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IEA: Grids Must Double

February 05, 2024

Cartoon that says "I gotta go now... they need this line for the power grid."

The lack of grid capacity has significant implications for international climate and energy goals, according to the International Energy Agency.  Globally, nearly 50 million miles of grid infrastructure must be added or refurbished worldwide by 2040 if countries are to fulfill their national climate commitments on time and in full.

That is the equivalent of doubling the length of existing grids worldwide. Rolling out a new wind or solar project can take between one to five years, but new transmission and distribution networks often take five to 15 years to plan, permit and complete. Much of the U.S. electric grid was built in the 1960s and 1970s. Almost 70 percent of U.S. transmission lines are over 25 years old and approaching the end of their typical 50–80-year lifecycle.