BP making big boost to clean-energy spending

Oil giant BP plans to invest up to $8 billion of its oil-and-gas profits into clean energy technologies and greenhouse-gas abatement projects over the next 10 years. An $8 billion investment would represent an eightfold increase over the company’s clean-energy outlay in the past decade, says CEO John Browne. BP expects an eventual 15 percent return on the funding, and anticipates hiring several hundred staffers for a new business unit, which will consolidate the company’s projects in solar, wind, hydrogen, carbon sequestration, and ultra-efficient gas-fired power generation. This will be one of the biggest clean-energy investments yet by a Big Oil firm, though it’s just a sliver of BP’s yearly $14 billion to $16 billion capital spending program. Environmentalists greeted the announcement with cautious enthusiasm — the only kind they have left.