The deep decarbonising transformation of power grids

August 10, 2019

At present 73 per cent of global carbon emissions arise from use of fossil fuel-based energy, mainly for power and heat generation, cooling systems, transport, and industrial processes. Today, green energy makes up approx 14 per cent of the global energy supply. It is projected to reach around 18 per cent by 2030, well short of the 28 per cent share that the IPCC says is needed. The increased attention to deep decarbonisation has focused the debate around whether the goal is 100 per cent renewables (mostly solar and wind) or 100 per cent zero-carbon. Studies looking at deep decarbonisation scenarios for the grid have generally found that the availability of some kind of firm, zero-carbon power such as nuclear, hydro, geothermal, biomass, fossil with CCUS, hydrogen, or long-duration storage, reduces the costs and risks of decarbonisation, particularly as the penetration of variable renewables increases.

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