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World Energy Outlook 2023

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About this report

The World Energy Outlook 2023 provides in-depth analysis and strategic insights into every aspect of the global energy system. Against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions and fragile energy markets, this year’s report explores how structural shifts in economies and in energy use are shifting the way that the world meets rising demand for energy. 

This Outlook assesses the evolving nature of energy security fifty years after the foundation of the IEA. It also examines what needs to happen at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai to keep the door open for the 1.5 °C goal. And, as it does every year, the Outlook examines the implications of today's energy trends in key areas including investment, trade flows, electrification and energy access.

This flagship publication of the International Energy Agency is the energy world’s most authoritative source of analysis and projections. Published each year since 1998, its objective data and dispassionate analysis provide critical insights into global energy supply and demand in different scenarios and the implications for energy security, climate change goals and economic development.

Online table of contents

1.0 executive summary.

Read online

2.0 Overview and key findings

3.0 context and scenario design, 4.0 pathways for the energy mix, 5.0 secure and people-centred energy transitions, 6.0 regional insights, weo special reports.

The Global Energy and Climate (GEC) Model key input dataset includes selected key input data for all three modelled scenarios (STEPS, APS, NZE). This contains macro drivers such as population, economic developments and prices as well as techno-economic inputs such as fossil fuel resources or technology costs.

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IEA (2023), World Energy Outlook 2023 , IEA, Paris, Licence: CC BY 4.0 (report); CC BY NC SA 4.0 (Annex A)

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Within the past 7 days

Wholesale electricity market data.

Feb 22, 2024 This site contains spreadsheets with wholesale electricity and natural gas data from seven major trading hubs that cover most regions of the United States. The data are through February 20, 2024, republished, with permission, from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Domestic Uranium Production Report – Quarterly

Feb 20, 2024 Fourth quarter 2023 update of uranium production in the United States and operating status of U.S. uranium mills and plants.

Within the past 30 days

State energy data system: motor gasoline and fuel ethanol through 2022.

Feb 16, 2024 Annual state-level estimates of motor gasoline consumption, prices, and expenditures and fuel ethanol consumption.

State Energy Portal: Updated Analyses and Quick Facts

We updated Analyses and Quick Facts for:

  • North Carolina
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina

Iraq Country Analysis Brief

Feb 14, 2024 Iraq holds some of the world’s largest oil reserves and is the second-largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia. Although Iraq intends to increase its crude oil production capacity, Iraq’s export infrastructure is constrained and midstream projects are often delayed because of insufficient investment and bureaucratic hurdles. In addition, Turkey stopped crude oil flows from northern Iraq through the Iraq-to-Turkey pipeline in March 2023, which has severely limited northern Iraq’s crude oil exports.

Drilling Productivity Report

Feb 12, 2024 The Drilling Productivity Report has been updated with the latest charts and methodology. This report uses recent data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in production from existing oil and natural gas wells to provide estimated changes in oil and natural gas production for seven key regions.

State Energy Data System: Coal through 2022

Feb 9, 2024 Annual state-level estimates of coal consumption, prices, and expenditures.

Feb 8, 2024 This site contains spreadsheets with wholesale electricity and natural gas data from seven major trading hubs that cover most regions of the United States. The data are through February 6, 2024 republished, with permission, from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Venezuela Country Analysis Brief

Feb 8, 2024 Several factors have severely hampered Venezuela's energy sector, most notably government mismanagement, international sanctions, and the country's economic crisis. These factors led to a lack of investment and maintenance in the energy sector and a deteriorating infrastructure. As such, Venezuela's total energy production decreased by an annual average rate of 8.2% from 2011 to 2021. Petroleum and other liquids accounted for most of the energy production decrease.

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Feb 6, 2024 Natural gas production. Because of disruptions in mid-January related to cold weather across the central United States, we estimate that U.S. dry natural gas production fell from a monthly record of 106 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in December to 102 Bcf/d in January. The January average was 3 Bcf/d lower than we had forecast in last month’s STEO. We forecast that U.S. natural gas production will increase in February and reach 105 Bcf/d by March as the weather-related disruptions subside and will stay close to that level for the rest of the year. Dry natural gas production averages 104 Bcf/d for all of 2024 in our forecast, almost 1 Bcf/d less than we forecast in last month’s STEO. We expect production will increase in 2025 to average more than 106 Bcf/d.

Petroleum Marketing Monthly

Feb 1, 2024 The February 2024 Petroleum Marketing Monthly (PMM), with data through November 2023 presents monthly and annual price and volume statistics for crude oil sales in the United States.

Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report

Feb 1, 2024 This report contains data for wood pellet and other densified biomass fuel production, sales, and inventory levels from 76 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel in the United States. Facilities with an annual capacity of 10,000 tons or more per year are required to report monthly.

Petroleum Supply Monthly

Jan 31, 2024 Supply and disposition of crude oil and petroleum products on a national and regional level. The data describe production, imports and exports, movements, and inventories.

Company Level Imports

Jan 31, 2024 Imports data at the company level collected from Form EIA-814, Monthly Imports Report.

U.S. Movements of Crude Oil By Rail

Jan 31, 2024 Monthly data on rail movements of crude oil have been updated for November 2023. Crude oil movements by rail have significantly increased during the past five years. The data on crude-by-rail (CBR) movements are also fully integrated with EIA’s existing monthly petroleum supply statistics, which already include crude oil movements by pipeline, tanker, and barge.

Natural Gas Monthly

Jan 31, 2024 In November 2023, dry natural gas production increased year over year for the month for the 31st consecutive month. Preliminary dry natural gas production in November 2023 was 3,178 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or 105.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Production was 3.6% (3.7 Bcf/d) higher in November 2023 than in November 2022 (102.2 Bcf/d) and the highest for any month since 1973, when we began tracking dry natural gas production. Gross withdrawals also increased from November 2022.

Monthly Biofuels Capacity and Feedstocks Update

Jan 31, 2024 The U.S. Energy Information Administration release showing national monthly biofuels operable production capacity.

Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production

Jan 31, 2024 These monthly production estimates are based on data from Form EIA-914, Monthly Crude Oil, Lease Condensate, and Natural Gas Production Report.

Coal Transportation Rates to the Electric Power Sector

Jan 29, 2024 This recent update to the Coal Transportation Rates to the Electric Power Sector web page incorporates final Form EIA-923 data for 2022 and updates the tables with data in nominal and real 2022 dollars. In 2008, EIA began collecting the commodity cost of all coal delivered to power plants with a combined nameplate capacity of 50 megawatts or greater on Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report . Because we already collect delivered cost for the same shipments, we calculate a proxy for transportation cost by subtracting the commodity cost from the delivered cost. On Form EIA-923, the owners or operators of all applicable plants must provide the quantity (in tons), commodity cost, and total delivered cost (both in cents per million British thermal units) of all coal shipments by fuel supplier and by month.

Monthly Energy Review

Jan 29, 2024 The Monthly Energy Review is our comprehensive report on recent and historical energy statistics. According to our January 2024 report, preliminary estimates indicate that U.S. net imports of primary energy decreased from -523 trillion British thermal units (Btu) in October 2022 to -814 trillion Btu in October 2023.

Jan 25, 2024 This site contains spreadsheets with wholesale electricity and natural gas data from seven major trading hubs that cover most regions of the United States. The data are through January 23, 2024, republished, with permission, from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Electric Power Monthly

Jan 24, 2024 Data in the January 2024 Electric Power Monthly (EPM) are for November 2023, when net generation in the United States was unchanged from November 2022. Consumption of natural gas for power generation was up 6.0% compared with November 2022. The average residential retail price of electricity was up 4.1% from November 2022.

Older than 30 days ›

Today In Energy article

Use of natural gas-fired generation differs in the United States by technology and region

Natural gas is the single-largest source of energy used to generate electricity in the United States, making up 43% of electricity generation in 2023. Natural gas-fired power plants accounted for the second-most U.S. generating capacity additions in 2023, trailing only solar. Combined with increasing domestic supply and relatively low natural gas prices, the versatility of natural gas-fired power plants to meet a wide range of requirements across many U.S. markets is one of the main reasons for their growth. However, the dispatchability, efficiency, and broad regional coverage of natural gas-fired power plants vary significantly. In addition, decades of advancements in natural gas turbine efficiency mean that the age of natural gas-fired plants affects how those plants are used.

See More ›

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Weekly Petroleum Status Report Release schedule: The wpsrsummary.pdf, overview.pdf, and Tables 1-14 in CSV and XLS formats, are released to the Web site after 10:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday. All other PDF and HTML files are released to the Web site after 1:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Appendix D is produced during the winter heating season, which extends from October through March of each year. For some weeks which include holidays, releases are delayed by one day. ( schedule )

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Global Energy Perspective 2023

This article was updated on november 21, 2023.

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Global Energy Perspective 2023 – Executive Summary

The Global Energy Perspective 2023 offers a detailed demand outlook for 68 sectors, 78 fuels, and 146 geographies across a 1.5° pathway, as well as four bottom-up energy transition scenarios with outcomes ranging in a warming of 1.6°C to 2.9°C by 2100.

As the world accelerates on the path toward net-zero, achieving a successful energy transition may require a major course correction to overcome bottlenecks and reach the goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

View overview

For leaders seeking greater granularity on the most significant trends, challenges, and opportunities facing their sectors, we are complementing our macro perspective with a series of deep dives across the energy value chain.

Wide-ranging scenarios point to an unclear path ahead

The energy transition has gathered pace, but the path ahead is full of uncertainty in everything from technology trends to geopolitical risk and consumer behavior—making it difficult to shape resilient investment strategies that work in multiple scenarios. It is therefore increasingly challenging for decision makers to address multiple objectives at once, such as meeting long-term goals for decarbonization as well as short-term expectations for economic returns.

The Global Energy Perspective 2023 explores the outlook for demand and supply of energy commodities across a 1.5° pathway (modelled as part of McKinsey’s Climate Math effort) and four bottom-up energy transition scenarios. These scenarios sketch a range of outcomes based on varying underlying assumptions—for example, about the pace of technological process and the level of policy enforcement. Despite significant reductions in carbon emissions, all energy transition scenarios remain above the 1.5° pathway and result in warming of between 1.6° and 2.9°C.

These estimates include non-CO 2 emissions, building in assumptions on non-energy emissions from sectors like agriculture, forestry, and waste.

To stay within the carbon budget necessary for the 1.5° pathway, a much steeper reduction in emissions would be required, particularly in the next ten years.

Fossil fuel demand is projected to peak soon, but the outlook remains uncertain

Total demand for fossil fuels is projected to peak by 2030 in all scenarios. Although a sharp decline in coal demand is expected under all scenarios, natural gas and oil are expected to grow further in the next few years and then remain a core part of the world’s energy mix for decades to come.

Total natural gas demand to 2040 is projected to increase under most scenarios, driven in large part by the balancing role that gas is expected to play for renewables-based power generation until batteries are deployed at scale. In the decade to 2050, the outlook for gas demand differs widely by scenario, from a steady increase under slower transition scenarios to a steep decline under scenarios in which renewables and electrification advance faster.

For oil, total demand is projected to continue growing for much of this decade and then to fall after 2030—but the extent of the decline differs significantly across scenarios. In the Achieved Commitments scenario, oil demand almost halves by 2050, mainly driven by the slowdown in car-parc growth, enhanced engine efficiency in road transport, and the continued electrification of transport. In the Fading Momentum scenario, oil demand would decline by just 3 percent over the same period; this reflects much slower electrification of the global car parc and lower penetration of alternative fuels in the aviation, maritime, and chemicals sectors as bottlenecks on materials and infrastructure limit their growth.

Renewables will make up the bulk of the power mix by 2050

Renewables are expected to continue their rapid growth, driven in part by their cost competitiveness—in many regions they are already the lowest-cost option for incremental new-build power generation. Renewable energy sources are expected to provide between 45 and 50 percent of global generation by 2030, and between 65 and 85 percent by 2050. In all scenarios, solar is the biggest contributor of renewable energy, followed by wind.

The ramp-up of renewables could see emissions from power generation reduced by between 17 and 71 percent by 2050 compared to present levels, despite a doubling or even tripling of demand. However, the renewables build-out faces challenges, from supply-chain issues to slow permitting and grid build-out implications.

The uptake of nuclear and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies could lower the burden on the renewables build-out, but depends on the political landscape and future cost development.

Coal (without CCUS) is expected to be phased out gradually. Power generation from hydrogen-ready gas plants—which support grid stability—is likely to increase.

Major investments in the energy sector will be needed, but remain stable as a share of GDP

Total annual investments in the energy sector are projected to grow by between 2 and 4 percent per annum—roughly in line with global GDP growth—to reach between $2 trillion and $3.2 trillion in 2040.

Despite the increasing regulatory push for decarbonization and a declining demand for fossil fuels, between 25 and 40 percent of energy investments in 2040 will still be deployed in fossil fuels and conventional power generation to meet demand, offset declines in existing production fields, and balance the energy system.

There will be a gradual but continued shift of investment focus from fossil fuels to green technologies and electric transmission and distribution. In 2015, power renewables and decarbonization technologies accounted for only 20 percent of total investments, while that figure is projected to reach 40 to 50 percent by 2040.

Decarbonization technologies show the highest growth at between 6 and 11 percent per annum, mainly driven by the strong uptake of EV charging infrastructure and CCUS, which together are projected to account for the bulk of decarbonization investments by 2040.

In the more progressive scenarios, higher energy investments are mostly offset by lower total operating expenditure for fuels like coal and gas due to the shift towards more capital expenditure-intensive technologies like renewables.

Despite the absolute increase, energy investments as a share of GDP remain stable at between 1.2 and 2.2 percent across all years and scenarios.

Achieving a successful energy transition would require a major course correction to overcome bottlenecks and reach the goals aligned with the Paris Agreement

To deliver on the steep climate commitments made globally, substantial pivots are needed across industries and geographies. Even the more modest transition scenarios require that multiple bottlenecks are overcome.

Potential bottlenecks include land availability, energy infrastructure, manufacturing capacity, consumer affordability, investment willingness, and material availability.

The adoption of green hydrogen faces steep challenges mainly due to infrastructure needs and the high investments required to achieve large-scale deployment.

Rare materials are required for most energy transition technologies, with EVs and wind generation both highly impacted by materials bottlenecks.

Costs continue to be a barrier, but EVs and heat pumps are expected to become economically viable. Despite the big upfront investments needed, renewables become cost competitive in the Further Acceleration and Achieved Commitments scenarios.

While these bottlenecks could limit growth of some of the technologies known today, shortages are also likely to lead to price spikes that create additional investment opportunities and innovation.

The energy transition is well underway, but how it will unfold in the decades ahead is difficult to predict. Decision makers in government and business face a challenging time planning for a future energy mix that remains unclear.

Leaders might be tempted to “wait and see”, but this approach would be a big risk. Even if the exact trajectory of the energy transition is unknown, the changes ahead will be immense—and faster than many expect. A look at the past two years underscores this: despite massive and unprecedented uncertainties, the growth in several low-carbon technologies has continued and even accelerated.

Organizations can work now to shape transition strategies that account for uncertainty and are robust under a range of future scenarios. Those strategies, aggregated across countries and sectors, will determine how the global energy landscape takes shape in the years ahead. They will also be crucial in driving progress on sustainability while safeguarding energy security, affordability, and industrial competitiveness.

To request access to the data and analytics related to our Global Energy Perspective, or to speak to our team, please contact us .

United Nations Sustainable Development Logo

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy

Goal 7 is about ensuring access to clean and affordable energy, which is key to the development of agriculture, business, communications, education, healthcare and transportation.

  • The world continues to advance towards sustainable energy targets – but not fast enough. At the current pace, about 660 million people will still lack access to electricity and close to 2 billion people will still rely on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking by 2030.

Our everyday life depends on reliable and affordable energy. And yet the consumption of energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

From 2015 to 2021, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity has increased from 87 per cent to 91 per cent.

Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment.

Why should I care about this goal?

A well-established energy system supports all sectors: from businesses, medicine and education to agriculture, infrastructure, communications and high technology.

Access to electricity in poorer countries has begun to accelerate, energy efficiency continues to improve, and renewable energy is making impressive gains. Nevertheless, more focused attention is needed to improve access to clean and safe cooking fuels and technologies for 2.3 billion people.

For many decades, fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas have been major sources of electricity production, but burning carbon fuels produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which cause climate change and have harmful impacts on people’s well-being and the environment. This affects everyone, not just a few. Moreover, global electricity use is rising rapidly. In a nutshell, without a stable electricity supply, countries will not be able to power their economies.

Without electricity, women and girls have to spend hours fetching water, clinics cannot store vaccines for children, many schoolchildren can not do homework at night, and people cannot run competitive businesses. Slow progress towards clean cooking solutions is of grave global concern, affecting both human health and the environment, and if we don’t meet our goal by 2030, nearly a third of the world’s population – mostly women and children – will continue tobe exposed to harmful household air pollution.

  • To ensure access to energy for all by 2030, we must accelerate electrification, increase investments in renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and develop enabling policies and regulatory frameworks.

What are the consequences to lack of access to energy?

Energy services are key to preventing disease and fighting pandemics – from powering healthcare facilities and supplying clean water for essential hygiene, to enabling water for essential hygiene, to enabling communications and IT services that connect people while maintaining social distancing.

What can we do to fix these issues?

Countries can accelerate the transition to an affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy system by investing in renewable energy resources, prioritizing energy efficient practices, and adopting clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

Businesses can maintain and protect eco- systems and commit to sourcing 100% of operational electricity needs from renewable sources.

Employers can reduce the internal demand for transport by prioritizing telecommunications and incentivize less energy intensive modes such as train travel over auto and air travel.

Investors can invest more in sustainable energy services, bringing new technologies to the market quickly from a diverse supplier base.

You can save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer. You can also bike, walk or take public transport to reduce carbon emissions.

report on energy

Facts and figures

Goal 7 targets.

  • Renewable sources power nearly 30 per cent of energy consumption in the electricity sector, but challenges remain in heating and transport sectors. Developing countries experience 9.6 per cent annual growth in renewable energy installation, but despite enormous needs, international financial flows for clean energy continue to decline.
  • 733 million people don’t have access to electricity. That’s about one in ten people worldwide. Energy Access | United Nations Development Programme  
  • Access to electricity went from 73% in 1998 to 90% in 2020 . Access to electricity | United Nations Development Programme
  • It’s estimated that between US$ 35 billion and 40 billion are needed annually to reach universal electricity access between 2021 and 2030 to reach universal access to electricity. Access to electricity | United Nations Development Programme
  • The global electricity access has risen from 87% in 2015 to 91% in 2021, but 675 million people, primarily in LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa, remain without access.
  • While progress has been made in improving access to electricity and clean cooking fuels globally, 675 million people remain unconnected to grids and 2.3 billion continue to rely on unsafe and polluting fuels for cooking.
  • Renewable sources power nearly 30% of energy consumption in the electricity sector, but challenges remain in heating and transport sectors.
  • In 2021, 71% of the global population had access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, up from 64% in 2015. The region with the lowest access rates was sub-Saharan Africa, where progress towards clean cooking has failed to keep pace with growing populations, leaving a total of 0.9 billion people without access in 2021.

Source: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023

7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services

7.2  By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

7.3  By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

7.A  By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

7.B  By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support

Sustainable Energy for All initiative

UNDP Environment and Energy

UNIDO Energy and Climate Change

International Energy Agency

International Renewable Energy Agency

Fast Facts: Affordable and Clean Energy

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Infographic: Affordable and Clean Energy

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The World Bank

Energy is at the heart of development. Energy makes possible the investments, innovations, and new industries that are the engines of jobs, inclusive growth, and shared prosperity for entire economies.

Yet nearly 675 million people still live without electricity worldwide. About 2.3 billion people rely on polluting traditional fuels and technologies to cook their meals.

Scaling up renewables and energy efficiency, and investing in electrification at scale, while avoiding new coal plant construction and retiring old ones, is critical to providing clean energy to power homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses.

Energy Shocks Are Hitting the Poor the Hardest

The COVID-19 pandemic and the war on Ukraine have made energy prices more volatile, exacerbating energy shortages and energy security concerns, and further slowing progress toward universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030 as outlined in the  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 .

These shocks have impacted most countries but developing countries have faced the highest burdens. Energy-importing countries that carry the brunt of these burdens have limited capacity to mitigate energy price volatility, leading to energy rationing in some countries and escalating poverty.

Renewables are the Key to Green, Secure, Affordable Energy

Renewable energy can help countries mitigate climate change, build resilience to volatile prices, and lower energy costs. Solar and wind technologies are a game changer for many developing countries as solar and wind are abundant, cost-competitive, and a source of reliable power when combined with battery storage. Hydropower also provides clean, renewable energy that is one of the lowest-cost sources of electricity for consumers. 

Modern solar mini grids bring energy to remote populations not connected to the electricity grid, providing enough electricity for life-changing electric equipment—medical equipment in hospitals; pumping clean water in farming communities—becoming the least-cost way to bring reliable and clean electricity to remote communities. Connecting 490 million people to solar mini grids could cut 1.2 billion tons of CO 2 emissions .

Financing the Energy Transition

Energy consumption accounts for more than three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. Financing the massive deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, while gradually retiring fossil fuels is critical to addressing climate change and providing the essential energy services that are the backbone of our economies.

To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, investments in the energy sector in developing countries need to quadruple to $1 trillion in 2030, including a dramatic acceleration of solar, onshore wind, and offshore wind investments. However, in developing countries, constrained fiscal space and lack of access to finance make the costly upfront investments in renewable energy unaffordable. In addition, macroeconomic and political uncertainties discourage private-sector investors from supporting renewable energy.

Last Updated: Oct 04, 2023

The World Bank aims to accelerate an equitable and just energy transition that protects people, communities, and the environment. We focus on tackling the next frontier in energy access and reaching poor and vulnerable populations, particularly in countries characterized by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV).

The World Bank (IBRD-IDA) is one of the largest providers of financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries. Over the last five years—FY19-23:

  • We committed about $13 billion to enable renewable energy generation . Almost two-thirds of this support is for transmission and distribution infrastructure to facilitate the integration of renewable energy, guarantees, as well as upstream support for enabling policies, regulations, and institutions to scale up private investments for renewable energy.
  • We invested about $5.5 billion to support energy efficiency , including direct investment in public infrastructure such as public buildings or street lighting.
  • We approved about $7.2 billion to support energy access , mainly in Africa.
  • In FY18-22, the World Bank connected or improved the connection to electricity for about 77 million people  
  • The World Bank has launched the DARES (Decentralized Access with Renewable Energy Scale-up) Platform, which aims to double the pace of energy access with decentralized renewable energy technologies by 2026, aiming to provide access to 100 million people in Africa.
  • The World Bank has catalyzed over $20 billion in private investments in renewable energy generation capacity in the last few years.
  • Since 1995, the Bank has provided more than $3 billion to support a just transition away from coal and helped governments close coal mines and power plants while ensuring a just transition that provides livelihood opportunities for workers and communities.

Scaling Up Clean Energy to Phase Down Coal

The World Bank has outlined a vision for how the international community can support developing countries to overcome the critical barriers paralyzing the power sector transition.  This new framework for energy transition, “Scaling Up to Phase Down,” serves as a roadmap to catalyze financing and sustain a virtuous cycle that unleashes urgently needed investment in power sector transition.

The Scaling Up to Phase Down approach intends to be a bridge between the challenges facing developing countries seeking to transition their power sectors and the partners supporting their efforts.

The energy transition is distilled into six steps – a “ virtuous cycle ” –foundational for overcoming barriers to clean energy. The cycle starts with government leadership, which translates to a supportive regulatory environment, increasingly capable institutions, and instruments to minimize risks, followed by transparent and competitive project allocation, which can deliver clean energy that serves urgent needs, including energy security, energy affordability, and jobs.

Supporting a Just Transition Away from Coal

Transitioning the highest emitting countries away from fossil fuels, particularly coal—the world's most dominant and most carbon-intensive source of energy—is crucial to ensuring a clean energy future.

The World Bank  has decades of experience supporting countries where coal mines and power plants are closing, wherever they are in the transition process. Since 1995, we have provided more than $3 billion to support coal transitions. We prioritize early engagement with communities, helping build stronger local and regional institutions, robust social protection plans, and advanced planning to repurpose coal lands and assets and develop renewables to take their place.

Ramping up Support to Reduce Methane Emissions

Methane has an outsized and growing impact on near-term climate change, with 80 times the warming power of CO2 in the first 20 years after emissions. Methane emissions are also increasing at the fastest rate ever, with emissions 15% higher in 2021 than in 1984-2006.

Through the  Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), the World Bank works with governments and companies to end routine gas flaring and venting, which releases methane at oil production sites. The Bank addresses technical, regulatory, and financial barriers to flaring and venting reduction, develops country-specific flaring/venting reduction programs, and produces research to support governments. Since 2003, GGFR has worked to reduce flaring and methane emissions worldwide.

IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm, supported one of the world's largest gas flaring reduction projects in Iraq by arranging a $360 million loan, helping avoid unnecessary flaring while supporting Iraq's energy transition and expanding energy access for the poor.

We support countries to ensure that the transition to more diversified and cleaner sources of energy meets growing demand, brings economic growth, and creates jobs .

The World Bank is one of the largest providers of financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in low- and middle-income countries. We also partner with others, through the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) to help achieve universal access to energy by 2030.

Below is a selection of our key investments and results:

  • Over the last five years, the World Bank committed $13 billion to enable renewable energy generation . Almost two-thirds of this support is for transmission and distribution infrastructure to facilitate the integration of renewable energy, guarantees, as well as upstream support for enabling policies, regulations, and institutions to scale up private investments for renewable energy.
  • In Maldives , two World Bank projects will install over 50 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity and 40-megawatt hours of battery storage , saving about 30 million liters of diesel and reducing fuel imports by $30 million each year.
  • In India, the World Bank has provided $3 billion in lending to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. Renewable energy programs are expanding solar parks, roof-top solar installations, and battery capacity, saving more than 2.4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
  • In Yemen , World Bank enabled over 91,000 households - 21 percent of which were headed by females – to acquire subsidized solar energy systems that support healthcare, education, and water services for 3.2 million people.
  • In Bolivia , a World Bank-supported renewable energy has connected some 20,200 people to the power grid in remote, underserved areas .
  • In Bangladesh , the World Bank supports the largest off-grid program in the world through 2.41 million solar home systems, 1,300 solar irrigation pumps, 14 solar-based mini grids, and 3 million efficient cookstoves. Around four million people in rural areas now have reliable access to clean energy through this program, which has created 30,000 jobs.
  • In Uzbekistan, new solar power plants supported by the World Bank will expand access to clean energy, providing 1 Terawatt-hour of renewable electricity and avoiding around 110,00 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.
  • $10 billion supporting 7.6 GW of renewable energy generation capacity .
  • $8.4 billion in support of energy access, of which $4.7 billion went into on-grid access, and $3.1 billion into decentralized renewables, such as mini-grids and off-grid solar. This support will provide energy access to 74 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The World Bank approved in 2023 $400 million for the Kenya Green and Resilient Expansion of Energy (GREEN) Program, to help Kenya achieve universal access and 100 percent clean energy by 2030. 
  • $ 2.2 billion of World Bank financing blended with $ 370 million of climate financing.
  • $ 1.2 billion in private financing to enable 1.4 GW of solar and wind with 1 GW of battery storage.
  • In Pakistan , WB support for Tarbela hydropower provides clean energy to millions of people and has saved the country $2 billion .
  • In Vietnam , we helped develop the Trung Son hydropower plant, which has supplied 1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of low-cost electricity since 2017, improving the livelihoods of 3,400 households and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million metric tons annually .

Energy efficiency

  • Energy efficiency is always faster and cheaper to implement than building new generation capacity .
  • In Benin , we support improving energy efficiency, in part by providing 24,670 new households access to improved cooking equipment and 25,000 households access to improved cookstoves. More than 113,000 tons of CO2 emissions reduction due to improved efficiency of lighting and appliances.
  • In India , reducing energy demand through measures—ranging  from subsidized energy tariffs to deploying 366 million LED bulbs – will save 11,200 GWh of electricity every year .
  • In Uzbekistan , where buildings account for 50% of energy consumption, the World Bank is improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.

Energy access

  • In FY19-23, the World Bank approved about $7.2 billion to support energy access , in Africa.
  • In Rwanda , World Bank helped the country reach near-universal electricity access by 2026, up from just 6% in 2009, by providing new or improved energy grid access to 230,000 households and off-grid energy access to another 150,000 households.
  • In Tanzania , we helped provide more than 4.5 million people with access to electricity and added new connections to more than 1,600 healthcare facilities and nearly 6,000 educational institutions—one of the fastest rates of energy-access expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade.
  • The World Bank's mini grid portfolio amounts t o over $1.4 billion and will support more than 3,000 mini grids in 30 countries, bringing electricity to more than 13 million people by 2029 .
  • In Nigeria, we have helped deploy more than 100 new solar-powered mini grids. In Kenya. we support almost 150 new mini grids in areas with low electricity access rates.

Energy for clean cooking

  • Today, 2.3 billion people still cook with traditional polluting fuels and technologies , severely impacting health, gender, economic, environmental, and climate outcomes. Women bear a disproportionate share of this cost in the form of poor health, safety, and lost productivity.
  • In the past seven years, between July 2015 and June 2022, the World Bank provided about $562 million for clean or improved cooking, to support 43 million people across 30 access-deficit countries—mainly in Africa and Asia.
  • The Clean Cooking Fund’s current portfolio in Rwanda, Niger, Mozambique, Uganda, Chad, and Tanzania has leveraged $46.5 million in IDA financing and $10.81 million in carbon finance, and $68.25 million in private finance to help 10.12 million people and 750 schools gain access to clean cooking.

Just Transition away from coal

  • In South Africa, the Bank is providing $497 million to help decommission South Africa’s Komati coal plant, the first of 12 in the country that will be retired by 2030, and repurpose it into a renewable station . The project will create opportunities for workers and communities during the transition process. This support will benefit over 650 Komati workers and an estimated 15,000 people through community development and economic diversification in the Komati area.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bank will provide $60 million to remediate and repurpose coal brownfields in 3 coal mining sites and attract new investment in the region.
  • In India, the Bank's $3 billion India energy portfolio combines policy support, technical assistance, capacity building, and lending to help India reduce its costly reliance on fossil fuels and achieve a target of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 .

Methane reduction

  • IFC supported one of the largest gas flaring reduction projects in the world in Iraq that helped avoid unnecessary flaring while supporting Iraq's energy transition and expanding energy access for the poor
  • The Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) initiative works with companies and governments to reduce flaring and methane emissions produced in oil production.

Battery and Energy Storage

  • Catalyzed public and private financing amounting to $725 million in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Maldives, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ukraine, and Western Africa.
  • Supported 14 World Bank lending projects (including six mini-grid projects) addressing deployment of renewable energy and storage solutions and increasing battery storage capacity by 2,527 megawatt hours (MWh).
  • Provided capacity building and training to clients engaged in energy storage projects and in mentoring women in the energy storage industry.
  • Electric  utilities are the backbone of power delivery, generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity for homes and businesses . The World Bank supports countries to improve utilities’ performance through policy, regulatory, institutional, and governance reforms. We also assist utilities in improving their operational and financial performance, commercial management systems, revenue protection programs, and automation of their internal processes.
  • From  2018 to 2022, over $27.3 billion of the World Bank financing supported projects with a utility component .
  • In  Rwanda , the World Bank has helped  increase   electricity access from 10 percent in 2010 to 54 percent in 2020  by improving the quality and reliability of electricity supply, and the capacity of the sector institutions, such as utilities.
  • In 2022, the World Bank launched the  Utility Knowledge Exchange Platform  to help utilities, energy sector institutions, regulators, system operators, the private sector, and the World Bank identify best practices, improve operational efficiencies, stimulate businesses, and accelerate technological innovation.
  • The World Bank supports countries to deploy clean hydrogen to decarbonize critical sectors such as transport, industry, agriculture, and mining.
  • In Chile , the World Bank approved in 2023 a $150 million project to promote the hydrogen industry, leveraging a total of 1- billion in concessional financing. The project will finance clean hydrogen production, including electrolysis systems, compression, and storage, and provide technical assistance to foster the new industry.
  • In India, the Bank approved in 2023 a $1.5- billion project to support the governments green hydrogen mission in five key sectors (Fertilizer, Refineries, Steel, Methanol and Transport)

Tackling energy access gaps during and after the COVID19 pandemic

This COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the urgent need to access energy gaps and deploy renewable energy on a massive scale to mitigate climate change and ensure energy reliability.

and security. Since the pandemic, the World Bank has worked with governments, the private sector, and other partners to repurpose and accelerate energy operations to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to hospitals and other critical health facilities—this includes energy for testing laboratories, cold storage for medicine and vaccines, and solar-powered water pumps.

  • In Nigeria, our response funded the electrification of priority public health facilities, including 100 isolation centers and 400 primary healthcare centers. Solar-hybrid mini grids are supporting emergency operations and equipment to test and treat COVID-19 patients.
  • Through ESMAP, the World Bank has provided additional financing to sustainably electrify healthcare facilities and cold-chain during COVID-19, especially in FCV countries.
  • In Haiti, this funding helped install solar panels and battery energy systems in regional and district hospitals.

Recent Research

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  • Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)
  • Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR)
  • Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS)
  • Utility Knowledge Exchange Platform (UKEP)

Latest Podcast

From Coal to Clean Energy: Protecting People Through the Transition


Woman by gas flare

Methane from Oil and Gas Production Explained

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), with a global warming potential (GWP) around 28 times greater than the same mass of carbon dioxide emissions on a 100-year basis.

Just Transition from Coal

  • Just Transition for All

The initiative works with stakeholders to create the plans, policies, and reforms needed to mitigate environmental impacts, support impacted people, and build a new clean energy future.

The World Bank

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) offers advisory services, knowledge, and toolkits for energy policy makers.

The World Bank

  • Global Flaring and Methane Reduction Partnership (GFMR)

The World Bank is part of a global initiative to reduce gas flaring at oil production sites around the world.

Miners discussing the landscape

The Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund helps developing countries manage their oil, gas, and mining resources to support poverty reduction and boost inclusive, sustainable growth and ...

Additional Resources

  • #ReThinkingEnergy for a Greener and more Resilient Future

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The United States uses a mix of energy sources

The United States uses and produces many different types and sources of energy, which can be grouped into general categories such as primary and secondary, renewable , and fossil fuels .

Primary energy sources include fossil fuels ( petroleum , natural gas , and coal ), nuclear energy , and renewable sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated (produced) from primary energy sources.

Energy sources are measured in different physical units : liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatthours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu) , a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other. In 2022, total U.S. primary energy consumption was equal to 100.41 quadrillion Btu.

  • There are five energy-use sectors , and the amounts—in quadrillion Btu (or quads )—of their primary energy consumption in 2022 were:
  • electric power 37.75 quads
  • transportation 27.47 quads
  • industrial 23.18 quads
  • residential 7.11 quads
  • commercial 4.90 quads

In 2022, the electric power sector accounted for about 96% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation, nearly all of which was sold to the other sectors. 1

The transportation, industrial, residential, and commercial sectors are called end-use sectors because they consume primary energy and electricity produced by the electric power sector.

  • Energy end-use by each end-use sector in 2022 was:
  • transportation 27.50 quads
  • industrial 26.62 quads
  • residential 12.30 quads
  • commercial 9.58 quads

Total energy consumption by the end-use sectors includes their primary energy use, purchased electricity, and electrical system energy losses ( energy conversion and other losses associated with the generation, transmission, and distribution of purchased electricity) and other energy losses .

The sources of energy used by each sector vary widely. For example, in 2022, petroleum provided approximately 90% of the transportation sector's energy consumption but only 1% of the electric power sector's primary energy use. The chart below shows the types and amounts of primary energy sources consumed in the United States, the amounts of primary energy used by the electric power sector and the energy end-use sectors, and sales of electricity by the electric power sector to the energy end-use sectors.

U.S. Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector graphic. Shares by source in 2022: Petroleum 36%, Natural Gas 33%, Renewable Energy 13%, Coal 10%, Nuclear Electric Power 8%. Shares by sector: Transportation 36%, Industrial 35%, Residential 16%, and Commercial 13%

Click to enlarge diagram and see extended chart notes

Click to enlarge

U.S. energy production has been greater than U.S. energy consumption in recent years

U.S. total annual energy production has exceeded total annual energy consumption since 2019. In 2022, production was 102.92 quads and consumption was 100.41 quads.

Fossil fuels —petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for about 81% of total U.S. primary energy production in 2022.

  • The percentage shares and amounts (in quads) of total U.S. primary energy production by major sources in 2022 were:
  • Natural gas 36% 37.10 quads
  • Petroleum (crude oil and natural gas plant liquids) 31% 32.33 quads
  • Renewable energy 13% 13.40 quads
  • coal 12% 12.04 quads
  • Nuclear electric power 8% 8.05 quads

The mix of U.S. energy consumption and production has changed over time

Fossil fuels have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years, but the mix has changed over time . 2

Petroleum’s share of total U.S. energy consumption peaked in the 1970s. In 1977, total petroleum consumption was about 48% (37 quads) of total U.S. energy consumption. In 2022, petroleum’s share of total U.S. energy consumption was 36% (36 quads). U.S. petroleum consumption decreased in 2020, largely as a result of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then increased in 2021 and 2022 as the economy recovered from the pandemic.

Annual crude oil production generally decreased between 1970 and 2008. The trend reversed in 2009 and crude oil production reached a record high in 2019. More cost-effective oil well drilling and production technologies, notably in tight oil and shale deposits, has helped to drive increases in annual crude oil production. U.S. total annual crude oil production was lower in 2020 and 2021, in part, because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on U.S. petroleum product demand. Total annual U.S. crude oil production was higher in 2022 because U.S. oil producers responded to increases in U.S. and world petroleum demand and to substantial increase in oil prices in the first half of 2022.

Annual natural gas plant liquids (NGPLs) production has generally increased since 2005, coinciding with increases in natural gas production, and reached a record high in 2022. NGPLs are the largest source of U.S. hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) production. Annual increases in HGL production since 2008 have contributed to lower HGL prices and to increased U.S. HGL consumption and exports .

Natural gas consumption has increased both in amount and share of U.S. energy consumption. In 1950, natural gas consumption was about 17% (5.97 quads) of total U.S. energy consumption, and in 2022, consumption was about 33% (33.41 quads) of total U.S. energy consumption. U.S. annual dry natural gas production has exceeded U.S. annual natural gas consumption in both volume and heat content since 2017. More efficient natural gas and oil well drilling and production techniques have resulted in increases in natural gas production from shale and tight geologic formations. The production increases generally contributed to a decline in U.S. natural gas prices through 2020, which, in turn, contributed to increases in natural gas consumption by the electric power and industrial sectors.

Renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs in 2022, at about 13% (13.40 quads) of total energy production and 13% (13.18 quads) of total energy consumption. The increases in recent years have been driven mainly by record-high solar and wind energy production and increasing hydroelectric power production . Hydropower generation in 2022 was about 4% higher than in 2021 but was about 7% lower than the 50-year annual average. Total biomass energy production and consumption in 2022 were both higher than in 2021 but lower than the record highs in 2018. Biofuels accounted for about half of total biomass consumption in 2022. Geothermal energy use in 2022 was about 4% higher than in 2021 but about 0.3% lower than the record high in 2014.

The contribution of coal to total U.S. energy consumption has declined from about 36% in 1950 to 10% in 2022, largely because the U.S. electric power sector has increased use of other energy sources and reduced coal consumption. In terms of coal’s total energy content, annual U.S. coal consumption peaked in 2005 at about 22.80 quads and production peaked in 1998 at about 24.05 quads. The energy content of total annual coal consumption has declined largely because the electric power sector has increased use of lower heat content coal. In 2022, coal consumption was about 10% (9.85 quads) of U.S. energy consumption. Coal production in 2022 was about 12.04 quads.

Nuclear energy production in commercial nuclear power plants in the United States began in 1957, grew each year through 1990 as the number of nuclear power plants and nuclear electricity generation capacity increased, and generally leveled off from 2001 through 2019. Nuclear energy’s share of U.S. energy consumption peaked in 2009 at about 9% (8.36 quads). A combination of reactor upgrades and shorter refueling and maintenance cycles at nuclear power plants helped to compensate for fewer operating nuclear reactors since the 1990s. In 2020 through 2022, total annual nuclear electricity generation declined after two nuclear plants retired in 2020, one plant in 2021, and another plant in 2022. In 2022, nuclear energy’s share of total U.S. energy consumption was about 8% (8.05 quads).

1 Utility-scale electricity generation includes generation from power plants with at least one megawatt of electric generation capacity. The industrial and commercial sectors produced about 4% of utility-scale electricity generation in 2022. The Monthly Energy Review Table 10.6. includes estimates for distributed (small-scale) solar electricity generation. A small amount of electricity is imported from and exported to Canada and Mexico. 2 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review , Tables 1.2 and 10.1 and Table D1 Estimated Primary Energy Consumption in the United States, Selected Years, 1635-1945 .

Last updated: August 16, 2023, with data from the Monthly Energy Review , April 2023; data for 2022 are preliminary .

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As the nation undergoes a significant transition both in the production and use of energy, states are taking the lead in enacting policies aimed at addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by this transition. These include policies designed to promote specific energy generation technologies, manage an increase in power demand as the transportation and building sectors increasingly electrify, and support communities and workers affected by these changing economic dynamics.

The energy transition involves a gradual but dramatic change in how the nation produces and consumes energy. In general, the components of the transition involve a shift to renewable and clean electricity generation to propel a shift to electrify and decarbonize many sectors of the economy. That transition has implications for every energy sector—from primary energy production to electricity generation, transmission and distribution, to how energy is consumed. Similarly, these changes have implications for industrial, commercial, and residential consumers, along with the energy workforce.

During this period of transition, industry and the public sector are working to ensure that the reliability, resilience and affordability of the energy system is not compromised. The transition also requires new thinking on the part of policymakers and regulators to manage both the opportunities and challenges these changes will have on energy systems.

One of the primary elements of the energy transition involves a shift in the electricity generation mix from generation powered primarily by fossil fuels to a growing share of renewable and other clean energy resources. That shift in generation resources presents opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve local air quality, lower energy costs and create new jobs and economic development opportunities. It also creates a host of challenges, including:

  • The need for major new investment in generation, transmission, distribution and end-user infrastructure.
  • Potential challenges in maintaining affordability for energy consumers.
  • Potential threats to the reliability and resilience of the system.
  • And negative consequences for some workers and communities tied to fossil fuel resources.

While federal policy is playing a key role in driving the energy transition, states and state legislatures have been taking the lead in directing and managing many aspects of this transition. The scale of the transition also requires engagement and collaboration from every level and branch of government, including executive branch entities and regulatory bodies.

This publication will review how state legislatures are engaging to drive and manage various dimensions of the energy transition. All legislation referenced in this report has been enacted, unless otherwise noted.

Key Takeaways

State policies will play a key role during the transition toward clean energy systems—not only to drive the development of new energy resources and infrastructure, but also to protect consumers and support communities and workers affected by these changing economic dynamics.

The scale of the transition presents significant opportunities, coupled with significant challenges, and will require engagement and collaboration from every level and branch of government.

Driving the Transition to Renewable and Clean Energy

In recent years, a number of states including Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Maryland have enacted broad clean energy or emissions reduction legislation. In 2021, Oregon  HB 2021  required a 100% reduction of carbon emissions by 2040, North Carolina  HB 951  set a target to reduce emissions 70% by 2030, and Illinois ( SB 2408 ) and Rhode Island ( H 5445 ) each enacted new requirements to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In 2022, the trend in seeking emissions reductions continued. California enacted  AB 1279 , setting a new target for the state to reduce statewide GHG emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2045. Maryland  SB 528  set a target of 2031 to reduce GHG emissions by 60% compared to a 2006 baseline and to reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

In addition to emissions reduction legislation, one commonly used state policy tool playing a key role in driving the energy transition has been the  renewable portfolio standard  (RPS), which requires utilities under state jurisdiction to procure a certain amount of electricity from qualifying renewable resources by a certain date. However, since 2017, a growing number of states have increased their RPS requirements and expanded the types of resources to include a wider array of carbon-free or low-carbon resources, such as nuclear power or fossil fuel-fired generation with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies. These policies—all of which maintain a strong RPS—have been classified as clean energy standards (CES).

Thirty states, Washington, D.C., and two territories have active renewable or clean energy requirements, while an additional three states and one territory have set voluntary renewable energy goals. Of those, at least nine states have established CES policies that work in tandem with the state’s RPS requirements. At least 11 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have increased their RPS or CES standards to 100% of retail sales with deadlines ranging from 2030 to 2050, while another three states have increased their standards to 50% or greater.

In 2022, Rhode Island enacted  HB 7277A  to adopt annual increases in the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and requiring that 100% of Rhode Island’s electricity be offset by renewable production by 2033. In 2023, Minnesota enacted  HB 7 , which establishes a new CES requirement that utilities in the state must get 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040.

Emissions reduction targets and RPS policies have driven broad changes in electricity generation. State legislatures have also been adopting policies focused specifically on supporting, promoting, or regulating specific generation technologies including wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable and clean electricity generation technologies.

As renewable energy deployment expands, siting of those facilities has become an important topic for state legislatures. In recent years, Montana  SB 63  authorized the state land board to lease state lands for wind and solar development. Multiple states also passed legislation concerning the siting of renewable energy facilities on farmland. New Jersey enacted  AB 5434 ,  encouraging the dual use of farmland and solar installations by establishing a pilot program and allowing certain dual-use property to be assessed solely as farmland under certain conditions. By contrast, Maine enacted  SB 206 , which convenes a working group to discourage the use of high-value agricultural land for siting solar arrays and instead looks to marginal-value land for those facilities.

State legislatures are also considering the need to ensure proper decommissioning and recycling of renewable energy facilities and infrastructure to avoid negative environmental impacts of growing development. Hawaii  HB 1333  commissioned a study to determine best practices for the recycling and disposal of solar panels. Washington enacted  HB 1393 , which postponed the state’s original solar panel recycling and decommissioning requirements as the state looks to establish a more comprehensive program. Conversely, Maine enacted  SB 113 , establishing decommissioning requirements for solar facilities, including the submittal of a decommissioning plan for all new solar developments. Similarly, Texas  SB 760  set parameters for the removal and decommissioning of solar power facilities. As renewable production continues to expand, appropriately managing that development, including end-of-life considerations, will continue to spur legislative action.

In 2022 offshore wind took on new focus following an announcement from the federal departments of Energy, Interior, and Commerce of a  national goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind  by 2030. State legislatures have been exploring opportunities to take advantage of this initiative and ensure that offshore wind development serves state priorities. For example, in 2022 Louisiana enacted  HB 165  which would allow offshore wind development in Louisiana state waters for the first time. This action in Louisiana illustrates both the challenges and opportunities of the transition. The state has long benefited from fossil fuel production through state revenues, workforce and economic development benefits. HB 165 includes a requirement that state offshore wind regulations include lease and royalty terms. This highlights the need to replace state revenue and economic activity associated with fossil fuel production. The expansion of renewable energy production offers, at least in part, an opportunity to provide new state revenue and economic development opportunities.

Also related to offshore wind, recent legislation in New Hampshire highlights a role for states in managing the potentially negative impacts of new renewable generation projects on existing industries. New Hampshire  SB 268  requires the state’s PUC to meet certain requirements in the approval of power purchase agreements for offshore wind development, including mitigating the impacts on commercial and recreational fishing, an existing economic sector that may be threatened by new energy infrastructure.

One of the opportunities presented by the energy transition involves new investment in communities that may not have experienced the benefits associated with previous generations of investment in energy infrastructure. A number of states have identified community solar as an opportunity to drive the economic benefits of the transition to previously underserved communities.

Massachusetts’ community solar program incentivizes community solar access for low-income customers by providing “adders” to the base rates that utilities pay for electricity. Under the  Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target  (SMART) program, utilities in the state must purchase a certain amount of their electricity from solar facilities developed under this program, including community solar facilities. To incentivize building community solar facilities in low-income areas, the state has established “ adders ” on top of the base SMART rate that provide developers with additional financial compensation on top of the base SMART rate for solar facilities with certain characteristics. For instance, a community solar facility in a low-income area can sell its electricity at a rate 6 cents higher than the base SMART rate. Similarly Virginia’s  HB 573  established a low-income community solar pilot program that requires each electric utility participating in the state’s community solar program to locate at least one generation facility in a low-income community.

The combination of new state emissions reduction targets, policies to support renewable generation and increases in the stringency of state RPS requirements constitute a major driver in the transition from fossil fuel-based to renewable and clean electricity. The examples above also illustrate how state legislatures have been exploring policies to both realize the benefits and manage the potential negative impacts of this transition.

Preserving Existing Industries

While many states are aggressively driving the clean energy transition, other states with communities, workers and economies tied primarily to the fossil fuel industry are grappling with the implications of how the movement toward clean energy will affect them.

In recent years, a handful of states enacted policies aimed at preserving coal-fired power plants, along with the associated jobs, tax base and other economic contributions. North Dakota enacted measures providing the coal industry with exemptions to certain taxes ( HB 1412 ), limiting state regulation of coal-fired power plants ( SB 2237 ) and providing for a study on lignite coal industry insurance ( SB 2287 ). North Dakota also encouraged research and development of technologies to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired plants through a Clean Sustainable Energy Fund ( HB 1452 ). Arkansas enacted  HB 1665 , which encourages the state PUC to promote the continued use of existing generation through the end of its useful life. Finally, Wyoming  HB 166  creates a presumption against the retirement of coal-and natural gas-fired generation, which utilities must rebut to retire such generating units. The new law also eliminates cost-recovery for new electric generation intended to replace retired coal- or gas-fired generation.

One of the concerns associated with the transition away from fossil fuel generation involves the financial consequences for utilities that own assets that may be retired earlier than originally planned. North Carolina’s  HB 951  requires the state’s major electric utilities to submit plans to the state public utilities commission (PUC) outlining how they will reduce emissions and directs the PUC to undertake a rulemaking regarding the securitization of costs associated with early retirement of coal-fired electric generating facilities that would allow utilities to securitize up to 50% of the value of those facilities. Securitization has become a commonly discussed tool to insulate utilities and ratepayers from the economic consequences of early retirements of fossil fuel generation assets. Since 2019, at least six states—Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico and North Carolina—have enacted legislation enabling utilities to securitize assets to facilitate the early retirement of coal-fired power plants.

In addition to taking action to preserve the economic benefits of coal generation, some states are responding to measures intended to electrify building energy use that has traditionally been served by natural gas. In 2021, California  AB 137  directed the state Energy Commission to develop an initiative to support new, all-electric residential construction. Another bill, California  SB 68 , required the Energy Commission to disseminate guidance and best practices to overcome barriers to building electrification, including model electrification plans and permit applications to streamline the process. New Mexico’s  HB 15  provided additional tax bonuses for fully-electric construction, in addition to those mentioned under energy efficiency.

In addition, a number of localities have pursued bans on the use of natural gas in new buildings. For example, in 2019, Berkeley, Calif., as part of its emissions reduction policies, became the first local government to prohibit the use of natural gas in new buildings. Since then, several local governments across the country have moved to enact similar policies, including New York City banning natural gas hook-ups   in new buildings in 2021.These policies most often ban natural gas hookups in new construction for multi-dwelling apartment buildings and commercial buildings, requiring buildings to electrify heating, cooking and other appliances. While the majority of these policies have been enacted by local governments, at least two states have taken similar action in the past couple of years. In 2022, Massachusetts enacted  HB 4515 , which among other things, allowed up to 10 local governments to prohibit the use of natural gas in new buildings. In 2023, New York enacted the first statewide ban on gas hookups in new construction as part of its  budget bill .

In response, some state legislatures moved to preempt this type of action by municipal governments, arguing they unfairly burden low-and-middle-income residents by limiting access to cheaper resources. Four states—Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee—enacted laws in 2020 preempting local governments from restricting the use of natural gas and other fuels in new construction. In 2021, another 17 states passed this type of legislation, often referred to as “fuel choice” laws.

A recent federal court decision only complicated the issue. In April 2023, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  ruled  that Berkeley’s gas ban was preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which prohibits state and local restrictions on gas appliances. The three-judge panel ruled that prohibiting gas piping ultimately established a restriction on gas appliances. While the ruling stands, the city of Berkeley may challenge the decision.

These recent state actions highlight the complexity of the energy transition and the diversity of state energy policy priorities. State legislatures will continue to devise ways to manage the transition in ways that reflect their unique state circumstances and best serve their diverse populations.

Enabling a Diverse Energy Economy

As the nation transitions to a low-carbon energy system, a number of states are exploring ways to maintain or create viable economic opportunities associated with new clean energy technologies and business models. This includes policies to support existing nuclear power generation, promote the development of advanced nuclear power projects, and spur investments in hydrogen and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Often these policies are attempts to support workers and communities that are, or are projected to, experience negative economic impacts from the transition away from fossil fuel production.

To meet clean energy goals, support workers, and maintain the reliability of the energy system,  at least five states  have enacted policies in recent years to keep existing nuclear power plants operating. The most common policy, known as zero emissions credits (ZECs), provides direct payment for every megawatt hour of carbon-free power generated by qualifying nuclear power plants. The Illinois legislature was the first to enact a ZECs policy in 2016 and acted again in 2021 to expand its support as a part of  SB 2408 . The intent of this policy was to protect both the carbon-free electricity produced by these plants and the jobs associated with them.

State policy to preserve the existing nuclear fleet is complemented by recent federal action. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress created the $6 billion  Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program  to help maintain the country’s fleet of existing nuclear reactors. Subsequently, in September 2022 California enacted  SB 846  authorizing a limited-term extension of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s license, structured to take advantage of the opportunity for federal support. The plant was scheduled to retire in 2025, but may now remain in operation until 2029 or beyond. In November 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE) announced  that the first award under the new CNC program would be made to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Diablo Canyon’s owner. PG&E could receive approximately $1.1 billion in credits to extend the plant’s operation for five years.

However, preserving existing nuclear power plants is not the only area where states have identified nuclear as an important resource for the decarbonization and economic development during the energy transition. Other states see new, advanced nuclear technology as an opportunity to provide economic benefits to communities impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels. In particular, a number of states with economies tied to coal have enacted policies aiming to leverage the existing workforce and infrastructure to support a transition toward nuclear. In fact, the concept of coal-to-nuclear conversions—building advanced nuclear generation on the site of retiring or retired coal power plants—has gained steam in recent years. Recently, the DOE published a study exploring the potential challenges and benefits of coal-to-nuclear and concluded that 80% of nearly 400 retired and operating coal plants in the U.S. would be good candidates to host an advanced reactor facility.

Wyoming was the first state to enact a coal-to-nuclear policy in 2020;  HB 74  targeted retired coal units for redevelopment through small modular reactors (SMRs). Similarly, the Montana legislature adopted  SJR 3  to study the feasibility of replacing certain coal-fired units with advanced nuclear generation and enacted  HB 273  to repeal a state law that required citizens to vote on the approval of any new nuclear power project in the state—a change that could make it easier to develop new nuclear facilities. Finally, in 2022 Indiana enacted  SB 271 , directing the state PUC to develop rules regarding the construction and operation of SMRs at retiring coal and natural gas facilities and offering financial incentives for public utilities to recover costs for the development of these facilities.

In addition to supporting nuclear power, in recent years a number of states have been active in passing legislation to support the development of CCS projects. Alabama  SB 36  expanded the types of gases that can be stored in underground caverns to include carbon dioxide. Similarly, Indiana ( HB 1209 ), Utah ( HB 244 ), and West Virginia ( HB 4491 ) created permitting and regulatory processes for underground carbon dioxide storage. As federal support for CCS continues, states are likely to continue taking action in this area. In many cases, state legislatures see CCS as an opportunity to support economic development in communities and regions historically reliant on fossil fuel production.

Another option for diversifying the energy mix is the production and use of hydrogen, which can be produced from a variety of resources, including natural gas, nuclear power, biomass and renewable generating resources like solar and wind. It can be used in electricity generation, to power vehicles, and in many other applications. State legislatures have taken a variety of actions recently to position their states to be leaders in the hydrogen economy. Many of these bills created study committees or task forces to study the opportunities associated with hydrogen. For example, Arizona  SB 1396  established a hydrogen study committee to recommend legislation related to the production, distribution, and storage of hydrogen, while Hawaii  SB 2283  commissioned a study of the potential for the production and use of renewable hydrogen. Similarly, Connecticut ( HB 5200 ) and Illinois ( SB 3613 ) established task forces to study hydrogen production and potential uses. With ongoing federal support for hydrogen and industry efforts to take advantage of the available tax credits, expect state legislatures to continue to consider policies related to the production and use of hydrogen.

State action in these areas is complemented by ongoing and new federal resources. The DOE has been funding research and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and the IIJA appropriated more than  $10 billion  for carbon capture, direct air capture, and industrial emission reduction. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) subsequently increased the availability of the federal income tax credits available for domestic CCS projects (often referred to as “45Q credits”) and extended the deadline to begin construction on 45Q credit-eligible projects from 2026 to 2033. The IIJA also included funding for  Regional Hydrogen Hub’s and Electrolysis and Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling programs . The IRA then created a hydrogen production tax credit (PTC) and expanded an investment tax credit (ITC) to include hydrogen projects and hydrogen storage technology.

As the growth in renewable energy generation accelerates, the states cited above have explored supports for other energy sources in order to buffer the economic, social and technological challenges associated with the energy transition.

Electrifying Transportation

As the electricity generation mix transitions to no- and low-carbon sources, electrifying the transportation system represents a key tool to reduce GHG emissions and improve local air quality. While the federal government has enacted considerable new support in the form of resources for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and tax credits for the purchase of new and used vehicles, states continue to consider policies to both encourage transportation electrification and manage the impacts of that transition on transportation funding and the electricity generation, transmission, and distribution systems. As electric vehicle adoption expands, there has been a focus on expanding public EV charging infrastructure and increasing access for renters and those living in multi-unit dwellings. Continued interest also exists in mechanisms to collect road maintenance fees from EV owners to offset gas tax revenues that will be lost from increased vehicle fuel efficiency and growing EV adoption.

On the charging front, in recent years Kansas ( HB 2145 ), North Dakota ( SB 2091 ) and South Carolina ( SB 304 ) exempted EV charging suppliers from regulation by the state PUC, allowing suppliers more flexibility to earn revenue from their equipment. Maryland ( HB 110)  prohibited apartments, condominium associations, and similar organizations from banning or unduly restricting EV charging installation, removing a hurdle for multi-unit dwelling owners. Other states have begun explicitly requiring builders or state agencies to include EV charging infrastructure in newly constructed buildings and parking facilities. At least nine states—including New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C.—have passed laws directly requiring builders to include, or at least offer, EV charging equipment in new construction. Some of these states enacted or expanded new construction requirements. For example, Washington ( HB 1287 ) and Oregon ( HB 2180 ) enacted new laws requiring updates to the state building code that will require a certain percentage of parking at new buildings to be wired for EV charging.

As states anticipate the impacts of EV adoption on already-declining gas tax revenues, alternative methods of raising road maintenance revenue are being explored. Fourteen state or regional pilots have received federal grants to explore road use charge (RUC) or vehicle miles traveled (VMT) systems. California, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington all enacted legislation in 2021 to establish or expand RUC programs and studies. At least seven states have implemented taxes on EV charging, typically on a cents-per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) basis. Among those, Oklahoma enacted  HB 2234 , which sets a new 3-cents-per-kWh tax on electricity used for EV charging at public charging stations. Nevada ( SB 384 ) and Minnesota ( SB 1602 ) recently considered but did not pass legislation that would have placed a kWh tax on electricity from both private and public charging equipment. Utah took a different approach in deciding to tax a percentage of the sale of electricity for EV charging when it enacted  HB 301  in 2023. Starting in 2024, a new 12.5% tax will be added to the cost of electricity at commercial charging stations. At the same time, the state’s gas tax was lowered by 2 cents per gallon.  It is likely that more action could be seen in other states as lawmakers look for ways to address the expected decline in gas tax revenues and fill gaps in road infrastructure funding.

In addition to state action, the federal government has made a variety of new commitments to transportation electrification, many of which have spurred state responses. For example, the IIJA created a new  Clean School Bus Program  administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will provide $5 billion over five years to replace existing school buses with zero- and low-emission models. A number of states, including New York and Colorado, subsequently took legislative action to support the goal of electrifying the school bus fleet. Enacted in 2022, Colorado  SB 193  created a $65 million state grant program for electric school buses to complement the new federal program. New York’s  2022 State Budget  included a requirement that all new school bus purchases be zero emission by 2027 and that all buses in operation be electric by 2035. The budget also included $500 million to help districts meet these requirements.

The concurrent transition in how the nation generates electricity and how it is used, particularly the shift from fossil fuels to electricity as a source of propulsion in vehicles, highlight both the challenges and opportunities inherent in this transition. State legislatures are playing a key role both in encouraging the electrification of transportation and addressing the implications of that transition.

Supporting the Energy Workforce

As the U.S. navigates the clean energy transition, issues facing the energy workforce have been at the forefront. The two primary issues are the displacement of workers in fossil fuel industries and the development of a clean energy workforce.

State legislatures have been active incorporating supports to develop the clean energy workforce in larger economic development bills. For example, New Jersey  AB 4  is a general economic recovery bill that provides tax credits and other incentives for renewable energy developments that create jobs for the state’s energy workforce. Similarly, California  SB 7  allows the governor to fast-track development projects, including renewable energy generation and clean energy manufacturing projects. While the law does not explicitly address workforce transition issues, it is designed to streamline and promote jobs and training programs in the clean energy industry.

Some states also enacted legislation specifically targeted at the development of a clean energy workforce. Most notably, Illinois’  SB 2408  included  numerous provisions  designed to help displaced fossil fuel workers and establish a clean energy workforce for the state. The new law creates the Energy Transition Assistance Fund and allocates funds to support state workforce development and transition. Additionally, the act creates a Clean Jobs Workforce Network Hub program, which establishes 13 hub sites aimed at leveraging community-based organizations to provide resources, information and support for workers to enter the clean energy sector. The law also includes a section referred to as the  Displaced Energy Workers Bill of Rights . It includes benefits for displaced workers, such as advanced notice of plant or mine closures, education for displaced workers on available assistance programs and resources, consultation with workers on employment and educational opportunities, and training, career counseling, financial, and retirement planning services.

Colorado is another state seeking to support displaced workers, enacting  HB 1290  to provide additional funding to the state’s  Office of Just Transition . The bill provided $8 million in grants and an additional $7 million for new coal transition worker assistance programs. Colorado also enacted  HB 1149  which is aimed at promoting energy sector career pathways in higher education. Similarly, California  SB 162  established the Community Economic Resilience Fund to provide grants aimed at resolving economic and workforce issues resulting from the transition to carbon neutrality. These economic development grants will provide relief to displaced energy workers by funding training programs, supporting regional workforce initiatives, and promoting growth and innovation in key industries.

As the energy sector grapples with the ongoing transition, state legislatures are likely to continue to look for ways to cushion the impact on existing workers and provide pathways into new energy jobs.

Protecting Customers

The clean energy transition also has implications for energy consumers, particularly consumers who may already be struggling to bear the “energy burden.” Studies have shown that  communities of color  and low-income families pay a significantly higher share of their income in energy costs.  National data  show that on average, low-income households pay nearly 9% of their income in energy costs—three times more than non-low-income households. An  estimated  25% of households have a high energy burden, considered to be above 6% of household income. An additional 13% of American households have a severe energy burden of paying more than 10% of their income on energy.

State legislatures are cognizant that state policies driving the transition to clean energy and industry investments to meet those state policy requirements may increase costs for customers. Many state legislatures are exploring ways to protect customers, particularly low-income customers, from increasing costs associated with the energy transition.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic disruption highlighted the risks faced by many customers who may struggle to manage their energy costs, particularly if they face loss in employment or income. A  U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey in July 2021  found over 80 million Americans were having trouble paying bills like rent and utilities during the pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, many state legislatures considered establishing and extending utility disconnection moratoriums to protect individuals and families from losing access to essential services during hardships. While many of these moratoria have been allowed to expire as state economies have recovered from the pandemic, some states considered whether certain protections for vulnerable populations should be made permanent. For example, Washington  HB 1490 , which was considered in 2021 and 2022, would have permanently extended the state’s moratorium on disconnections for low-income and disabled residents.

Some state legislatures have expanded access and funding for payment assistance programs to reduce customers’ energy burden, while others have required utilities to offer repayment plans to customers facing financial hardship.

Several states recently enacted new utility bill payment assistance programs, such as Percentage of Income Payment Plans (PIPP), to insulate low-income customers from rising energy costs. These plans allow low-to-moderate income customers to pay a fixed percentage of their income in monthly energy or utility costs rather than being charged at a retail rate. Rhode Island’s  HB 5809  establishes that customers below 150% of the federal poverty level who receive assistance through LIHEAP will not pay more than 4% of their annual gross household income for electricity. Illinois enacted similar legislation,  SB 265 , establishing that customers will not be required to pay more than 6% of their income on gas and electric utility bills. Oregon  HB 2739 , which caps monthly utility payments for low-income customers, required utilities to collect fees to fund low-income assistance programs.

Virginia enacted  SB 851  to promote a clean energy transition that benefits low-income and historically economically disadvantaged communities by including an expansion of the state’s PIPP to reduce energy costs. Notably, the bill also requires the state PUC to ensure the development of new or expanding energy facilities does not have a disproportionate impact on historically economically disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the commission was directed to consider whether the placement of renewable energy facilities provides benefits to those communities and displaced fossil fuel workers. Colorado’s  HB 1105  bolstered the state’s low-income utility payment assistance programs. Two other Colorado bills— SB  272  and  SB  1266 —consider how the state’s clean energy transition would impact “disproportionally impacted communities” and bring energy and environmental justice issues to the forefront.

The growing awareness of the distributional impacts of the energy transition has led states to attempt to address these issues by weaving equity considerations into broader energy policies. For example, in 2019, New York enacted  SB 6599 , which revamped the state’s RPS to ensure disadvantaged communities receive 40% of the overall benefits of spending on clean energy programs and projects as part of the energy transition. In 2021, Oregon’s emissions standards legislation ( HB 2021 ) tasked the Community Renewable Investment Program with providing direct benefits to disadvantaged communities in the form of energy resilience, economic development, energy cost savings and involvement in the siting, planning, and evaluation of community renewable projects. Washington  SB 5126  established the state’s emissions trading market and directed proceeds from the auction of emissions allowances toward environmental justice communities and tribal nations. The Washington  Environmental Justice Council  is charged with distributing the funds and must ensure that 35% of investments are made in ways that benefit the most vulnerable communities.

Similarly, the federal government has placed a new emphasis on energy justice as part of the energy transition. President Biden’s  Justice40 Initiative   promises to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. In addition, the administration has created the  Interagency Working Group on Coal & Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization , focused on delivering federal resources to help revitalize communities with strong economic ties to fossil fuel industries that have been affected by the energy transition.

As the energy transition evolves, it is likely that state legislatures will continue to explore policies that both broaden the benefits of the transition and protect customers from the negative effects. For additional information on state legislative activity related to energy justice, see NCSL’s publication  Energy Justice and the Energy Transition .

The energy transition is a broad, complex, multifaceted and long-term evolution that will affect all aspects of energy systems in the U.S. Navigating that transition in a way that meets environmental goals, maintains access to and affordability of energy, helps workers and communities adapt to changes, and promotes the reliability and resilience of the system will require concerted and ongoing effort by all levels and branches of government in collaboration with industry and consumer advocates. State legislatures have a key role in that process, both directing the pace and scope of the transition, and managing the effects on the environment, the economy, and the public.

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  • US renewable energy, electric vehicle sales, and overall green investments hit records in 2023.
  • Offshore wind faltered due to high interest rates and supply chain delays.
  • The US industrial sector has quickly become the second-largest polluter behind transportation.

High interest rates and volatile global supply chains didn't stop the US green-energy transition from reaching new heights in 2023. 

A record amount of renewable energy, led by solar, was added to the grid. Customers bought nearly 1.5 million electric vehicles, a 50% jump over the previous year. Investments in getting the power and transportation sectors, among others, off fossil fuels hit a record $303 billion, an analysis by BloombergNEF found.

The US was the second-largest investor in the energy transition in 2023, after China, Tom Rowlands-Rees, BloombergNEF's head of North America research, told reporters during a briefing. The race to clean up the global economy is becoming competitive because other countries also hit record levels of investment. Japan was a notable exception.

"We really can't afford to not be having a record year, just to keep pace with this rapid transformation," Rowlands-Rees said. 

Yet the global investment of $1.8 trillion still isn't enough to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to nearly zero by 2050 — a goal countries agreed to in order to curb the climate crisis. Financing needs to more than double to $4.8 trillion a year, BloombergNEF found in a separate report earlier this year.

Here are three main takeaways from the US: 

Solar shined, wind faltered , and gas was still king

BloombergNEF found that large-scale solar farms and rooftop panels were built at a record clip in 2023. A flood of solar panels imported from Southeast Asia helped meet demand, in part because the Biden administration waived tariffs on those imports.

It was the opposite story for wind power. Companies either canceled or are trying to renegotiate more than half of all the new offshore-wind capacity that was planned in 2023. Developers cited high interest rates and supply-chain delays. These challenges remain this year, but East Coast states, including New York and Massachusetts, are still awarding new contracts.  

Solar, wind, and nuclear — which don't produce emissions — are taking a larger share of the energy pie. They generated a record 41% of US power in 2023. But natural gas is still the largest source and set its own record last year. Rowlands-Rees said that falling gas prices made it the cheapest form of energy in 2023.

"This is why things like the tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act are important, because you see that otherwise, wind and solar are on a real roller coaster of economic competitiveness," he said.

Industry has quickly become a top polluter

In 2023, for the first time, the US industrial sector that refines oil and makes materials such as cement, iron, steel, chemicals, and paper became a larger polluter than the power sector, according to BloombergNEF.

The power sector, as recently as 2016, was the top emitter. Its emissions dropped by 40% in less than two decades, largely by switching from coal to natural gas. That means transportation and industry are now the top two polluters. A lot of money is pouring into electrifying cars and transit — industry, not so much. 

"We have our own equation, which is electrification, plus digitization, plus automation equals sustainability," Jeannie Salo, the vice president of government relations at Schneider Electric, told reporters. "Those are the fundamental things that get you there for industrial decarbonization."

Solar and EV-battery plants take off

The Inflation Reduction Act aimed to reshore renewable energy manufacturing to the US through big tax breaks. Companies have responded with 104 new projects totaling $123 billion in investment. EV-battery and solar plants are dominating the planned growth, with 34 projects announced in each sector, according to BloombergNEF's tally.

Georgia and North Carolina are the top sites for new plants. North Carolina got $15.4 billion just from Toyota, which is building up its battery manufacturing in the state.

This article is part of Business Insider's weekly newsletter on sustainability. Sign up here .

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India Energy Outlook 2021

World Energy Outlook Special Report


This report is part of World Energy Outlook 2021

About this report

Online table of contents, 1.0 energy in india today.

Read online

2.0 Urbanisation and industrialisation in India

3.0 fuels and electricity in india, 4.0 implications for india and the world, executive summary, india’s future prosperity will hinge on affordable, clean and reliable energy….

India has seen extraordinary successes in its recent energy development, but many challenges remain, and the Covid-19   pandemic has been a major disruption . In recent years, India has brought electricity connections to hundreds of millions of its citizens; promoted the adoption of highly-efficient LED lighting by most households; and prompted a massive expansion in renewable sources of energy, led by solar power. The gains for Indian citizens and their quality of life have been tangible. However, the Covid-19 crisis has complicated efforts to resolve other pressing problems. These include a lack of reliable electricity supply for many consumers; a continued reliance on solid biomass, mainly firewood, as a cooking fuel for some 660 million people; financially ailing electricity distribution companies, and air quality that has made Indian cities among the most polluted in the world.

Percentage change in key indicators for India in 2020 compared with 2019

…and the scope for further growth in energy demand and infrastructure is huge.

India is the world’s third-largest energy consuming country, thanks to rising incomes and improving standards of living. Energy use has doubled since 2000, with 80% of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass. On a per capita basis, India’s energy use and emissions are less than half the world average, as are other key indicators such as vehicle ownership, steel and cement output. As India recovers from a Covid-induced slump in 2020, it is re-entering a very dynamic period in its energy development. Over the coming years, millions of Indian households are set to buy new appliances, air conditioning units and vehicles. India will soon become the world’s most populous country, adding the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles to its urban population each year. To meet growth in electricity demand over the next twenty years, India will need to add a power system the size of the European Union to what it has now.

Total primary energy demand in India, 2000-2020

India has a wide range of possible energy futures before it.

This special report maps out possible energy futures for India, the levers and decisions that bring them about, and the interactions that arise across a complex energy system. The increasing urgency driving the global response to climate change is a pivotal theme. India has so far contributed relatively little to the world’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions, but the country is already feeling their effects. This report’s analysis is based on a detailed review of existing or announced energy reforms and targets. These include the aims of quadrupling renewable electricity capacity by 2030, more than doubling the share of natural gas in the energy mix, enhancing energy efficiency and transport infrastructure, increasing domestic coal output, and reducing reliance on imports. Progress towards these policy goals varies across our report’s different scenarios, none of which is a forecast. Our aim is rather to provide a coherent framework in which to consider India’s choices and their implications.

  • The Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS) provides a balanced assessment of the direction in which India’s energy system is heading, based on today’s policy settings and constraints and an assumption that the spread of Covid-19 is largely brought under control in 2021.
  • The India Vision Case is based on a rapid resolution of today’s public health crisis and a more complete realisation of India’s stated energy policy objectives, accompanied by a faster pace of economic growth than in the STEPS.
  • The Delayed Recovery Scenario analyses potential downside risks to India’s energy and economic development in the event that the pandemic is more prolonged.
  • The Sustainable Development Scenario explores how India could mobilise an additional surge in clean energy investment to produce an early peak and rapid subsequent decline in emissions, consistent with a longer-term drive to net zero, while accelerating progress towards a range of other sustainable development goals.

Energy demand growth in India by scenario, 2019-2040

Average annual growth in india gdp by scenario, 2019-2040, covid-19 will leave lasting scars.

Prior to the global pandemic, India’s energy demand was projected to increase by almost 50% between 2019 and 2030, but growth over this period is now closer to 35% in the STEPS, and 25% in the Delayed Recovery Scenario. The latter would put some of India’s hard-won gains in the fight against energy poverty at risk, as lower-income households are forced to fall back on more polluting and inefficient sources of energy. It would also extend the slump in energy investment, which we estimate to have fallen by some 15% in India in 2020. Even though the pandemic and its aftermath could temporarily suppress emissions, as coal and oil bear the brunt of the reduction in demand, it does not move India any closer to its long-term sustainable development goals.

India’s size and dynamism will keep it at the heart of the global energy system

An expanding economy, population, urbanisation and industrialisation mean that India sees the largest increase in energy demand of any country, across all of our scenarios to 2040. India’s economic growth has historically been driven mainly by the services sector rather than the more energy-intensive industrial sector, and the rate at which India has urbanised has also been slower than in other comparable countries. But even at a relatively modest assumed urbanisation rate, India’s sheer size means that 270 million people are still set to be added to India’s urban population over the next two decades. This leads to rapid growth in the building stock and other infrastructure. The resulting surge in demand for a range of construction materials, notably steel and cement, highlights the pivot in global manufacturing towards India. In the STEPS, as India develops and modernises, its rate of energy demand growth is three times the global average.

The Indian electricity sector is on the cusp of a solar-powered revolution…

Solar power is set for explosive growth in India, matching coal’s share in the Indian power generation mix within two decades in the STEPS – or even sooner in the Sustainable Development Scenario. As things stand, solar accounts for less than 4% of India’s electricity generation, and coal close to 70%. By 2040, they converge in the low 30%s in the STEPS, and this switch is even more rapid in other scenarios. This dramatic turnaround is driven by India’s policy ambitions, notably the target to reach 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, and the extraordinary cost-competitiveness of solar, which out-competes existing coal-fired power by 2030 even when paired with battery storage. The rise of utility-scale renewable projects is underpinned by some innovative regulatory approaches that encourage pairing solar with other generation technologies, and with storage, to offer “round the clock” supply. Keeping up momentum behind investments in renewables also means tackling risks relating to delayed payments to generators, land acquisition, and regulatory and contract uncertainty. However, the projections in the STEPS do not come close to exhausting the scope for solar to meet India’s energy needs, especially for other applications such as rooftop solar, solar thermal heating, and water pumps.

Changes in coal and solar capacity in India in the Stated Policies Scenario, 2010-2040

Changes in share of power generation in india in the stated policies scenario, 2010-2040, ...while rising demand for air-conditioning pushes up the peak in power demand.

India’s electricity demand is set to increase much more rapidly than its overall energy demand. But a defining feature of the outlook is a sharp rise in variability – both in electricity output, from solar PV and wind, and in daily consumption. On the supply side, output from renewables in some Indian states is set to exceed demand on a regular basis (typically around the middle of the day) before 2030. On the demand side, the key contributor to variability comes from rapid growth in ownership of air-conditioning units. Energy efficiency measures targeting both cooling appliances and buildings avoid around a quarter of the potential growth in consumption in the STEPS, but electricity demand for cooling still increases six-fold by 2040, creating a major early evening peak in electricity use.

India requires a massive increase in power system flexibility

The pace of change in the electricity sector puts a huge premium on robust grids and other sources of flexibility, with India becoming a global leader in battery storage . India has a higher requirement for flexibility in its power system operation than almost any other country in the world. In the near term, India’s large grid and its coal-fired power fleet meet the bulk of India’s flexibility needs, supported by hydropower and gas-fired capacity. Going forward, new power lines and demand-side options – such as improving the efficiency of air conditioners or shifting the operation of agricultural pumps to different parts of the day – will need to play a much greater role. But battery storage is particularly well suited to the short-run flexibility that India needs to align its solar-led generation peak in the middle of the day with the country’s early evening peak in demand. By 2040, India has 140 GW of battery capacity in the STEPS, the largest of any country, and close to 200 GW in the Sustainable Development Scenario.

As solar takes power, the focus for coal switches to industry …

Coal’s hold over India’s power sector is loosening, with industry accounting for most of the increase in coal demand to 2040 in the STEPS. Once the coal-fired power plants currently under construction are completed over the next few years, there is no net growth at all in India’s coal fleet. Coal-fired generation was most exposed to the dip in electricity consumption in 2020. It picks up slightly in the STEPS as demand recovers, since renewables do not cover all of the projected increase in electricity demand. However, coal suppliers looking for growth increasingly have to turn to India’s industrial consumers rather than the power sector. The share of coal in the overall energy mix steadily declines in the STEPS, from 44% in 2019 to 34% in 2040, and more rapidly in other scenarios.

…while oil continues to dominate a fast-growing transport sector in the STEPS

Energy demand for road transport in the STEPS is projected to more than double over the next two decades, although this growth is cut dramatically in the Sustainable Development Scenario. Over half of the growth in the STEPS is fuelled by diesel-based freight transport. An extra 25 million trucks are travelling on India’s roads by 2040 as road freight activity triples, and a total of 300 million vehicles of all types are added to India’s fleet between now and then. Transport has been the fastest-growing end-use sector in recent years, and India is set for a huge expansion of transportation infrastructure – from highways, railways and metro lines to airports and ports. Today’s policy settings are sufficient to prevent runaway growth in transport energy demand. And some parts of the system shift rapidly to less energy-intensive options, with one example being a strong increase in the use of two-or-three-wheeled vehicles for road transport. Nonetheless, in the STEPS, India’s oil demand rises by almost 4 million barrels per day (mb/d) to reach 8.7 mb/d in 2040, the largest increase of any country. In the Sustainable Development Scenario, by contrast, a much stronger push for electrification, efficiency and fuel switching limits growth in oil demand to less than 1 mb/d.

Road transport energy demand by fuel and technology in India in the Stated Policies Scenario compared to Sustainable Development Scenario, 2040

Changes in road transport energy demand by fuel, technology and scenario in india in the stated policies scenario, 2019-2040, india’s building spree will shape its energy use for years to come.

India is set to more than double its building space over the next two decades, with 70% of new construction happening in urban areas. The model of urbanisation that India follows and the extent to which new construction follows energy-efficient building codes will shape patterns of energy use far into the future. The shift towards urban living accelerates transitions in residential energy use away from solid biomass and towards electricity and modern fuels. Buoyed by rising appliance ownership and demand for cooling, the share of electricity in residential energy use nearly triples. Nonetheless, in the STEPS, firewood and other traditional fuels are still widely used for cooking by 2030. It would take an additional push – as in the India Vision Case and the Sustainable Development Scenario – to move all households to LPG, improved cook stoves, gas or electricity.

Today’s clean energy momentum enables India to outperform its Paris pledges

In the STEPS, India exceeds the goals set out in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement . The emissions intensity of India’s economy improves by 40% from 2005 to 2030, above the 33-35% set out in its existing NDC. And the share of non-fossil fuels in electricity generation capacity reaches almost 60%, well above the 40% that India pledged. India’s leadership in the deployment of clean energy technologies expands its market for solar PV, wind turbine and lithium-ion battery equipment to over $40 billion per year in the STEPS by 2040. As a result, 1 in every 7 dollars spent worldwide on these three types of equipment in 2040 is in India, compared with 1 in 20 today. India’s clean energy workforce grows by 1 million over the next ten years. If the approach embodied in today’s policies can be realised in full, as in the India Vision Case, higher economic growth than in the STEPS need not mean higher energy demand and emissions. In this Case, and especially in the Sustainable Development Scenario where the equipment market for solar, wind, batteries and water electrolysers rises to $80 billion per year, the industrial and commercial opportunities from clean energy are even larger.

India’s market size and global share in clean energy technologies, 2019 and in the Stated Policies Scenario, 2040

The path to a “gas-based economy” is not fully mapped out.

The market for natural gas is growing fast in India, but its role varies by sector, by scenario and over time . The 6% share of natural gas in India’s current energy mix is among the lowest in the world. It almost doubles in the STEPS as gas use rises in the industrial sector and in city gas distribution. In the India Vision Case, natural gas also helps to displace coal in power generation, bringing India’s aspiration of a “gas-based economy” closer still. However, affordability is a sensitive issue for consumers, especially given the complex patchwork of additional charges and tariffs that, on average, doubled the cost of wholesale gas by the time it reached end-users in 2019. As India builds out its gas infrastructure, natural gas can find multiple uses in India’s energy system, including to help meet air quality and near-term emissions goals if supply chains are managed responsibly. But the Sustainable Development Scenario also underlines that a long-term vision for gas needs to incorporate a growing role for biogases and low-carbon hydrogen, for which India has large potential.

Biomethane demand by sector in India in the Stated Policies Scenario, 2000-2040

Natural gas demand by sector in india in the stated policies scenario, 2000-2040, india’s faces energy security hazards ahead.

India’s combined import bill for fossil fuels triples   over the next two decades in the STEPS, with oil by far the largest component, pointing to continued risks to India’s energy security. Domestic production of oil and gas continues to fall behind consumption trends and net dependence on imported oil rises above 90% by 2040, up from 75% today. This continued reliance on imported fuels creates vulnerabilities to price cycles and volatility as well as possible disruptions to supply. Energy security hazards could arise in India’s domestic market as well, notably in the electricity sector if the necessary flexibility in power system operation does not materialise. An additional systemic threat to the reliability of electricity supply comes from the poor financial health of many electricity distribution companies. Improving the cost-reflectiveness of tariffs, the efficiency of billing and collection and reducing technical and commercial losses are key to reforming this sector.

Value of domestic production and import bills for fossil fuels in India in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2010-2040

Value of domestic production and import bills for fossil fuels in india in the stated policies scenario, 2010-2040, booming industry and transport push up co2 emissions and harm air quality.

A 50% rise in India’s CO 2 emissions to 2040 is the largest of any country in the STEPS, even though India’s per capita CO 2 emissions remain well below the global average. The increase in India’s emissions is enough to offset entirely the projected fall in emissions in Europe over the same period. The remarkable rise of renewables arrests the growth in India’s power sector emissions in the STEPS, although this still leaves the coal-fired fleet – the fifth-largest single category of emissions worldwide today – as a major emitter of CO 2 . Alongside the option of early retirement in some cases, this puts a strong premium on policy approaches that can retool this fleet for more limited and flexible operation and/or on technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). But the main reasons for the increase in India’s CO 2 emissions in the STEPS lie outside the power sector, in industry and transport (especially from trucks). These two sectors are also responsible for a much larger share of air pollutant emissions than the power sector in the STEPS, and a rising urban population means that more people are exposed to air pollution and suffer its ill effects. Water stress is likewise an increasingly important factor for India’s energy sector and its technology choices.

All roads to successful global clean energy transitions go via India…

As the world seeks ways to accelerate the pace of transformation in the energy sector, India is in a unique position to pioneer a new model for low-carbon, inclusive growth. Many aspects of such a model are already evident in India’s policy vision, and many more are highlighted in the Sustainable Development Scenario that points the way for India towards net-zero emissions. If this can be done, it will show the way for a whole group of energy-hungry developing economies, by demonstrating that robust economic expansion is fully compatible with an increasing pace of emissions reductions and the achievement of other development goals. India is already a global leader in solar power – and solar combined with batteries will play a massive part in India’s energy future. But India will need a whole host of technologies and policies to chart this new path. As new industrial sectors emerge and clean energy jobs grow, India will also need to ensure that no one is left behind, including in those regions that are heavily dependent on coal today.

Energy sector CO2 emissions and reduction levers in India in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2010-2040

…and india’s energy destiny will be forged by government policies.

More than that of any other major economy, India’s energy future depends on buildings and factories yet to be built, and vehicles and appliances yet to be bought . Within 20 years, the majority of India’s emissions in the STEPS come from power plants, industrial facilities, buildings and vehicles that do not exist today. This represents a huge opening for policies to steer India onto a more secure and sustainable course. India’s ambitious renewables targets are already acting as a catalyst for the transformation of its power sector. A crucial – and even more challenging – task ahead is to put the industrial sector on a similarly new path through more widespread electrification, material and energy efficiency, technologies such as CCUS, and a switch to progressively lower-carbon fuels. Electrification, efficiency and fuel switching are also the main tools for the transport sector, alongside a determined move to build more sustainable transport infrastructure and shift more freight onto India’s soon-to-be-electrified railways. These transformations require innovation, partnerships and capital. The additional capital required for clean energy technologies to 2040 in the Sustainable Development Scenario is $1.4 trillion above the level in the STEPS. But the benefits are huge, including savings of the same magnitude on oil import bills. Government policies to accelerate India’s clean energy transition can lay the foundation for lasting prosperity and greater energy security. The stakes could not be higher, for India and for the world.

CO2 emissions from existing and new industry infrastructure in India in the Stated Policies Scenario, 2019‑2040

Co2 emissions from existing and new power infrastructure in india in the stated policies scenario, 2019‑2040, co2 emissions from existing and new buildings in india in the stated policies scenario, 2019‑2040, co2 emissions from existing and new transport infrastructure in india in the stated policies scenario, 2019‑2040, related files.

  • Acknowledgements Download "Acknowledgements"


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IEA (2021), India Energy Outlook 2021 , IEA, Paris, Licence: CC BY 4.0

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How to create energy report on Windows 10

You can create a power efficiency report to understand and resolve energy-related problems with your Windows 10 device, and in this guide, we'll show you how.

Windows 10 energy report

Although Windows 10 does a pretty good job managing the power on a device, sometimes, you may come across power management issues, such as poor battery life or inefficient use of energy, and this is when the ability to create an energy report can come in handy.

The diagnostic report is done using the "powercfg" command-line tool . Once you run the command, it will collect power behaviors to analyze common battery life and energy efficiency problems for a certain amount of time. Then you can review the data to make the appropriate modifications to resolve the issues or determine whether you need to upgrade some components or replace the battery.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to create an energy report to diagnose your device's power efficiency and battery life.

How to create energy report with Command Prompt

How to review energy report on windows 10.

To generate an energy report on Windows 10, use these steps:

  • Open Start .
  • Search for Command Prompt , right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  • Type the following command to create an energy report and press Enter : powercfg /energy
  • (Optional) Type the following command to generate an energy report with a specific duration and press Enter : powercfg /energy /duration SECONDS In the command, replaces SECONDS with the time you want the tool to monitor the power behavior to create a report. If you do no use the duration option, then the command will run for 60 seconds.For example, this command runs the energy monitor for two minutes: powercfg /energy /duration 120
  • Confirm the output to determine the location of the report.

Once you complete the steps, you can review the report to understand the energy and battery efficiency to investigate and resolve power problems on Windows 10.

When generating an energy report, it is always recommended to use the command when no application is running, and the device is in idle mode for the best results.

To view the energy report, use these steps:

  • Search for Run and click the top result to open the Run command. Quick tip: You can also use the Windows key + Run keyboard shortcut to open the Run command. Or you can right-click the Start button and select the Run option to open the app.
  • Type the following path and press Enter : C:\energy-report.html Quick note: The location of the files may be different on your installation. As a result, make sure to note this information in the powercfg command result.
  • Review the energy report in the web browser.

After you complete the step, the report will open with the default web browser configured on Windows 10.

The power efficiency report can be very long, but it is not too difficult to understand. The port includes a first part with the scan information, version of Windows 10, and related details.

The second part is where you will find the analysis results, which are grouped in three categories, including error, warnings, and information.

The "Errors" section includes the items that are considered problems with your device. Usually, these are configuration issues rather than hardware problems.

For example, in this test, the report points out the "Power Policy: Sleep timeout is disabled (On Battery)" error, which simply means that the device is not configured to sleep after a period of inactivity while on battery automatically.

If this were a problem on your laptop, to resolve the issue to improve battery life, you would need to change the sleep settings to sleep after a certain period automatically on Settings > System > Power & sleep .

The "Warnings" section reveals features and components that are not using the recommended settings or services responsible for consuming a lot of power during the trace.

For instance, the report points out the "Power Policy: Display timeout is long (On Battery)" warning, which indicates that the display turns off after five minutes when the recommended settings should be less than five.

If this were an issue in your machine, you would fix it by changing the display sleep configuration on Settings > System > Power & sleep .

The "Information" section displays important energy-related information about the system, including power policies currently configured. Battery information like brand, model, and capacity. The supported sleep features, and more.

Perhaps the most significant piece of information is battery design capacity and last full charge. For example, this test shows that the design capacity is 91000 MWh, but after many cycles, the capacity after the last charge is 85230 MWh. This means that the device can still hold around 93 percent of the charge. However, if the percentage was significantly lower and you were having a battery drain problem, this could indicate that the battery needs to be replaced.

If you need additional help, you can also send the report to tech support or a savvy friend to help you diagnose and tweak the power settings to optimize your desktop computer or laptop's energy efficiency.

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Mauro Huculak

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

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'Staggering' rise of rooftop solar to put all other power generation in the shade, report finds

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A cluster of houses at with rooftop solar panels.

The capacity of rooftop solar in Australia will eclipse the country's entire electricity demand in coming decades, according to a report that charts the technology's "staggering" rise.

Almost 20 gigawatts of small-scale solar has already been installed across Australia's biggest electricity system, but a report from Green Energy Markets predicts this will more than triple by 2054, even by conservative assumptions.

The firm said the rapid increase in the number of photovoltaic cells across the roofs of Australian homes and factories would be a key plank in government efforts to decarbonise the economy.

In a report due out today authors Tristan Edis and Ric Brazzale say the capacity of rooftop solar will far overshadow the amount of large-scale conventional generation currently installed in the national electricity market (NEM).

The national electricity market services about 10 million customers across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

"These are staggering levels of capacity," the authors wrote.

"They go well beyond the levels of installed capacity in the NEM we have now for coal, gas and hydro power plants combined of [about 41GW], and also well above typical historical daily averages in electricity demand."

The roofs of suburban houses, seen from above. Most have solar panels fitted.

Solar a runaway freight train?

According to Green Energy Markets, combined rooftop solar capacity will rise to 66GW over the next three decades, even under the most pessimistic scenario.

In scenarios where governments took more aggressive action on carbon pricing and incentives for green technology, the forecast uptake would reach almost 100GW over the same period.

By comparison, the total capacity of the NEM was about 55GW.

"For many, such a large amount of rooftop solar capacity seems to stretch the boundaries of credibility," the authors said.

"Why would we install more rooftop solar capacity than typical total electricity demand across not just residential customers, but every sector of the economy?"

Despite the forecast surge in capacity, the report's authors qualified their conclusions by pointing out that solar panels only produced energy during daylight hours.

Moreover, they said there was already so much rooftop solar in the system that it was driving spot electricity prices into negative territory – where generators pay to stay online – for significant amounts of time.

But the authors argued that a number of things were driving and would continue to drive the take up of solar panels in Australia.

For starters, they noted solar panels typically lasted up to 20 years, meaning their capacity steadily accumulated.

On top of this, consumers were increasingly buying bigger systems, with the average installation rising from about two kilowatts in size in 2011 to eight kilowatts in 2023.

A solar system installer adjusts solar panels on the roof of a house.

Demand growth 'with a catch'

The authors also said that falling prices for solar exports meant households faced little financial risk from "curtailment", which involves the market operator switching off their systems during periods of peak production.

The authors said poles-and-wires companies had also demonstrated an ability to accommodate ever growing amounts of capacity despite warnings of "solar traffic jams".

"Already five million Australians live in postcodes where 50 per cent or more of households have a solar system," they said.

"Postcodes with a combined population of around 750,000 have 70 per cent of households or more with a solar system."

Underpinning the forecasts was an expectation that batteries would become much cheaper.

Green Energy Markets said the widespread adoption of batteries would enable the surge in rooftop solar capacity.

It said this would allow customers to take better advantage of their own generation and help to keep the electricity stable.

Green Energy Markets also predicted batteries prices would fall and said the mass-manufacture of the technology by the likes of car-makers would help drive down costs.

"The key caveat to this finding, though, is that it is heavily contingent on an assumption that home battery storage systems will decline dramatically in price over the next decade and become a standard part of a new solar system install," the authors said.

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How the housing industry is working to stop energy efficient homes

Home builders have used their political muscle to prevent states and cities from adopting the latest code, which would lower the climate impact of new houses.

report on energy

“Out in the middle of nowhere” in Moore County, N.C., developer Ron Jackson said he is building what America needs — more affordable homes for the nurses, police officers and teachers struggling to find housing they can afford amid a nationwide shortage.

That’s why Jackson and others from North Carolina’s home building industry say they came out in force last year against a state plan to tighten energy efficiency building codes so new homes would waste less energy, reducing their carbon footprints. The builders succeeded in blocking the new standards, helping to maintain the status quo.

“All that energy code was going to do in my price range is make it to where the working man and woman would not be able to buy a home,” Jackson said. He sells homes in the $250,000 range and estimated the changes would have increased his costs by more than $20,000 — a figure that comes from a survey of North Carolina builders conducted by the state branch of the National Association of Home Builders, the housing industry’s largest lobbying group.

Across the country, the home builder lobby is mobilizing its 140,000 members against state and local efforts to save energy and ease the transition to cleaner technologies, such as wiring homes to support electric car charging. Since poorly designed and insulated buildings tend to leak and waste energy — one reason homes account for nearly one-fifth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — climate advocates say the home builders’ repeated victories will have a lasting impact, locking in practices that could hurt consumers and the planet for decades.

There’s no debate that boosting the energy efficiency of new homes often increases upfront costs, but the builders appear to be inflating the numbers. A federal study found that North Carolina’s proposed code update would have added at most about $6,500 to the price of a newly built home, not $20,400. According to the analysis , these changes would have paid for themselves through lower power bills and, during the first year alone, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking 29,000 cars off the road.

Some green builders — including members of the North Carolina Home Builders Association — are frustrated by the industry’s tactics.

In the town of Granite Falls, N.C., Rob Howard is building ultraefficient yet affordable cottages. Each is priced between $200,000 and $300,000 and designed to be “zero-energy ready,” meaning the addition of solar panels or other renewable energy would offset all or most of its energy use. Such features add at most $6,000 to the price of a home, he said, and have allowed him to market houses to prospective buyers eager to save on their power bills.

“We’ve done a lot in this state to educate both builders and inspectors about what it takes to build a more efficient home. The notion that building this way is too expensive or too complicated … I just don’t buy any of that,” Howard said. “Let’s set a high standard for ourselves.”

Wiring and insulation might seem like unusual political flash points, but they are at the center of the home builders’ effort to push state legislatures to block changes to building codes. In the United States, states and cities adopt their own building codes, but they often do so based on recommended standards updated every three years by a Washington-based nonprofit called the International Code Council.

In 2021, the council came out with a new code that rocked the home builders. It called for the efficiency of new residential buildings to increase by almost 10 percent, a big jump after the past two code cycles led to estimated savings of barely more than 1 percent .

The industry and its allies used their influence to kill some of the more aggressive measures that climate advocates had pushed for, including a requirement that new homes be built with wiring that makes it easier to install electric vehicle chargers. Yet the resulting code was still the most climate-friendly in years: If fully implemented, the standard was expected to cut new homes’ carbon emissions by nearly 9 percent, according to a federal analysis .

That’s when the home builder lobby sprung into action across the country.

In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law last year freezing residential building standards — making it illegal to update them until 2031 — after the state’s building council recommended an updated code. Emails obtained by North Carolina Public Radio show that the North Carolina Home Builders Association not only supported the legislation, but also that its lobbyists helped write it.

This year, the home building industry in Michigan has come out against the state’s plan to adopt the latest energy code. The industry is rallying its members to pressure Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to abandon her administration’s proposal, repeating its claim it would increase new homes’ cost by an average of $20,000.

“TAKE ACTION,” says an advocacy alert on the Home Builders Association of Michigan website. “Your support is crucial in amplifying our opposition.”

To rally opposition to efficiency measures, the national trade group has funded studies and awareness campaigns . It has allied itself with pro-natural gas groups and heating and cooling equipment manufacturers, which have fought requirements that make it easier for homeowners to switch to heat pumps and other electric appliances — an effort that is underway again this year. And it has long wielded considerable clout over state legislatures through political contributions and relationships with part-time lawmakers who work in the building trades.

In Colorado, the housing industry is backing a bill that could make it harder to adopt the latest standards or decarbonize buildings. The bill mandates that any code changes pay for themselves within 10 years.

“It’s an ongoing campaign,” said Christine Brinker, senior buildings policy manager for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, an environmental group. “When things don’t go their way at the national level, then they turn to the state and local level. And when things don’t go their way there, they change the rules.”

Liz Thompson, a National Association of Home Builders spokesperson, said the code council’s recommended changes were flawed — the result of a process “without the benefit of adequate discussion, detailed analysis, or review of technical data and cost information. ”

“These measures provide little benefit to the consumer but come at significant cost and increase the price of homes,” she added.

Tim Minton, executive vice president of the North Carolina Home Builders Association, also cited spiraling home prices in his group’s push to freeze residential energy standards. “I’m not going to get into a debate about climate change, what I’m going to get into a debate about is affordability,” he said in an interview.

Energy efficiency advocates say affordability is a convenient talking point for the home builders. They say the industry is mainly concerned with its profit margins, as well as the hassle of taking time to bring its employees up to speed on new requirements.

These laws “are positioning people to have a costly future in the homes they’re buying,” said Mike Waite, codes director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The industry’s lobbying comes as more Americans are buying heat pumps and a record 1.2 million car buyers purchased electric vehicles last year — items that need higher voltage outlets. When builders install the appropriate wiring while a home is being built, homeowners can more easily switch to all-electric appliances and electric cars in the future.

“It’s not as though this is a democratic response to the energy code going too far,” Waite said, “it’s particular interests that don’t want to see their profits cut into.”

Supporters of stronger efficiency measures, such as thicker insulation, better windows and tighter air sealing, say they pay for themselves through lower heating and cooling bills. A federal analysis of the 2021 code found that while the payback period varies in different parts of the country, on average, homeowners would recoup their costs in 10 and a half years.

In Granite Falls, N.C., Howard said he is trying to appeal to home buyers seeking both an affordable home and one that is cost-efficient over the long run.

“We do need to wrestle with the issue of cost, but it strikes me funny that we’re measuring improvements to houses by this simple payback calculation,” he said. “Nobody is asking you what the payback is on your fancy cabinets or flooring. But energy efficiency always comes down to that debate.”

Last year, Howard supported the state’s attempt to modernize its energy code and was disappointed when it failed. He sits on the state’s Building Code Council, whose members are appointed by the governor and have historically been empowered to revise the building code. But the law backed by the home builders stripped the council of this authority, giving it to a new entity over which the governor, a Democrat, will have less control.

In Michigan, the fight over the state’s energy code has officials feeling pressure from both the home builders and the Biden administration.

When it appeared last year the state was preparing to adopt a weakened version of the 2021 code, the Energy Department told state officials that they risked leaving homeowners with higher utility bills and making the state ineligible for federal funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and other programs.

Michigan officials then agreed to restore some of the efficiency requirements, but only the bare minimum required. Although the state is home to the largest American automakers building electric vehicles, it is not considering measures that would benefit EV manufacturers and buyers, such as mandating new homes be “EV-ready.”

The home builders’ effectiveness at stopping code changes has left some states with standards that are 15 years old. While parts of the Northeast, California and Illinois have strong building codes, there is less new construction in these states. The Biden administration has tried to entice others to bring their standards up to date by dangling millions of dollars in funding.

Cherylyn Kelley, building energy codes and policy manager for the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation, said the money has increased states’ interest in adopting the latest standard, as is the case in Michigan. It may also prompt some cities and states to close loopholes in their codes that have made them weaker in practice than they appear, she said.

Yet advocates for tougher building codes said they are also seeing more states pass preemption laws, often at the urging of the home builders. Many of these laws bar cities and counties from restricting the use of gas-burning appliances in homes, while others prevent them from enacting stronger codes than those adopted at the state level.

In Alabama, the home builders successfully pushed for a new law last year that prevents cities and counties from requiring that developers install items that the home buyer might not use when the house is finished, like circuitry for electric vehicle chargers or framing to support solar panels.

The builders have also supported preemption laws in Idaho, including one last year blocking cities like Boise from adopting energy codes more stringent than the state’s older, less efficient standards.

“The number of state preemption bills seeking to limit energy codes is increasing every year,” said Jennifer Gunby, who oversees the U.S. Green Building Council’s state and local advocacy.

Like climate change, debate over the latest energy code is sometimes becoming politicized by legislators trying to stand out in an election year, she said. “Every bill that wasn’t successful last year, we expect to be introduced again.”

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Reduce, reuse, redirect outrage: How plastic makers used recycling as a fig leaf

Michael Copley

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A registered scavenger, who mainly collects plastic waste to sell, walking in a landfill in Indonesia. Yasuyoshi Chiba /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

A registered scavenger, who mainly collects plastic waste to sell, walking in a landfill in Indonesia.

The plastics industry has worked for decades to convince people and policymakers that recycling would keep waste out of landfills and the environment. Consumers sort their trash so plastic packaging can be repurposed, and local governments use taxpayer money to gather and process the material. Yet from the early days of recycling, plastic makers, including oil and gas companies, knew that it wasn't a viable solution to deal with increasing amounts of waste, according to documents uncovered by the Center for Climate Integrity .

Around the time the plastics industry launched its recycling campaign, the head of a trade group called the Vinyl Institute acknowledged at a 1989 conference that "recycling cannot go on indefinitely, and does not solve the solid waste problem."

One of the biggest challenges is that making new plastic is relatively cheap. But recycling generally costs as much as or more than the material is worth, a director of environmental solutions at B.F. Goodrich explained at another industry meeting in 1992 . The "basic issue," he said, "is economics."

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled


How big oil misled the public into believing plastic would be recycled.

But the industry appears to have championed recycling mainly for its public relations value, rather than as a tool for avoiding environmental damage, the documents suggest. "We are committed to the activities, but not committed to the results," a vice president at Exxon Chemical said during a meeting in 1994 with staff for the American Plastics Council, a trade group.

Ross Eisenberg, president of an industry group called America's Plastic Makers, said in a statement that the report from the Center for Climate Integrity "cites outdated, decades-old technologies, and works against our goals to be more sustainable by mischaracterizing the industry and the state of today's recycling technologies. This undermines the essential benefits of plastics and the important work underway to improve the way plastics are used and reused to meet society's needs."

America's Plastic Makers has set a goal for all plastic packaging in the U.S. to be "reused, recycled, recovered by 2040," Eisenberg said.

The Center for Climate Integrity compiled the documents in a report titled " The Fraud of Plastic Recycling: How Big Oil and the plastics industry deceived the public for decades and caused the plastic waste crisis ." It builds on earlier investigations, including by NPR , that have shown the plastics industry promoted recycling even though its officials have long known that the activity would probably never be effective on a large scale.

The world is awash in plastic. Oil producers want a say in how it's cleaned up

The world is awash in plastic. Oil producers want a say in how it's cleaned up

Former industry officials have said the goal was to avoid regulations and ensure that demand for plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, kept growing. Despite years of recycling campaigns, less than 10% of plastic waste gets recycled globally , and the amount of plastic waste that's dumped in the environment continues to soar .

The idea that recycling can solve the problem of plastic waste "has always been a fraud, and it's always been a way for the industry to sell more plastic," says Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, which says it is working to hold oil and gas companies accountable for their role in fueling climate change.

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A pile of plastic waste and other garbage next to children playing on a bridge in the Philippines. George Calvelo /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

A pile of plastic waste and other garbage next to children playing on a bridge in the Philippines.

The U.N. is leading negotiations for a global plastics treaty

The Center for Climate Integrity published its report two months before the next round of United Nations talks is held in Canada for a legally binding global agreement on plastic waste. Negotiators from around 150 countries are expected to attend, as well as public health advocates, human rights activists, environmentalists and the oil and gas industry.

There's recently been growing concern among those who want deep cuts in plastic waste that plastic producers — corporations as well as countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia — could weaken a global treaty by prioritizing recycling and other forms of waste management, rather than substantial cuts in new plastic production.

Global talks to cut plastic waste stall as industry and environmental groups clash

Global talks to cut plastic waste stall as industry and environmental groups clash

For fossil fuel producers, the petrochemical sector, which includes plastics, is crucial to business. As technologies like electric vehicles grow more popular, demand for products such as gasoline and diesel fuel is expected to decline . But oil and gas demand for petrochemicals is projected to continue rising for years . That's why the fossil fuel industry has a big stake in the outcome of the U.N. talks. If countries agree to reduce plastic manufacturing, it could hurt the industry's future profits.

Some experts say that creates a conflict of interest. Reducing how much new plastic gets made in the first place is a "prerequisite" to getting pollution under control, Carsten Wachholz, who works at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and co-leads the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, said late last year. But "if your businesses depend on extracting more oil and gas, and plastics is the fastest growing market for fossil fuels, it's hard to imagine that you would be a credible voice to say we need to limit plastic production," he said.

Global shift to clean energy means fossil fuel demand will peak soon, IEA says

Global shift to clean energy means fossil fuel demand will peak soon, IEA says

After the last round of negotiations ended in Kenya in November 2023, environmental groups complained that oil and gas producers blocked a final decision on how to advance the deliberations.

An industry advocacy group called American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers has said that restricting fossil fuel production and plastic manufacturing are not good solutions. Instead, it said the goals of the treaty can be achieved "if waste is recyclable, properly managed and kept out of the environment."

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said in a statement in November 2023 that the company is "launching real solutions to address plastic waste and improve recycling rates." The company has previously said the problem of plastic waste can be solved without cutting how much plastic society uses.

Exxon is among a group of companies that have been investing in what the industry calls "advanced recycling" plants. The facilities are designed to turn plastic waste, including material that can't be processed through traditional mechanical recycling, into liquids and gasses that can then be used to make new plastics and other chemical products.

"Advanced recycling is a real, proven solution that can help address plastic waste and improve recycling rates," Exxon said in a statement to NPR.

However, critics say the technology is ineffective and harmful to the environment and human health.

The economics of plastic recycling "haven't changed at all. Not at all. And if virgin [plastic] was always cheaper and of higher quality, that's still the case today," says Wiles of the Center for Climate Integrity.

He says the plastics industry continues to mislead the public and needs to be held responsible for it.

"And from there, you can begin to have a conversation about how we're going to solve the problem," Wiles says. "But without accountability, you just can't get to solutions."

  • microplastics
  • oil and gas
  • climate change


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