Only 10% of utilities prioritising renewables

Published onSeptember 3, 2020

Only 10% of global electric utilities are prioritising clean power investment over expansion of fossil-fuel powered generation, according to a new study published in the Nature Energy journal. The research, carried out by Oxford University’s Galina Alova, quantifies the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables of 3311 utilities around the world between 2001 and 2018. It found that more than three-quarters of the utilities assessed did not expand clean power portfolios over the period, while a further 10% favoured growth in natural gas generation over coal or renewables. But even among the companies prioritising renewables, 60% continued to expand their fossil-fuel portfolios compared to 15% reducing it, the study found. “These findings point to electricity system inertia and the utility-driven risk of carbon lock-in and asset stranding,” it said. The analysis “points to power utilities lagging behind, and even hindering” the global transition to renewable energy, the study added. The analysis applied a machine-learning-based clustering algorithm to a historical global asset-level dataset to determine the results.