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Electricity Grid “Weak Link” In Energy Transition – IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said a “lack of ambition and attention” on electricity grids could make them the “weak link” in clean energy transitions. In a new report, the agency warned that 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. According to the report, annual investment in grids has remained “broadly stagnant” and needs to double to more than US$600 billion a year by 2030. It highlighted a “large and growing queue” of renewables projects that are waiting for grid connection, with 1,500 gigawatts worth of these projects that are in advanced stages of development. The report recommended expanding and strengthening grid interconnections within and between countries and across regions to bolster the resilience of electricity systems and improve integration of solar and wind power. It also suggests that governments back large-scale transmission projects to “ensure grids are prepared for further strong growth in renewable power”. The IEA underscored that “urgent action” is needed to create the policy, regulatory and investment environment that will enable grids to “keep up”. It added that policymakers need to play a central role in creating an “enabling framework” to accelerate grid connections for renewable projects and carry out a “necessary regulatory overhaul”.  

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