Global energy investment in 2017 totalled almost $1.8 trillion, accounting for 2.2% of global GDP
Energy markets focus on the trade and supply of electricity, gas and liquid fuels. They consist of three main elements: generation or production, transmission and distribution, and supply. Once electricity is generated or gas and oil is produced, it is sold on the wholesale market to suppliers, who sell it on to consumers and arrange for its delivery. It is distributed to homes and businesses through transmission and distribution systems. Depending on a country’s government policy, these elements of energy markets may be nationalised or privatised. Energy markets are closely regulated to ensure secure access to energy at fair prices, since energy is a necessity for sustained economic output and human welfare. Energy markets in the UK are privatised and regulated by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), which is responsible for protecting the interest of consumers by promoting fair competition. UK energy markets have recently experienced significant changes due to diversification of electricity generation through the rise of renewable energy sources, as well as the addition of many new suppliers.
Around the world, investments in the energy system are shifting, with increasing funds flowing into renewables, grid flexibility mechanisms, and low carbon transport. An appropriate policy and regulatory environment is required for continued investment towards a low carbon economy while maintaining energy security. The low carbon transition often requires the government to drive and guide private spending since investments in low carbon energy infrastructure are often capital-intensive and require long-term returns. There is growing need for new market structures to be defined and existing ones to play different roles in order to encourage low carbon investments across all sectors of energy, while also keeping the energy system stable and conventional sources flowing. Increased interconnection is also an option for moving towards more sustainable and cost-effective energy systems; integration of national energy systems through cross-border infrastructure can redefine investment agendas.
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