The goal to reach net zero by 2050 will not only entail cutting carbon levels, but electrifying the entire economy. Decarbonization technologies have not quite reached the necessary scale – and the pathway will require coordination across federal and state governments to solve innovation, regulation, and market issues. Renewable energy inevitably serves as a significant benefactor, but therefore onsite generation and advanced energy storage must be expanded. To learn more read, Want To Hit Net-Zero Goals? Increase Public investment in Viable Technologies.


Key Takeaways:

  • Electricity now makes up 20% of all end-use energy consumption in this country. By 2050, however, that could rise to 60%.
  • The grid has to be able to handle the increased traffic and the influx of intermittent energy sources that depend on the weather. 
    • California plans to get to 60% renewables by 2030 and to 100% by 2045. The state’s independent system operator has called distributed energy resources “absolutely critical” — a way to alleviate strain on the primary grid while using clean energy and ensuring reliability. 
  • The International Renewable Energy Association estimates that hydrogen could make up 12% of global energy use by 2050. 
    • The association predicts that the mid-2030s will be the turning point — the time when green hydrogen will be competitive with “grey hydrogen” produced from fossil fuels.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The Path to 100% requires addressing economic, scientific and political challenges within the energy market. The United State’s decarbonization goals require an innovative energy transition in order to enter 2050 carbon-free. Solely boosting renewables is not enough – there must be a decrease in reliance on traditional gas and coal-fired plants, and gravitate towards flexible power systems that serve the dynamic needs of the communities consumption rhythm.