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Green energy infrastructure is falling behind as the production of green energy speeds forward. This is because the world’s power grid structure just isn’t up to par when it comes to transporting all this new energy. We have the solar panels, and we have the wind and water turbines. We just can’t support them.
In a new analysis released Tuesday, the International Energy Agency said that most countries are falling wayyyy behind in setting up the power lines and electric grids to carry energy where it needs to go. With many countries signing international climate deals, like the Paris Accords, and many having individual sustainable energy goals, their electricity systems need to be adapted to green energy. The IEA says that the world needs to build or improve around 80.4 million kilometers (50 million miles) of power lines by 2040 to meet set clean energy goals. Our current electricity structure just isn’t matching the fast-paced growth of clean energy tech (solar and wind power, electric cars, heat pumps, etc.).
“It’s like you are manufacturing a very efficient, very speedy, very handsome car – but you forget to build the roads for it,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told The Associated Press in an interview.
Really, global investment in energy grids needs to double to more than US$600 billion a year by 2030 to hit climate targets. This is because as people depend less on fossil fuels, they’ll start to depend more on electricity. And we have the electricity to meet these needs, just no way to get it where it needs to go. Worldwide, there are at least 3,000 gigawatts of renewable energy waiting to jump on power lines – that’s about five times the amount of solar and wind plants installed last year. And it can take years for power plants to get properly connected to a grid.
"To achieve countries' national energy and climate goals, the world's electricity use needs to grow 20% faster in the next decade than it did in the previous one," the report finds.