A new IEA study finds the world must add or replace 80 million km of grids by 2040, equal to all grids globally today, to meet national climate targets and support energy security.
Major changes to how grids operate and are regulated are also essential, while annual investment in grids, which has remained broadly stagnant, needs to double to more than $600bn, said the Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions report.
Grids have formed the backbone of electricity systems for more than a century, delivering power to homes, factories, offices and hospitals – and their importance is only set to rise as electricity’s role in energy systems increases.
Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions which offers a first-of-its-kind stocktake of grids worldwide, finds signs they are not keeping pace with the rapid growth of key clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, electric cars and heat pumps.
Without greater policy attention and investment, shortfalls in the reach and quality of grid infrastructure could put the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C out of reach and undermine energy security, the report warns.
The report identifies a large and growing queue of renewables projects waiting for the green light to be connected to the grid, pinpointing 1500GW worth of these projects that are in advanced stages of development.
This is five times the amount of solar and wind capacity that was added worldwide last year.
“The recent clean energy progress we have seen in many countries is unprecedented and cause for optimism, but it could be put in jeopardy if governments and businesses do not come together to ensure the world’s electricity grids are ready for the new global energy economy that is rapidly emerging,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“This report shows what’s at stake and needs to be done. We must invest in grids today or face gridlock tomorrow.”
Matthew Boulton, Director of Solar, Storage and Private Wire of EDF Renewables, said: “Where we have seen investment in renewables nearly double since 2014, for grids, it has barely changed.
“Today’s IEA report is a wake-up call that the progress made to date in renewables deployment could be put in jeopardy without decisive, immediate action to modernise our grids.
“The report rightly calls for bigger, stronger and smarter grids. The rapid uptake of batteries in the UK is helping to make the grid smarter, but it needs to be bigger and stronger to support the UK’s journey to net zero.”
Sourced by: reNEWS.biz