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What is energy transition?

According to S&P Global, the definition of the term ‘energy transition’ refers to the “global energy sector’s shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption - including oil, natural gas and coal - to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.” The renewable energy transition is a gradual and steady shift of global energy production towards a zero-carbon system; it is expected to take place by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The global energy transition is the main tool in a broader strategy adopted by governments to contain global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century.

Why is energy transition important?

You know the story by now: global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) is having devastating effects on our planet’s ecosystems and if we want to preserve life - ours included - we need to lower those emissions. According to the UN Development Program, the global energy sector is responsible for 73% of annual GHGs, so the importance of the energy transition can’t be overstated.


The process driving the energy transition for a sustainable world

The way the UNDP sees it, by 2050 annual energy-related CO₂ emissions must decline by 70% compared with today’s levels if we are to meet climate goals. “Renewables, energy efficiency and substantial electrification can provide over 90% of the necessary reduction,” the organization asserts. Let’s start with the last element: Electrification of final consumption. Replacing fossil fuel-based technologies in all sectors with technologies that use electricity can make a significant contribution to the process of decarbonization. Ensuring that such electricity is produced from renewables, like wind and solar, allows further reducing and even eliminating emissions altogether, while increasing energy efficiency leads to less use of electricity overall - another way to cut back and eliminate GHG emissions.

What are the benefits of energy transition?

A successful energy transition reducing net carbon emissions to zero by the middle of the century would ensure significant benefits to the environment, the economy and quality of life for people around the globe, for generations to come. Aside from these advantages, an energy transition that is grounded in renewables is important because it delivers benefits that go beyond solving the climate crisis, including:
  • Creating new jobs: according to the UNDP, the energy transition could lead to the creation of 30 million new jobs;
  • Underpinning sustainable development;
  • Improving health by reducing pollution;
  • Generating economic growth;
  • Creating new ‘green technology’ investment opportunities;
  • Reducing wasteful subsidies - to the tune of some $423 billion annually - that governments can spend on other services to improve citizens’ lives.
Electrification: definition and meaning

Electrification: definition and meaning

Electrification is the most efficient way to decarbonize final energy consumption

  • Reducing climate change-induced natural disasters: Cutting carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, and then to net zero by 2050, would keep global warming at no more than 1.5℃ below pre-industrial levels, ensuring that the impacts of climate change - such as rising sea levels, floods, wildfires, drought and higher temperatures - do not become more severe compared with the present;
  • Allowing for cleaner air, which would reduce diseases caused by pollution, delivering important health benefits;
  • Supporting conservation of natural resources, thereby protecting the biodiversity that supports life on the planet as we know it;
  • Reducing exposure to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices from geopolitics, resulting in more reliably-priced energy supply, helping businesses and families plan for the future.



Overall, the energy transition’s impact extends far beyond the environment, touching nearly every aspect of society.

What does the energy transition mean for society?

Electrification for decarbonization

Electrification for decarbonization

Powering our homes, cities and businesses with electricity generated by renewables is a strategy to cut emissions

The energy transition advantages for society e   offer a huge opportunity to boost sustainable economic well-being, employment growth, and the social development of the communities involved.


The evolution of renewable technologies will create completely new “green” jobs that will more than offset those lost to traditional fossil fuel sectors, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2021, which estimates that a total of 13 million new jobs could be created by 2030.

The energy transition, after an initial investment, can reduce energy bills and industrial costs, thereby freeing up capital for investment in other areas such as sustainable business and development models.


Investment in sustainable projects and the application of circular economy models as part of the energy transition can be a tool for social equity, and a way to rebalance fairness between parts of the world that are at different stages of their development.  The energy transition is a one-off opportunity to tackle energy poverty in which people are unable to ensure the adequate heating (or cooling) of their homes or an adequate supply of energy for domestic uses.

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