New research, published in the journal Nature Energy, shows that energy companies are hesitant when it comes to clean energy sources like wind and sun. The world’s energy scientists prioritize renewable sources over fossil fuels.
The slow adoption is undermining global efforts to combat climate change, the lead researcher said. Even those who spend on clean energy continue to invest in coal and natural gas.
Last year, 40% of Britain’s electricity was generated by wind and sun. Green energy has emerged, with many of the new wind and solar power plants being built by independent manufacturers.
Large utilities, including many transitional urban businesses, are much slower to green energy, according to a new study. More than 3,000 electric utilities around the world took part in the study. Scientists have used machine learning techniques to analyze their performance over the past two decades.
The study found that only 10% of companies have expanded their electricity generation from renewable sources. Of this portion, which spent more on renewables, many continued to invest in fossil fuels, albeit at lower rates. The vast majority of companies, according to the author of the study, were simply “sitting on the fence”.
“If you look at all the utilities and what prevails in their behavior, you will see that they do little with fossil fuels and renewable energies”, said Galina Alova of the Smith School of Entrepreneurship and the Environment at the University of Oxford. “So they can do something with other fuels like hydropower or nuclear power, but they are not switching to renewable energy or increasing fossil fuel capacity”.
The authors say that many of these types of utilities may have invested in their energy portfolios many years ago. However, the overall conclusion from the analysis is that utilities are “hindering” the global shift to renewables.
Inertia in causation is one of the main parts of the slow transition, Alova emphasizes.
But reports about energy companies do not always reflect the complexity of their investments.
Renewed energy sources and natural gas often go hand in hand. Companies often choose both at the same time. Thus, we receive, we provide the media. So this is not a green light. It’s just that these parallel investments in gas are being diluted with renewable energy. This is the key question.
Galina Alova of the Smith School of Entrepreneurship and the Environment, Oxford University