Focus area

Electricity Grids

To fully transition to a renewable-based electricity system, modernised infrastructure is needed to efficiently and effectively transport electricity from where it is produced to where it is consumed.

This requires large-scale, optimised, and digitalised electricity grids to enable the integration of renewable generation and wider electrification. 

In short:

  • Grids require immense maintenance work and new infrastructure to handle the transition from a fossil-based electricity system to a renewable-based one.  

  • Permitting needs to be accelerated to build needed grid and renewables infrastructure. 

  • Incentives must be developed to ensure the proper mechanisms are in place to balance an increasingly renewables-heavy grid. 

Direct electrification is the most efficient way to decarbonise most sectors of our economy, and using renewable electricity directly can achieve high levels of decarbonisation in all sectors. To achieve net-zero, electrification of transport, heating, and industrial sectors is essential. However, the current electricity grid is not equipped to handle the increased demand for renewable electricity. 

To ensure the distribution of non-dispatchable renewable energy generation, an optimised, reinforced, and expanded electricity grid is essential. The existing grid is too small, outdated, and not flexible enough to accommodate variable renewable energy sources. As the share of variable renewable energy increases, policies must ensure flexibility in the energy system to accommodate sectors that rely on direct electrification and should support increased renewable penetration. 

Therefore, to fully transition to a renewable-based electricity system, significant infrastructure investments and policy changes are needed to create a more modernised, flexible, and efficient electricity grid that can support the increased penetration of renewables in the electricity mix. 

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The people involved

Ganni Vassallo

Policy Advisor, Electricity Grids

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