Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), one of the largest listed integrated utilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Bloomberg Media have launched a global study focused on the future of the utilities sector.

The Future of Utilities report, published on the eve of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, found that grid readiness and the integration of renewables into the grid network is the biggest single threat to realising net zero ambitions in the power sector.

The study, incorporating insights from nearly 600 industry experts worldwide, highlights a need for coordinated global action to expedite grid development. This acceleration is crucial to match the pace of new distributed, renewable power generation. Notably, over half of the respondents identified grid infrastructure as the primary obstacle to utilities achieving net zero goals.

The study also found a shift to more consumer-centric business models and greater efforts to embrace the innovation agenda could accelerate the sector’s low carbon transition. More than 90 per cent of respondents felt a period of significant change for utilities companies is both necessary and imminent.

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of TAQA, said: "The utilities sector is on the frontlines of the global energy system and it is therefore uniquely placed to shape the transition to a low-carbon future. As the utilities community responds to that challenge with increased urgency, the insights from this report can serve as a lens through which to guide decision making and validate perspectives."

According to BloombergNEF, AED77tn+ ($21 trillion) of grid investment is needed by 2050 to expand and refurbish the global electricity system. Additionally, BloombergNEF’s Energy Transition Investment Trends 2023 expects electrified transport, renewable energy, and grids to dominate investments from 2023 to 2030, comprising 72 per cent of annual combined share.