The World Energy Council (WEC) has joined forces with Swiss Re and Marsh & McLennan to gain a better understanding of the risks and uncertainties facing the energy infrastructure sector.

WEC hopes that an improved analysis of new and emerging risks will help to unlock the capital needed to expand and upgrade critical energy infrastructure around the world. It cites technical and physical risks such as water stress, extreme weather events, cyber threats, social activism and technical efficacy as threats to new investment.

"Unless we have solid understanding of the nature of these risks and appropriately adapt energy financing mechanisms and infrastructure design, we may well see an investment impasse which could threaten to cripple global energy systems," said Christophe Frei, Secretary General of WEC. "Our new initiative will develop the necessary understanding as catalyst for continuing to mobilise the massive capital flows required to expand, replace and transition our energy infrastructure."

The project – Financing Resilient Energy Infrastructure – will seek to find out how much additional energy infrastructure investment would be needed to address the emerging technical and physical risks. It will identify and characterise the nature, frequency and severity of these risks, and share and promote the incorporation of these risks into energy infrastructure design and investment decisions.

The first phase of the study will be released in the first half of 2016, ahead of the World Energy Congress. WEC hopes the findings will be used by the energy and finance industry to inform future investment decisions.