G7 members are well placed to fully decarbonise their electricity supply by 2035, which would accelerate the technological advances and infrastructure rollouts needed to lead global energy markets towards net zero emissions by 2050.
This is according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which builds on the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 to identify key milestones, challenges and opportunities for G7 members.
Following on from June’s G7 Summit, it is designed to inform discussions at the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
At the G7 Summit, the leaders of Canada Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States committed to reaching “an overwhelmingly decarbonised” power system in the 2030s and net zero emissions no later than 2050.
“G7 members have the financial and technological means to bring their electricity sector emissions to net zero in the 2030s, and doing so will create numerous spill-over benefits for other countries’ clean energy transitions and add momentum to global efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” said Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director.
“G7 leadership in this crucial endeavour would demonstrate that getting to electricity sectors with net zero emissions is both doable and advantageous, and would also drive new innovations that can benefit businesses and consumers.”
The G7 now accounts for nearly 40% of the global economy, 36% of global power generation capacity, 30% of global energy demand and 25% of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
According to the report, reaching net zero emissions from electricity would require completing the phase-out of unabated coal while simultaneously expanding low emissions sources of electricity, including renewables, nuclear, hydrogen and ammonia. Furthermore, renewables need to provide 60% of the G7’s electricity supply by 2030, whereas under current policies they are on track to reach 48%.
At the same time, increased reliance on renewables does require the G7 to lead the way in finding solutions to maintain electricity security, including seasonal storage and more flexible and robust grids.
Household spending on energy should decline by 2050, as rising spending on electricity is more than offset by lower expenses for coal, natural gas and oil products, according to the report.
Governments must therefore foster efficiency gains and structure energy tariffs for consumers and businesses so that all households can benefit from these cost savings.
Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “Our way towards climate neutrality is ambitious, but necessary. We need to act together with clear, joint and decisive action.
“The energy sector plays clearly a key role in our way to climate neutrality. Solutions are at hand, such as the exit from coal-fired power generation in Germany and other countries. The IEA report shows how the G7 can live up to its pioneering role in this regard – a matter that will continue to be topical during the German G7 presidency in 2022.”