Energy investment
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A new research report by international law firm Ashurst has found electric vehicles and battery storage to be the top non-power generation technologies that senior business leaders from across the G20 have invested in or are committed to investing in.

The report, Powering Change – Energy in Transition, compiles the views of more than 2,000 senior business leaders from across G20 countries on the changing global energy market as it seeks to meet rising energy demand
and a drive towards decarbonisation.

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Electric vehicles

According to the report, battery storage (46%) and electric vehicles (43%) are the non-power generation technologies that the most respondents from across the G20 have invested in or have committed to invest in.
Two thirds (66%) of Indian respondents confirmed current or planned investments in electric vehicles, leading the G20 pack, while 51% of respondents from both Italy and Mexico came joint second. India’s rapid economic growth, strong industrial base and automotive manufacturing combine with an urban pollution crisis and progressive environmental policy agenda to accelerate low-carbon transportation.

There are complex crossovers between the future of transport and energy storage, with batteries, hydrogen and electric vehicles all potential investments that could play a critical role in decarbonising transportation. Smart meters (41%) and hydrogen (40%) were the third and fourth most popular non-power generation technologies in which respondents said they plan to invest. Saudi Arabia (61%) led the league table of countries already investing in hydrogen with future investment led by China (38%).

Antony Skinner, Ashurst’s global co-head of power & utilities, said “The effects of climate change can no longer be ignored. Addressing its impacts has become a priority for businesses, governments and individuals alike. As the energy transition takes place, with increasing emphasis on cleaner and renewable technology, energy supply is under more scrutiny than ever before.

“Some parties have a first-mover advantage while others are taking their first, tentative steps in their contribution to a carbon-neutral economy. With the onset of COVID-19 and the sharp reduction in oil prices, this is clearly a
volatile and uncertain period for all markets, especially energy. However the fundamentals of the market and prospects for the clean energy transition will likely remain largely unchanged in the longer term.

“This report highlights the global opportunities as the transition accelerates, and investors and society place growing pressure on corporates and governments to take more assertive action.”

Naomi Horton, transport partner and sustainability champion at Ashurst, noted, “New, clean technologies are already a key focus for the low-carbon transport industry. Hydrogen and batteries will play a central role in decarbonising transport and delivering a low-carbon future, further strengthening the business case for these technologies.”

“In little over a decade, renewable energy auctions around the world have proven a tipping point in the energy market with onshore and offshore wind and solar all achieving subsidy-free prices. The existing and future
investment flows we have identified suggest that the transportation transformation could happen even more quickly.

“The only thing we see holding this back is slow investment in the infrastructure that is needed to support this revolution in transport. However, the UK Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan, due to be published later in 2020, shows that discussions around the policies needed to decarbonise transport in the UK are already well underway.”