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Only 1 in 10 Utility Companies Prioritize Renewable Electricity, Global Study Reveals

Research from the University of Oxford uncovers a concerning trend in the utility sector

A recent study conducted by the University of Oxford has shed light on the disheartening reality that only 10% of electric utility companies worldwide are prioritizing investments in renewable clean energy. Despite global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the majority of these companies continue to heavily invest in fossil fuels, with some even expanding their portfolio of polluting power plants.

The comprehensive research analyzed over 3,000 utility companies and found that many of them, particularly those that are state-owned, have made only minor changes to their electricity generation portfolio in recent years. This lack of progress in transitioning to cleaner energy sources is cause for concern amidst the ongoing climate crisis.

The study, published in the prestigious Nature Energy research journal, reveals that a mere 10% of utility firms are increasing their utilization of renewable energy sources at a faster rate than their reliance on coal or oil-powered capacity. Even among these companies, a staggering 60% have not halted the expansion of their fossil fuel portfolio, and a mere 15% are actively working towards reducing their coal and gas electricity sources.

Galina Alova, the author of the report, emphasizes the alarming gap between the actions taken by the utility sector and the urgent need to address the climate crisis. The research also highlights that 10% of utility companies prioritize the growth of gas-powered electricity plants. Notably, many of these companies are based in the United States, where they seek to capitalize on the country’s shale gas reserves. Following the US, Russia and Germany have the highest number of such utilities.

Moreover, a meager 2% of these utility companies are actively expanding their coal-powered electricity capacity instead of prioritizing gas or renewable energy. These companies are predominantly located in China, which accounts for over 60% of the coal-focused companies, followed by India and Vietnam.

Encouragingly, the study finds that the majority of companies prioritizing renewable energy are based in Europe. Many of the industry’s leading utility companies are investing heavily in green technology and low-carbon energy to replace their aging fossil fuel electricity plants. Notably, coal plants in the United Kingdom are shutting down at a faster pace than the government’s planned ban on coal-powered plants by 2025. This is partly due to the country’s domestic carbon tax on power plants, which renders them inefficient to run and unprofitable.

While there have been notable instances of individual electric utilities investing in renewables, the overall pace of transition to clean energy within the sector is sluggish at best, as Galina Alova warns. The continued investment in fossil fuels by utility companies not only puts them at risk of stranded assets but also undermines global efforts to combat climate change.

It is imperative that the utility sector embraces renewable energy sources wholeheartedly, retiring outdated power plants and actively contributing to a sustainable and greener future. The urgency of the climate crisis demands swift action, and the transition to clean energy must be prioritized, not only for the sake of the planet but also for the long-term viability of the utility industry itself.

Kyle James Lee

Majority Owner of The AEGIS Alliance. I studied in college for Media Arts, Game Development. Talents include Writer/Article Writer, Graphic Design, Photoshop, Web Design and Development, Video Production, Social Media, and eCommerce.

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