War in Ukraine hasn't killed the clean energy transition: S&P Global

·2-min read
Russia’s war in Ukraine has not stopped clean energy from gaining from gaining ground globally, according to new research. Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool
Russia’s war in Ukraine has not stopped clean energy from gaining from gaining ground globally, according to new research. Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool

The global shift to cleaner sources of energy is not yet a casualty of Russia's war in Ukraine, according to new research showing power generation has become less carbon-intensive, and clean energy investment has climbed since the conflict started.

European nations that led the transition away from fossil fuels in recent years now find themselves scrambling to secure new sources of natural gas ahead of winter as Russia squeezes supply lines.

In one of her first major policy announcements, new British Prime Minister Liz Truss promised to approve more North Sea oil drilling, and lift a ban on fracking to increase domestic energy supply amid soaring prices. During a recent visit to Canada, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed hope that Canadian LNG imports will play a "major role" in his country's energy strategy.

According to S&P Global researchers Etienne Gabel and Xizhou Zhou, public discourse has "shifted decidedly" to energy security, with a focus on ensuring fossil fuel supply.

"For those that have tended to pit energy transition against energy security, the narrative is that there is now less focus on clean energy as countries and companies refocus on fossil fuels," they wrote in a report published on Thursday.

"Our research shows that this narrative oversimplifies a highly complex global energy system and, in the case of the electric power sector, may be falsehood."

While Germany has restarted mothballed coal plants, S&P Global found coal consumption in global power generation fell during the first half of 2022, compared with the first half of 2021.

Renewable power generation jumped 17 per cent year-over-year, according to the research, driven by continued capacity additions. This was led by the United States (22 per cent) and China (19 per cent). Most other regions saw growth by an average rate of around 10 per cent.

S&P Global says electric power generation continues to become less carbon-intensive. That helped emissions fall by one per cent in the first half of 2022, despite a 2.5 per cent rise in global power demand.

The research says a combination of high fossil fuel prices and supportive government policies drove investment in clean energy higher on an annualized basis in the first half of 2022.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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