Europe – By 2050, renewables make up 87% of the electricity mix, with wind and solar playing a dominant role. Cheap renewables, flexible demand and batteries combine to shift the European power system away from fossil fuels and nuclear to one built around variable renewables and emissions-free energy.
Germany – Germany sees rapid change to 2025 with coal and gas generation falling 29%, nuclear phased-out and renewables topping 70% of generation. Battery deployment helps renewables reach higher penetration but, in the absence of policy intervention, cheap lignite is likely to remain in place. By 2050, Germany is running on 74% wind and solar and 84% renewables, but it has the highest emissions in Europe.
United Kingdom – The UK’s plan to close its remaining coal-fired power stations by 2025 reduces the role of fossil fuels in generation to 12% by 2030. At the same time, growth in high capacity factor offshore wind pushes renewables up to 73% of generation. By 2050, the UK has added 158GW of wind and solar, as well as 49GW of batteries and renewables provide 83% of generation.
United States – The US electricity system continues to replace aging coal and nuclear with cheaper gas and renewable resources, assuming there is no lasting federal policy intervention to prevent their retirement. Coal and nuclear are pushed out by age and economics, such that by 2050 both nuclear and coal have almost disappeared from the electricity mix. Batteries grow in significance from around 2030, supporting renewables penetration, which reaches 55% in 2050. In that year, emissions are 58% lower than they are today.
China – China sees peak coal generation and peak emissions in 2030, as the world’s biggest electricity system reaches 39% renewables penetration with 23GW of batteries. China will continue to be the largest market for wind and solar, which grow from 7% to 46% combined of total generation by 2050. By that time China has 1.1TW of solar PV and 1TW of wind – equivalent to 21% of all the PV and a third of all the wind power installed globally.
India – India has the cheapest new wind and solar anywhere in the world. This poses a profound challenge to the orthodoxy there that coal is forever king. While coal-fired electricity is expected to continue to grow in India in the short to medium term, by 2050 wind and solar dominate, supported by batteries and flexible gas. This pushes India’s emissions 22% below what they are today.
Japan – Japan’s electricity system remains relatively coal-heavy for much of the next 33 years, even as strong renewables growth and nuclear restarts squeeze gas out of the mix. By 2050, renewables account for almost three quarters of electricity generation, with PV supplying 43%, up from 6% today. Negative demand growth and strong consumer uptake of small-scale PV and batteries make Japan one of the more decentralized power systems in the world, with 34% of installed capacity behind-the-meter.
Australia – Australia’s power system is on track to become one of the two most decentralized in the world, with consumer PV and behind-themeter batteries making up 44% of all capacity. This represents a dramatic turnaround from the largely coal-fired system of today. Wind, PV and batteries form the backbone of this new system, where coal has all but disappeared.
South Korea – South Korea’s generation mix shifts from 72% coal and nuclear in 2017 to 71% gas and renewables in 2050. Utility-scale batteries and peaker gas plants become a crucial part of Korea’s future power system, supporting growing offshore wind and PV, as the country’s aging coal and nuclear plant retire.