Electricity grid capacity available in the world isn’t keeping pace with the rapid growth of “clean energy” technologies, possibly putting governments’ climate goals at risk, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In order to achieve climate goals set by global governments, more than 80 million kilometers (49.7 million miles) of electric grids have to be added or refurbished by 2040, which is the “equivalent of the entire existing global grid,” according to the Oct. 17 IEA report. Even though “electrification and renewables deployment are both picking up pace,” there is a risk of the clean energy transition stalling due to a lack of “adequate grids to connect the new electricity supply with the demand.”
“At least 3,000 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,” the report noted.
“This shows grids are becoming a bottleneck for transitions to net zero emissions.”
While investments in renewable energy such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles (EV), and heat pumps have been “increasing rapidly”—almost doubling since 2010—the investment in power grids has remained “static” at around $300 billion annually, it said.