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The world is upside down, but the sky is still blue: Energy Markets beyond…


It is very easy, in these incredibly challenging times, to get totally preoccupied with the here and now. For the worst affected it is dealing with real tragedy and fear, resulting from the day to day realities that come with this horrendous virus. For the majority of us, it is a case of providing what support we can for those who are directly affected or working on the front line, doing as we’re told, and keeping plodding on with as much good humour as we can muster.


No one knows how long it will be until we return to some sense of the new normal and what that will look like. What seems clear is that it will be a slow process.


Equally, regardless of headlines, no one knows what the impact on the economy or our own finances will be. We can all agree a short term dive, but the real challenge will be how quickly the economy and security can recover.


Never, in our working lives has there been so much uncertainty and lack of control or influence on the future.


However, being an eternal optimist, for those of us whose careers are in the energy sector, there is plenty to focus on and prepare for, and dare I say potential to create increased impetus as we emerge from the current crisis.


Firstly, the big and enduring headline is that the climate emergency is not going away. The need for transformation of our energy landscape will, if anything, be more urgent having lost 3,6 or 9 months of real momentum. More importantly, we can hope that having lived through the shock of Covid-19, the business community when it emerges, is more focused on social and environmental imperatives than before. Even if not, we can all foresee a permanent change in working behaviours that could held reduce carbon emissions and keep the sky clearer.


Secondly, the delay of COP26, gives the UK an exceptional opportunity to use the rescheduled date as a springboard for leadership in both economic and environmental revival. If properly prepared for and managed, COP26 has the potential to be the start of something really big.


Thirdly, there seems to be genuine consensus that the crash in oil prices has the potential to accelerate growth in renewables. Whilst the fall in demand and the glut of oil can be reversed, there seems to be a growing question of why capital should not just be redirected now.


Fourthly, the energy transition naturally leads a path to many smaller investments. Small scale renewables, storage and local pipelines are likely to be far more attractive to investors as they feel their way out of the shock impact on their existing portfolios. Even if capital is more expensive, the fundamentals that underpin the energy transition (ie climate change) are likely to keep it an attractive sector to invest in.


The energy retail sector, without a doubt, is suffering badly in the sector right now as demand falls and customers stop payments. It is likely that what was a relatively gradual consolidation process, will be accelerated with genuinely sustainable players emerging stronger. We can again, only support those directly impacted by any fall out of business failure, but what it does mean is that there should be plenty of skills and talent available to support enduring stronger businesses.


No one wants to be here, and certainly does not want to see the human and economic costs that this virus has created. However, we should be getting ready to fight back with what is in our control to help accelerate recovery.


EnergyBridge helps businesses, investors and local authorities navigate complexity, unlock value and reduce carbon in the UK energy market with a combination of deep market and operational expertise and experience. Contact: jo.butlin@energybridge.co.uk; 07464 949975

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