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- Transitioning to in-country renewable energy sources is key to safeguard energy supply against geopolitical uncertainties
- Renewable electricity capacity additions are driving the shift in electricity supply. However, the current growth is far below what is needed and must triple to meet 2050 targets. Adaptation measures are needed to adjust to the current and future effects of climate change.
- Informing, educating and enthusing people about the benefits of energy transition is critical to success. Failing to do so could become the Achilles’ heel for progress
Key observations from the report include:
- Global renewable capacity needs to triple. While
$1.3 trillionof energy transition investments in 2022 was a record (significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels), it needs to accelerate to $5 trillionper annum to align with a net zero emissions pathway. In 2022, renewables capacity additions set a record with an annual addition of 340GW and 2023 should be another record year. However, this growth is far below what is needed to achieve net zero carbon in 2050 as global renewable capacity should grow by 2400 GW over the 2022-2027 period (i.e. an annual average growth of 480GW). Solar Photovoltaic (PV) broke a record for annual capacity additions in 2022 and looks set for another record year in 2023. Wind addition decreased by 19% globally with offshore wind development encountering difficulties in Europeand the US.
- Electricity consumption will have to quadruple by 2050 to hit decarbonization objectives, with over 75% of it supplied by wind and solar. Renewable electricity capacity additions are driving the shift in electricity supply. However, the current growth is far below what is needed and must triple to meet 2050 targets. Linked to this growing electrification is the need to expand electrical grids. These need to grow from 75M kms to 200M kms, and become smarter with more stationary storage, sensors, and intelligent exploitation of large masses of data.
- Nuclear renaissance triggered by climate change and sovereignty issues. Reaching decarbonization goals will not happen without nuclear and so it is imperative there is a focus on extending its capacity. Nuclear capacity will have to triple by 2050 to achieve net zero carbon. This means reaching 870GW capacity by 2050, from 390GW today. Achieving this will require not only the development of large reactors and SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) but also a commitment to extending safely the life of current reactors.
Key recommendations from the report to drive forward energy transition:
Future proofing against supply impacts caused by political unrest and ensuring energy sovereignty
The ever-evolving geopolitical disruption reinforces the need for a transition to in-country renewable energy sources and for governments to introduce policies that support this. One example where this is already happening is in the US with the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a program that proposes almost
Accelerating the pace of moving to renewables makes countries more energy independent and helps to mitigate one of the major risks to energy supply. The energy transition proves not only to be of environmental benefit to governments but also helps them to safeguard their supply against threats that geopolitical unrest can cause.
A change in public perception is needed to drive governments towards reform
Key to pushing forward with the energy transition will be shifting the perception that the lifestyle choices needed for net-zero are inaccessible to the majority, due to financial reasons, or the rationale that the impact of one person isn’t going to make a difference. For individuals that are able, having them strive towards implementing energy efficiency lifestyle changes is going to be crucial moving forwards. For example, the ‘EcoMode’ campaign that took place in the
Energy assets adaptations necessary to combat the impacts of global warming and exceptional weather events
Global warning and weather events can have significant impact on energy generation and transportation assets. Thermal power plants - including nuclear reactors – need to be adapted to help the plants cope with extreme heat waves as was experienced across
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