GSEP released the first edition of its Global Electrification Monitor: 2022 trends in end-use sectors, a study monitoring the pace of electrification across the world and in over 15 countries representing 2/3 of global electricity consumption. The study concludes that there’s a vastly underutilised potential for electrification of the different end uses – or “space-for-action” in all parts of the world. Urgent action is required to unlock this potential and accelerate electrification, even before focusing on the hard-to-abate sectors.
The report also presents a “traffic light” system for each of the countries and the regions in the world that shows whether the pace of development for ten main indicators is on track or not with future requirements. These traffic lights provide helpful insights on both the long-term direction that is needed to achieve the energy transition goals as well as the short-term milestones that need to be achieved. What is clear is that in most cases an acceleration of past trends is needed, and, in some cases, the direction of the trend must be urgently reversed.
Electricity is the central energy vector to reach decarbonisation in all energy systems, with benefits that go well beyond CO2 reductions. Most countries in the world have been putting in place energy policies to transform the energy sector and support the climate goals to support the Paris agreement goals but action is currently falling short of these goals in most regions. Despite encouraging progression over the last decade, the pace of electrification needs to more than double over the coming decades to keep us in line with decarbonisation goals.
The transformation of the way in which we produce and consume energy is going to require significant efforts from all actors involved and a multitude of technologies, policies and actions. Energy and climate policies are key instruments in accelerating electrification in the buildings, transport, and industry sectors, both by creating a level playing field with other fuels and by supporting the deployment and innovation of more sustainable and less mature technologies.
The electrification of final consumption must also go hand in hand with the decarbonisation of the power sector. Significant efforts to decarbonise the power sector are under way across many regions, but a great deal more still needs to be achieved, with the current pace of decline of global CO2 intensity needing to increase by a factor of 6 to 10 by 2030. A reduction in the CO2 emissions intensity for power generation requires the swift phase-out of the most polluting fossil fuels, strategically coupled with a rapid deployment of low-carbon technologies while still maintaining security of supply and affordability to end users.
Upgrading and developing new grid infrastructure is another key enabler to supporting the strong electrification of end uses and the fast deployment of low-carbon technologies. Clean energy innovation and digitalisation are essential factors for the energy transition. Transmission and distribution infrastructure continues to play a crucial role in the electrification of final sectors, with a shift of paradigm and a growing role for distribution system operators following the increasing number of prosumers, increasing digitalisation, and the growing role of demand-side management.