Oct 17, 2023 - Energy & Environment

IEA: Power grids falling far short in fight against climate change

Data: IEA; Chart:Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: IEA; Chart:Thomas Oide/Axios

Failure to update and expand power grids will hamstring global efforts to cut emissions.

Driving the news: The International Energy Agency authored a broad analysis that provides fresh details on a big threat to energy transition.

  • They modeled a "grid delay case" of insufficient investment and policy, and found it would sap nations' ability to meet their climate pledges.

Why it matters: Better grid infrastructure is essential to bringing more renewables and other clean tech online, and accommodating electrification to displace fossil fuels.

The big picture: "To achieve countries' national energy and climate goals, the world's electricity use needs to grow 20% faster in the next decade than it did in the previous one," the report finds.

  • Yet global grid investments have been "static" around $300 billion annually, far short of what's needed for countries pledges, let alone "net zero" emissions.

Stunning stat: "Achieving all national climate and energy goals will require adding or refurbishing 80 million kilometres of power lines by 2040," a summary states.

What's next: It lays out a series of recommendations, some tailored to emerging markets, for improving planning and investment.

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