Alternative Energy

Interactive energy transition tracker for power sector launched

4th November 2021
Beatrice O'Flaherty

With make-or-break climate talks underway at COP26, Energy Monitor has launched the first in a trilogy of data-led articles offering a plant-by-plant analysis of the energy transition in the power sector.

Based on exclusive data from parent company GlobalData, the interactive tracker maps out where and what kind of new power plants are being built around the world, and what that says about the global energy transition.

The first instalment is dedicated to the Americas. It finds that while 249GW of solar and 281GW of wind plans lead the way for new capacity across this region, in third position comes 120GW of natural gas.

Authors, Nick Ferris and Josh Rayman, conclude: “The story of the energy transition in the Americas can be summed up by a single sentence in the IEA’s [International Energy Agency's] most recent energy outlook: “Every data point showing the speed of change in energy can be countered by another showing the stubbornness of the status quo.””

The tracker analyses plans for new wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, biomass, geothermal and ocean energy, as well as for new gas, coal and oil plants.

Power plants do not tell the whole story of the energy transition, but they are a strong indicator of the extent to which countries are on track to net zero because all energy models agree that a low-carbon future requires massive electrification.

The IEA's Net Zero Pathway, published in May, estimates that global electricity demand will more than double between 2020 and 2050. The share of steel produced from electric arc furnaces will increase from 20% to 53%; the share of electric vehicles will increase from one percent to 53%; and heat pumps will meet 55% of heat demand, up from seven percent today.

In its analysis of the Americas, Energy Monitor tracks power plant plans in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. These range from facilities under construction, to those seeking permits or financing, to those that have only been announced. The article concludes with an assessment of how far along governments are in steering their countries towards net zero.

A tracker for Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be published on 4 November and a tracker for Asia-Pacific on 5 November. You can sign up for Energy Monitor’s weekly newsletter here.

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