The world is becoming less dependent on fossil fuels, and the deployment of renewable technology has serious momentum behind it, according to Tim Gould, Chief Energy Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA). However, speaking on GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence podcast, the IEA’s Gould warned that there is work to do on the energy transition and that “structural changes” are required on a global scale to limit the impacts of climate change.

Among the topics discussed were the outcomes of COP28 and the implications of the conference looking forward.

The IEA’s Gould highlighted the potential of new technologies to streamline the energy transition and noted that innovation in the sector is driving progress, and offering solutions to fossil fuel dependency.

“There are a number of examples of quite significant shifts in mature, clean technologies, but I think the other important thing that we’re seeing now is that some of the elements that were moving slowly are now starting to pick up speed. We are seeing more dynamism,” he said.

However, he warned that the planet remains on a dangerous trajectory, adding: “We need to do everything we can on the mitigation side. That means structural changes in the energy sector that will move us towards a cleaner and lower emissions future. But we also need to recognize that there is a risk that we will not be on track for a trajectory that is compliant with the Paris Agreement.”

Gould expanded specifically on the issue of insufficient grid infrastructure, noting that 1,500GW of renewable projects are waiting for a transmission link.

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By GlobalData

The IEA has previously stated that, for countries to reach national energy and climate goals, a total of over 80 million kilometres of grids must be installed or refurbished by 2040. Gould reiterated the importance of this, warning that “we need to be very watchful also of the things that are lagging behind.”

He also emphasised the need for a united front in tackling climate change and mitigating its impact, saying: “One of the important roles that the IEA can fulfil is to try and bring countries together and to remind ourselves that, if we are going to win this battle against climate change in a timeframe that avoids very severe impacts, we need to be working together.”