We’ve been at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates over the past week, where there was an increased focus on the importance of electricity grids – and transmission networks in particular – in supporting the clean energy transition.
Our Head of Business Development, Chris Flavin joined the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) to speak at the launch of its report on financing global electricity grids. Alongside Chris on the panel was Greg Jackson CEO of Octopus Energy, Sherif H. Elkholy, Ph.D. of Actis, Dr. Hubert Danso, CEO of AICapital and Nadja Haakansson SVP of Africa for Siemens Energy. The panel covered the challenge of developing Africa’s transmission networks to meet the needs of the continent’s growing population, and to deliver a greater share of renewable energy.
Chris Flavin speaking at the SMI’s ‘Building Global Grids to Unlock a Renewable Future’ event at COP28
This was one of several events Chris attended at COP28 that focused on investment in transmission, including UK FCDO’s event “Greening the Grid” and the “Dubai Green Grids Investment Dialogue”. The International Energy Agency also launched a comprehensive report entitled Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions.
Gridworks welcomes the increased attention being paid to the issue. In Africa alone, at least US$4 billion a year is required for transmission investment every year until 2050, so this challenge must be faced now.
Over the last two decades, around 98% of private sector electricity sector funding in Africa has been in generation, with only around 0.3% going to transmission. We all want to see a future powered by renewables, but this can only become a reality with the infrastructure in place to deliver power to end users.
As Chris put it at COP28:
“This is a huge investment opportunity and one we’re very excited about. It isn’t just about supporting a clean energy transition; improved transmission infrastructure has a critical role to play in increasing energy access and underpinning economic growth on the continent. We believe that transmisson can be a commercially viable asset class. This is a triple bottom line and perhaps the impact investment opportunity of the decade.”