Mark Carney Sees 'Wall of Opportunity' for Energy Investors

Renewable-energy assets are primed for an era of growth as they emerge as the answer to both energy security risks and efforts to fight climate change, according to Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor.

“The smart money” is following “an absolute wall of opportunity in just rolling out clean energy at scale,” Carney, who is vice chair at Brookfield Asset Management Inc. as well as co-chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Tuesday.

As Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine leaves parts of Europe facing the prospect of blackouts through the winter, there’s an ongoing debate over how best to allocate capital in energy markets. Some argue that investors need to pile more capital into oil, gas and even coal to boost supplies quickly. Others say that now is the time to ratchet up spending on renewables as the world runs out of time to escape a global climate catastrophe.

“A lot of the answer to energy security problems that have been exposed by Russia’s illegal war have to do with sustainability,” Carney said. “That’s why you’ve seen a five-fold increase in the ambition in the European Union for this decade. That’s why you’ve seen the big roll-out with the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States...these are solutions to not just climate issues, but geopolitical issues.”

Carney said Brookfield has “gone from 20 gigawatts in our pipeline of building renewables to over 100 gigawatts in just 12 months,” which “gives you a sense of how fast things are moving.” Investors also need to look “at every single company” to figure out which have plans to “get their emissions down,” he said. “If they’re going to get their emissions down -- and faster than their peers -- they’re going to unlock value.”