New research suggests that power companies are falling behind when it comes to embracing green energy sources such as wind and solar.
The study found that only one in 10 energy suppliers globally has prioritised renewables over fossil fuels.
Even those that are spending money on greener energy – such as wind, solar or hydrogen – are also continuing to invest in carbon heavy coal and natural gas.
In countries like the UK and across Europe, renewable energy has taken a significant share of the market, with 40% of Britain’s electricity coming from wind and solar last year.
But the lead researcher says the research found shows a slow application of green energy, undermining all global efforts to tackle climate change and reach net-zero by 2050.
While green energy has boomed around the world in recent years, many of the newwind and solar power installations have been built by independent producers.
Large scale utility companies, including many state and city owned enterprises, have been much slower to go green, according to this new study.
The study looked at more than 3,000 electricity companies worldwide and used machine learning techniques to analyse their activities over the past two decades. It found that only 10% of the companies had expanded their renewable-based power generation more quickly than their gas or coal fired capacity.
Of this small proportion that spent more on renewables, many still continued to invest in fossil fuels, although at a lower rate.
But, according to the author, the vast majority of companies have just sat on the fence.
The research suggests that many of these types of utilities are government-owned and may have invested in their power portfolios many years ago.
The overall conclusion from the analysis is that utility companies are “hindering” the global transition to renewables.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Energy.