Over the past decade, investment in renewable energy has nearly doubled. Research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows a surge in renewable power capacity, with solar energy leading the way.
Sounds great, right?
While investment in renewables has been on the up and up, investment in electricity grids is lagging.
According to the IEA, 80 million kilometres of power lines need to be added or replaced by 2040, with investment doubling to over $600 billion per year by 2030, in order to meet all national climate and energy goals.
The investment is roughly equal to the entire global grid today.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the recent clean energy progress could be in jeopardy if governments and businesses do not come together to ensure the electricity grids are ready for a “new global energy economy”.
He gave a stark warning: “We must invest in grids today or face gridlock tomorrow.”
The IEA report found that grids are already blocking a faster energy transition to renewables.
According to the IEA report, at least 3,000 GW of renewable power projects, including 1,500 GW at advanced stages, are waiting in grid connection queues.
The issue is more dire in countries with limited access to financial resources.
Birol called for support from the international community, saying this would strengthen sustainable development and reduce the risk of climate change.
While investment in the energy grid is positive, the crisis in the gridlock is worrying.
It is significant to note that this is not the only way out of the climate crisis. The IEA and other global authorities also advocate for a reduction in energy use, notably by achieving energy efficiency.
This has been proven to bring us closer to international climate and energy goals.