At Least 3000 GW of Renewable Power Projects in Grid Connection Queues: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report on, ‘Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions Enhancing to Support the Foundations for Building Resilient, Sustainable and Affordable Power Systems’. The report emphasises that the grid’s risk is becoming a weak link of clean energy transitions. 

The report suggests that a link between delays in grid investment and reform could increase global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, slowing energy transitions and putting the 1.5 °C goal out of reach. Therefore, the report suggests developing the Grid Delay Case would help to explore the impacts of investment, modernisation, digitalisation and operational changes based on the Announced Pledges Scenario (APS).

The report indicates that at least 3000 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power projects, of which 1 500 GW are in advanced stages, are waiting in grid connection queues – equivalent to five times the amount of solar PV and wind capacity added in 2022.

The report reflects that the grid delay case has shown that transitions are stalling, due to slower uptake of renewables and higher fossil fuel use. The cumulative CO2 emissions from the power sector to 2050 would be 58 gigatonnes higher in the Grid Delay Case than in a scenario aligned with national climate targets. This is equivalent to the total global power sector CO2 emissions from the past four years. It would also mean that the global long-term temperature rise would go well above 1.5 °C, with a 40% chance of it exceeding 2 °C. 

Implications for wind & solar

The APS shows the pathway corresponding with announced ambitions and targets, including all national announcements as of September 2022. The Grid Delay Case is a variation of the APS that was developed for this report to explore the potential impacts of failing to deliver grid infrastructure in a timely manner. In this case, slower development of grid infrastructure could be delaying the deployment of solar PV and wind power and would keep the global solar PV capacity additions to 10% below the APS level in 2030. 

Wind capacity additions are held more than 15% below the APS in both 2030 and 2050.


This would represent major changes for the global power system and require progress in many areas related to renewables integration, including market design and storage development. But it would fall well short of the nearly 60% share reached in the APS that is needed to deliver long-term ambitions, including net zero targets. 

The most important barriers to grid development differ by region. The financial health of utilities is a central challenge in some countries, including India, Indonesia and Korea, while access to finance and high cost of capital are key barriers in many emerging market and developing economies, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.