in its plans.

Shell Energy – the new name for First Utility, which it acquired in 2018, will offer all-renewable power to its 700,000 residential customers as standard, said the Anglo-Dutch oil major, which recently stated its ambition to become “the world’s biggest power group” by the mid-2030s.

Oil giant Shell aims to be 'world's biggest power company'

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The power will come with guarantees of origin from a mix of sources including solar, wind and biomass, Shell said, citing research suggesting 60% of UK domestic users favour renewable supplies.

Shell Energy is one of a clutch of “challenger” utilities aiming to break the grip on the UK sector of dominant players such as E.ON, EDF and RWE.

Shell has emerged as arguably the most active of a clutch of oil and gas players seeking to carve out a role in a fast-changing energy landscape.

This year alone that has included taking stakes in two innovative offshore wind technologies – one with Google-owner Alphabet – and the acquisition of battery pioneer Sonnen.

Shell currently plans to put $1-2bn a year into New Energies up to 2020, but has previously said that could double as the oil and gas group ramps up its power sector presence.

Its recent determination to be a player in wind and solar is a big shift from a 2016 statement by CEO Ben van Beurden that 'no one makes money from renewables'.

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