• Study finds only 10% of 3000 power utilities worldwide expanding renewables faster than other generation capacity

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A study of 3000 power utilities around the world by researchers at the University of Oxford, published in Nature Energy, has found that only one in ten are “expanding their renewable energy capacity at a faster rate than their gas- or coal-fired capacity” in the words of The Guardian newspaper. Of those 300 companies (mostly Europe-based), only 15% are actively reducing their gas and coal capacity, according to the findings, 60% having continued to expand their fossil fuel-fired fleet (presumably with the other 25% not shutting but not adding such capacity). However, looked at another way, the findings are not as dire for climate initiatives as headlines make out. Only 2% of power utilities are expanding their coal-fired capacity faster than any other type of generating capacity, and a surprisingly small percentage – 10% – is prioritising gas-fired capacity (which would reduce emissions if replacing unabated coal). Overall, the findings suggest a reality that a global energy transition to renewables will take several decades, but more likely is a decarbonisation process which continues to involve fossil fuels.