Michael Putra
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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PhD Track

The investment gap in the energy transition: Nudging the most relevant energy players amidst the trade-offs within Sustainable Development Goals nexus


Energy transition to meet the Paris climate goal requires a doubling of current rate of investment in global energy sector throughout its chain, which means there is an estimated of ±$2 trillion of investment gap per year. Shifting existing investment, e.g. from fossil to renewables, is far from suffice.  These investments need to take place at the right place (high-energy demand and high population growth centers), at the right time (now), and at the right scale (exponentially more than current rate). This research project will assess the energy investment regimes in the top ten most populous countries in 2030. These countries account for almost 60% of global population in 2030, and nine of them are developing countries who will still grow their energy consumption for the coming decades. Investment decisions in the energy sector in these countries today will dictate the course, path and pace of the global energy transition.

This research intends to better understand the clarity of the destination and the credibility of the energy transition pathways as a wicked problem. It aims to provide a “reality check” of the energy transition journey as part of the SDG’s decade of action, and examine among others:

  1. To what extent the business models and investment regimes in the most populous countries support or hamper energy transition investment decisions?, and
  2. What framework can investors who are motivated to contribute to energy transition use in navigating this highly ambiguous and wicked landscape?