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Energy planning overhaul needed to meet climate targets – new report

December 9, 2023

DUBAI – Today, at COP28, Clean Air Task Force launched a new paper challenging the status quo of energy planning processes worldwide. Titled Pledges to Plans: Principles & Components of Durable Energy Transitions, the paper emphasizes the critical need to overhaul planning mechanisms to overcome bottlenecks and accelerate decarbonization to meet clean energy and climate targets. 

This report comes at a critical moment, with governments having made unprecedented pledges to triple renewable energy and triple nuclear energy capacity – all of which hinge on their ability to effectively plan. 

Kasparas Spokas, Director of Insights and Integration Strategy at CATF, highlights the urgency of reevaluating existing planning frameworks, stating, “Governments have made commendable strides in setting emission reduction targets and providing financial incentives – but the Global Stocktake has just made very clear that these targets aren’t actually being achieved. An incomplete understanding of the role of planning in resolving bottlenecks to deploying clean infrastructure quickly is one of the largest factors that has left the world far off track of its clean energy and climate targets.” 

The paper argues that current planning approaches have left the world off track, resulting in long interconnection queues, slowing renewable energy deployment, and strained supply chains. The lack of effective planning, labeled a “valley of death” in the policy lifecycle in the paper, poses a significant obstacle to achieving targeted end-states on time. 

Because the approach to energy planning will differ by region and type of infrastructure, this paper provides principles of effective energy planning that can inform the creation of planning processes at any level and jurisdiction: 

  1. Proactive and risk-aware: engage in structured system-risk-management approaches to mitigate risks and develop robust options-based strategies, ensuring multiple pathways to success.  
  1. Multi-jurisdictional, cross-sectorial, and has systems-perspective: identify opportunities to scale solutions across regions, benefiting from economies of scale and lower costs.  
  1. Co-created with all stakeholders: directly tackle planning challenges and potential conflicts, fostering a sense of shared ownership and accountability among all parties.   
  1. Based on comprehensive, transparent, scenario-based analysis: ensure efficacy and relevance.  
  1. Actionable roadmaps, accountable progress tracking, adaptive learning: provide opportunities for continuous review, refinement, and adaptation, grounded in legal frameworks to compel action.  

“Effective planning requires proactive collaboration across sectors and regions. Our paper outlines key principles and components for planning that engages citizens, industry representatives, regulators, and more to create durable change,” said David Yellen, Strategic Advisor at CATF. “It’s time to co-create solutions that address the complexities of achieving a clean energy future.” 

CATF calls on governments, industry leaders, and stakeholders to embrace these principles and components, urging a global commitment to reforming energy planning for a resilient and sustainable future. 

This report is one of many recent reports from CATF that provide governments, policymakers, and other stakeholders with tools and framing on how to move from the “what” of climate targets to the “how” of implementation. 

Earlier this year, CATF also highlighted lack of rigorous planning in the National Energy and Climate Plans within the European Union in a related report titled Bridging the Planning Gap and recently released two reports on how to effectively develop, scale, and deploy nuclear energy. 

Press Contacts 

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director,  [email protected], +1 845-750-1189  

Rowan Emslie, Communications Director, Europe, [email protected],  +32 476 97 36 42  

About Clean Air Task Force  

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.    

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