How Are The Leading Countries Faring On The Path To Net Zero?


In the run-up to the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, more than 80 countries announced pledges to reach net-zero emissions around mid-century. Most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations aim to reach net zero by 2050, while developing countries plan to get there a decade or two later. China and India aim to reach net zero by 2060 and 2070, respectively. For more, read How Are The Leading Countries Faring On The Path To Net Zero?

Key Takeaways

  • Wood Mackenzie’s inaugural Global Net Zero Pledges Case Scenario finds that energy-related emissions in the pledges case scenario decline 8% from 2019 levels by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Global net zero arrives around 2060, taking cumulative emissions to around 750 billion tons of CO2.
  • Compared with the base case, power demand expands by about 40% under the pledges scenario, with green hydrogen the single largest source of incremental growth by 2050.
  • Around 90% of incremental capacity comes from wind, solar, and energy storage. 
  • Low-carbon dispatchable generation becomes critical due to higher wind and solar penetration. Markets shift to investing in ammonia co-firing, hydrogen combustion, and carbon capture and storage to provide flexible generation.
  • Hydrogen production reaches 500 to 630 million tons per annum under the pledges and net-zero scenarios, respectively.

Path to 100% Perspective

The urgency of the climate crisis demands that the power sector pioneers the rapid decarbonization of economies worldwide. According to the International Energy Agency’s 2050 roadmap, there is a viable pathway to a global net zero emissions energy sector by 2050 – but it’s narrow and calls for a transformation in how energy is produced, transported, stored, and used globally. Countries must front-load the transition toward net zero, taking major steps in the next few years to tackle the climate crisis.

Fortunately, power generation is undergoing a rapid transformation toward cleaner energy sources due to huge additions of low-cost renewable electricity. There is also a wide array of potential future fuels, including hydrogen, that can help to phase out fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. Adding more flexible gas generation that can convert to sustainable fuels and closing inflexible fossil assets will also be key in the final push to decarbonize energy systems.

Oil Giants Turn to Startups for Low-Carbon Energy ideas


Some of the world’s biggest oil companies are turning to startups to help plot their future.

Energy giants including BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are bolstering their venture capital arms—increasing budgets, hiring more staff and doing more deals—seeking out new low-carbon technologies to help future-proof their profits. The moves come as several big oil companies work to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and expand their low-carbon activities, partly in response to growing pressure from investors and governments to cut emissions. To learn more, read, “Oil Giants Turn to Startups for Low-Carbon Energy ideas.” Reading this article may require a subscription from the media outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • BP, Shell, and French peer TotalEnergies SE are now among the most active clean-tech investors, according to data provider PitchBook, with activity ramping up amid the shift to technologies like electric vehicles and solar and wind power.
  • BP now expects to spend up to $200 million a year, double what it has spent in previous years.
    • BP’s investments this year have included geothermal startup Eavor Technologies Inc.—where it was part of a $40 million funding round alongside Chevron Corp. —and autonomous vehicle software company Oxbotica Ltd.
  • Shell declined to disclose its venture capital budget but said the number of annual investments it makes had doubled since 2017 to around 20 to 25 deals a year, typically between $2 million and $5 million in size.
    • This year, Shell’s investments included charging technology, hydrogen-electric planes, and a logistics company that aims to prevent trucks running without goods—all of which could ultimately reduce demand for oil.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The strategy by several international oil giants to invest in startups could reveal solutions that could evolve the oil industry into a net-zero resource. Many of these petroleum based businesses are already exploring hydrogen as a possible way to contribute to decarbonization efforts. To connect the dots further, the most economical long-duration storage is formed with green hydrogen-based future fuels, such as hydrogen, ammonia, carbon neutral methanol and methane.These fuels can be used to generate electricity in flexible power plants. Such flexible power plants provide carbon neutral firm, dispatchable capacity to the grid at any time. Flexibility, reliability and resilient grids are required to avoid power disruptions caused by extreme or intermittent weather conditions.


Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

2020 Set A New Record For Renewable Energy. What’s The Catch?


All over the world, the growth of green energy is accelerating. More than 80% of all new electricity generating projects built last year were renewable, leading to a 10.3% rise in total installed zero carbon electricity generation globally, a new report shows. Yet in spite of reduced energy demand in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, fossil fuel electricity generation also continued to grow. So, therefore, did carbon emissions. To learn more, read “2020 Set A New Record For Renewable Energy. What’s The Catch?” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • The report, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), revealed that 91% of new renewables last year were wind and solar projects, with solar generation having grown the fastest, up by 127 gigawatts—a 22% increase from 2019.
  • But the IRENA report also found that, in spite of lower energy demand and the larger share of renewables in 2020, fossil fuel capacity also increased, though not by quite as much as seen during the previous year, rising 60 gigawatts as compared with 64 gigawatts in 2019.
  • A plan to retire and replace coal and gas plants is essential to reduce emissions, as well as enable workers from those industries to transition into the renewable energy sector.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Renewable energy is widely acknowledged to create more jobs than fossil fuels. McKinsey Sustainability, for example, reports that for every $10 million USD of government spending on renewable technologies 75 jobs are typically created, compared to 27 jobs in the fossil fuels sector. Additionally, renewable energy generates more labor-intensive jobs in the short run, when jobs are scarce, which boosts spending and increases short-run GDP. In the long run, renewable energy requires less labor for operation and maintenance, which frees up labor as the economy returns to capacity.

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NextEra Now More Valuable Than Exxon as Clean Power Eclipses Oil


NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s biggest provider of wind and solar energy, is now more valuable than oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp., once the largest public company on Earth. NextEra ended Wednesday, October 7, with a market value of $145 billion, topping Exxon’s $142 billion. The oil major’s U.S. rival, Chevron Corp., also surpassed it in value for the first time. To learn more, read “NextEra Now More Valuable Than Exxon as Clean Power Eclipses Oil.” (Reading this article requires a subscription.)

Key Takeaways:

  • NextEra has emerged as the world’s most valuable utility, largely by betting big on renewables, especially wind.
  • NextEra had about 18 gigawatts of wind and solar farms at the end of last year, enough to power 13.5 million homes. And it’s expanding significantly, with contracts to add another 12 gigawatts of renewables. Its shares have surged more than 20% this year.
  • At the same time, Exxon’s shares have tumbled more than 50% as the pandemic quashed global demand for fuels. The company’s second-quarter loss was its worst of the modern era and, in August, Exxon was ejected from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  • The company was worth $525 billion in 2007, more than three times its current value.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The global economic shift away from fossil fuels continues to become more evident as more public commitments are being announced and financial milestones such as this one are making history. However, continued efforts to reach renewable energy goals are still being monitored worldwide as organizations and governments are piecing together innovative solutions and strategic partnerships designed to pave a path to a renewable energy future.


Photo: Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash