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More than electrification needed to deliver net zero

Even if all electricity was “green” from today onwards, the world would still fall a “long way short” of realising net-zero ambitions by 2050, consultant DNV has warned.

Noting Covid-19 drove an unprecedented 6% drop in global emissions in 2020, in its latest Energy Transition Outlook, published on 1 September, DNV highlighted the “lost opportunity” for speeding up the energy transition as emissions are now rising sharply once more, and will continue to do so for the next three years. Come 2030, global emissions are set to be 9% lower than in 2019 and 45% lower by 2050.

Despite renewables being added at “great speed”, DNV found they are supplementing, instead of fully replacing, thermal power generation. Electricity’s share in the total global energy demand is set to double from 19% to 38% within the next 30 years, with solar PV and wind to be cheaper than operating existing thermal power in most places within a decade, accounting for 69% of grid-connected power generation by 2050. Connectivity, storage and demand-response are the critical assets in the decarbonised power system.

Meanwhile, DNV cited energy efficiency as the “unsung hero” of the energy transition that should be the number one priority for governments and businesses alike. Many efficiency measures have marginal or even negative costs, though split incentives and a lack of long-term thinking mean industry standards and regulations are necessary to ensure successful implementation.

The agency forecasts that energy intensity improvements will average 2.4% per year, compared to the 1.7% average over the last 20 years. A majority of the accelerated efficiencies are linked to electrification, with the remainder coming from improvements in end uses, including better insulation. The transport sector will see the largest efficiency gains, with significant ones also occurring in manufacturing and buildings.

Co-Founder and Chief Executive at GridBeyond, Michael Phelan, said:

“This is just the latest in a series of warnings that more and faster action is needed to reach net zero. With COP26 just two months away, it’s crucial that policy-makers and businesses sit up and heed these concerns and examine policies and plans that can both enable new renewables integration onto the grid and reduce direct energy use and emissions.

“Energy efficiency and taking advantage of the flexibility in C&I business operations has potential to go a long way in reducing final emissions, while enabling the greening up of the supply sector at the lowest cost to consumers.

“Data, software and automation will play a significant role in move towards the low-emissions, ultra-efficient and interconnected systems that would meet our current and future energy needs. By connecting energy assets to advanced technology platforms, we can connect power, heat, mobility, and infrastructures across all sectors, support their optimisation and monitoring while increasing efficiencies of all processes and advancing decarbonisation throughout the value chain.”

Using AI and Robotic Trading combined with the expertise of our trading experts and Data Scientists, GridBeyond’s Point Ai. Services open the door for your business to take your energy strategy from passive purchasing and consumption to predictive analysis and active energy management and trading. GridBeyond’s Point Ai. Services consist of three complementary products: Ai. Terms, Ai. Trade & Ai. Thrive, which together, will transform your energy into opportunity and help your business reach net zero.

If you have any questions around the potential for your site, contact our team, or to learn more about the complimenting services offered by GridBeyond’s intelligent energy platform, our Point Ai. Services brochure.

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