Global grid upgrades could save USD 3 trillion in net-zero power systems by 2040: TransitionZero

TransitionZero, a climate analytics non-profit, has unveiled the potential for countries to save a staggering USD 3 trillion on net-zero power systems by 2040 through global grid upgrades. The first-of-its-kind global analysis, presented at COP28, introduces the beta of the ‘Future Energy Outlook’ (FEO) platform, a revolutionary open-source tool designed to plan and finance the most cost-effective energy transitions across 163 countries.

The FEO shows that investing an additional USD 1.7 trillion in transmission infrastructure by 2040 could collectively reduce electricity decarbonisation costs by USD 3 trillion globally.

The study titled ‘Cables to Change the World,’ utilising the FEO platform, addresses the primary risk to the global clean energy transition: the urgent need to modernise grids to access and optimise low-cost renewable power. For the first time, the study quantifies new revenue streams for countries becoming net exporters of clean electricity through optimised transmission systems. Countries like India and Algeria can leverage their vast renewable resources, exporting surplus generation to other regions.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently outlined that 1.5 TW of clean power awaits grid connection, five times the amount connected last year. TransitionZero’s analysis demonstrates how grid investments can significantly reduce and prevent waiting times caused by existing transmission infrastructure constraints.

Matthew Gray, CEO and co-founder of TransitionZero emphasised the urgency of grid modernisation, stating, “Our main enemy is time – there’s no time for missteps.” He stressed the importance of open data-backed transmission infrastructure build-out to meet climate targets efficiently.

The FEO platform, built on the OSeMOSYS Global framework, offers unprecedented accuracy and geographic scope, covering 163 countries and representing 99% of the global population, compared to the IEA’s World Energy Model’s 29 regions.

Launching in beta at COP28, FEO aims to assist energy leaders in making informed decisions around the transition, addressing trade-offs with land use, climate mitigation, and other policy priorities. The platform’s model builder, scheduled for 2024, will empower non-technical users to expedite energy transition planning decisions through an intuitive web interface.

TransitionZero’s ultimate goal is to create a global standard for energy planning data, with FEO as a data platform contributing to a network effect. FEO’s modelling is already slated for energy transition projects with organisations such as the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of climate-vulnerable countries, United Nations ESCAP, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). (nsh)

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