This year, the world stands poised for over 60 national elections, all of which will have net zero and renewable energy as key points for politicians to address. Right now, progress towards a cleaner and greener future is already considered patchy, but as politicians seek to win favour at the ballot box, will the results really influence our journey to renewable energy, or has the energy transition built its own momentum?

At this quarter’s energy transition dinner, we held an open discussion on what attendees saw as the main focus for the industry as elections loom in an already ever-changing landscape and how this is affecting momentum. What came from this were what we’ve adopted as the five P’s; policy, permission, procurement, profits and people.



Naturally, policies changes from country to country, some countries provide upfront funding for viable projects (such as the US IRA tax incentive programme), where others opt for fining businesses over their carbon emissions. This ‘carrot and stick’ method of motivating businesses has raised concerns about the future of funds and government partnership, particularly when political tensions enter the mix and financing generally continues to be a challenge.

At previous dinners, attendees have commented on the shift in shareholder sentiment favouring profit over sustainability endeavours due to the cost-of-living crisis. Although ‘quick wins’ may help now, it could lead to a negative impact later on – a balance needs to be struck between policy and public/business sentiment.


Planning and Permission

For many energy firms, planning projects has become long-winded with many taking an average of 10 years to complete in the UK alone.

Attendees shared concerns that the UK National Grid project pipeline has been a sticking point for many as they work on a ‘first come, first served,’ basis opposed to reviewing projects on a merit basis. This has prevented many viable options from being seen leaving the pipeline clogged up with ‘junk’ projects. However, this issue is beginning to wane as Ofgem recently interjected in March 2024 and identified 26 projects to be funded including two electricity superhighways, Eastern Green Link 1 and Eastern Green Link 2.

It’s not just in the UK where bottlenecks are proving a challenge, in the EU, permitting times can also range from three to ten years for onshore wind installations, and from two to six years for solar. In Italy, over 30 bodies can be involved in permitting creating a significant project development risk, only to be made more of a risk considering the short timeline we have to transition.



To meet net zero and fully realise the world’s transition to greener energy, it’s going to require a great deal of resource, including rare-earth materials. The demand for these is expected to drive prices due to the lack of availability. Supply chain costs are also expected to escalate, which only adds to the overall concerns faced world-wide.



To keep the energy transition moving at pace, financial investments need to be made available. Policies that support the transition are vital in creating certainty and encouraging the flow of capital into new technologies and markets where for some, profit has yet to be made.

Currently, growth doesn’t necessarily mean profit, which can be seen in Europe’s solar market. Several countries across Europe have exceeded their targets for solar installation, but the valuations or finances of solar companies have been hit amid rising costs, higher interest rates and political uncertainty.

Alternative financing models are in high demand. In the UK, insurers are calling for new public-private partnerships to help funnel £100 billion of investment into green infrastructure projects. These use taxpayer funds to reduce risks for investors, help achieve investment-grade credit rating and make them a better march for insurers’ long-term liabilities. An alternative solution could be to build integrated value chains where the investor controls both production and consumption – be your own offtake agreement. Closed-loop economic projects could de-risk the deployment of capital where there’s no established market or distribution network to justify the high costs of investment.



Disruption needs to come outside of the industry – just take Uber and Airbnb as examples – to rethink energy pricing, distribution and ensure that energy becomes clean, green and equitable. New ideas, new financing models and new policies are what’s going to drive the transition, and this goes to the people who make up the industry, the voters and leaders themselves – whether that’s political leaders or those in business.

The want for greener, cleaner energy is apparent, but momentum is stifled by numerous challenges, all of which feed into each other, but progress can be made if there’s enough courage to take on new ways of working and financing.

As one attendee stated, “In large-scale project development, there are frequently moments where decisions and beliefs are questioned and where you need to be patient and persevere,” and that is very true of the energy transition no matter what country or industry you’re in.

Read the full white paper to find out what else attendees had to say at the event and what their focus is on regarding the energy transition.