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IEA report: Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transition

“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 growing.”

The IEA yesterday published it's long awaited (for those in the grids world) report on the critical importance of grids for the energy transition - Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions. It’s another clear reminder that there is no transition without transmission.

Some of the headline findings include:

  • Reaching national goals also means adding or refurbishing a total of over 80 million kilometres of grids by 2040, the equivalent of the entire existing global grid.

  • At least 3000 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power projects, of which 1 500 GW are in advanced stages, are waiting in grid connection queues – equivalent to five times the amount of solar PV and wind capacity added in 2022.

  • Delays in grid investment and reform would substantially increase global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, slowing energy transitions and putting the 1.5 °C goal out of reach.

  • Regulation needs to be reviewed and updated to support not only deploying new grids but also improving the use of assets.

  • Planning for transmission and distribution grids needs to be further aligned and integrated with broad long-term planning processes by governments.

  • To meet national climate targets, grid investment needs to nearly double by 2030 to over USD 600 billion per year after over a decade of stagnation at the global level, with emphasis on digitalising and modernising distribution grids.

  • Building out grids requires secure supply chains and a skilled workforce.

  • The most important barriers to grid development differ by region

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