It is estimated that $21.4 trillion needs to be invested in electricity grids by 2050 to support a net-zero trajectory for the world. Most of this will need to come from the private sector, yet the conditions required for the necessary low-cost capital investments to build green grids (secure legislative and regulatory frameworks) are lacking in many parts of the world. What steps need to be taken to attract green grids investment at the scale required to ensure a safe future for humanity?
This year, the Climate Parliament is convening the Green Grids Investment Dialogue between investors, regulators and legislators to find out. We will be speaking to investors all over the world to gather their views in the lead up to a live virtual event to take place on November 27, ahead of COP28 in Dubai.
In the interests of transparency, iteration, and shared learning, we will be posting the key insights gathered from each discussion in the lead up to the Dialogue on November 27. As we progress with our consultation with investors, as well as gathering the perspectives of regulators and our networks of legislators, we will continue to post the key insights and points raised in each discussion. As we do, the illustrative statement below will be revised with a final iteration to be published during COP28.
Clean Energy. Delivered.
Illustrative draft for consultation
As private and public investors concerned about the dangers of climate change, we confirm that we are ready to invest in renewable energy installations large and small, in modern grids from the community level to the continental scale. Green grids must deliver enough clean energy not only to meet existing electricity demand, but to power electrified transport and to produce enough green hydrogen for industry and for sustainable aviation and shipping fuels.
To unleash investment to build this green infrastructure at the necessary speed and scale, lawmakers and regulators must put in place, in all parts of the world, a framework to ensure a reasonable return on investment. Key elements of such a framework, already used successfully in some countries, include:
Renewable energy development zones. Map solar, wind and other renewable resources to establish renewable energy development zones in the best areas for large-scale generation of cheap electricity.
Transmission. Draw on successful payment models to attract both public and private investment into building clean energy corridors connecting the development zones to major demand centres within the country, and to neighbouring nations, thus providing affordable clean energy to all.
Tariffs. Create a transparent system, using auctions wherever possible, to agree a minimum price for the energy generated so as to ensure a fair return on investment.
Risk reduction. Public funds should be used to provide full or partial guarantees covering risks such as non-payment by utilities, major currency fluctuations, supply chain bottlenecks, or political risks.
Link grid investments to renewable energy development. If new grid infrastructure in developing countries is clearly linked to delivering renewable energy, international climate finance can be blended with large-scale private investment.
Countries that have taken these steps in combination have attracted major investments in green infrastructure. We look forward to working with legislators and regulators to expand investment in green grids on every continent.