In contrast, she thought that renewable power would make up a smaller but still important part of the energy mix of the future. “Not all fuels are fungible – you cannot use renewables for industrial activity, because of the intermittent nature of the energy source,” she said.

Yet the even bigger issue in her view is the lack of energy infrastructure. “This hidden underinvestment in generation and transmission infrastructure is hugely problematic. Unless we put some real effort into that over the next decade, the risk of energy poverty increasing will be significant.”

But although business is stepping up to play an increasingly prominent role in financing and driving the energy transition, James said that public policy would be critical in providing the incentives and support to decarbonize the economy.

“You need policy and regulation to drive the pace of change. Just relying on voluntary action by corporates isn’t going to be sufficient, no matter how many wonderful businesses we have out there trying to move the needle.”

And yet, she warned that a lack of global coordination, geopolitical tensions, and macroeconomic distractions had led to “knee-jerk” policy- making from governments. “The one thing business needs more than anything else is clarity and certainty over the short and medium term – otherwise, it’s very difficult to make investment decisions and allocate capital.”



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