The world has made the transition from one major form of energy to another several times – from animal power and biomass to burning coal, and then to the increasing use of oil and gas. The replacement of those fuels with renewables marks the next historic shift. Yet to ensure sustainability and global climate stability, this latest energy transformation needs to happen much faster.
Countries around the world need a vast expansion of renewables, smarter and more flexible electricity grids, and huge increases in the numbers of vehicles and other products and processes that run on electricity. Those three elements – combined in a “RE-Electrification” strategy – will be crucial in shaping the world’s new, renewable-dominated energy system.
The present publication offers a preview of findings from a forthcoming scoping study, “Electrification with Renewables: Driving the transformation of energy services”. This first-of-its-kind analysis was undertaken jointly by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the world’s largest utility, the State Grid Corporation of China.
Combining the perspective of a major grid operator with IRENA’s global work to foster innovation and technology co-operation, the study examines the latest trends and explores long-term pathways for RE-Electrification, or electrification with renewables. It also identifies key areas for further work to anticipate the impacts and economic implications of those pathways.
This preview for policy makers was prepared for the ninth session of the IRENA Assembly, held under the Presidency of China. The Chinese characters on the front cover signify the concept of "RE-Electrification".