Climate analytics non-profit TransitionZero has revealed that investing $71 billion (£56.2 billion) could build 74GW of additional transmission and interconnection capacity.
This, in turn, would lead to savings of $350 billion (£277 billion).
By using the energy transition planning tool, Future Energy Outlook (FEO), and quantifying new revenue streams for countries able to become net transporters of clean electricity through transmission systems, TransitionZero’s ‘Cables to Change the World’ study also found that investing $1.7 trillion (£1.35 trillion) in transmission infrastructure on a global scale by 2050, would collectively cut decarbonisation costs by $3 trillion (£238 trillion).
FEO’s data set of power grids includes 163 countries – covering 99% of the global population.
FEO beta is set to be launched at this year’s COP28, which is taking place in Dubai between 30 November and 12 December. The platform models energy systems to predict the future growth of power production and generating capacity using satellite data of power plant and grid infrastructure alongside on-the-ground-data.
Germany-UK cable could accelerate global net zero
TransitionZero also identified ten cables that, if implemented correctly, could “accelerate the global transition to zero-carbon power.”
One of these was a German-UK cable with a 36GW capacity. The organisation’s rational for this was that the cable would connect two large Europeans demand centres, where trading is long established, as well as benefits from complementary generation mixes.
“Grid modernisation is the blind spot of the net-zero transition. Too often legacy ‘black-boxed’ data has detached energy models from what’s happening on the ground, preventing the grid build-out from keeping pace with the influx of renewables,” said Matthew Gray, CEO and co-founder at TransitionZero.
“Our main enemy is time – there’s no time for missteps. For climate targets to be met, the effective build-out of transmission infrastructure, underpinned by open data is critical. Moreover, governments need to grasp that a decision not to invest in the grid, is a decision to build more expensive capacity, such as nuclear and biomass.”
The study follows the International Environment Agency’s (IEAs) report earlier this month which found that 80 million kilometres of grid must be added or replaced globally by 2040 to meet climate targets.