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Electrification's role in the energy transition

Switching from fossil fuels to decarbonized electricity to power our cities and economies can help humanity achieve zero emissions

Published on JANUARY 12, 2022

Electrification is key to the energy transition

The key to fighting climate change is to decarbonize our energy mix, our industrial processes, our transportation systems and our cities. Decarbonization is the process of cutting or eliminating greenhouse gas  emissions by phasing out the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable sources of energy such as sunlight, wind, and geothermal heat. The key to this energy transition, in turn, is electrification powered by renewables, which can help stop global warming by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Examples of electrification include switching to electric cars and buses and the electrification of energy use in buildings to replace fossil fuels for heating and cooling purposes. 


The process driving the energy transition for a sustainable world

Smart urban infrastructure powered by clean electricity is also essential to achieving zero emissions, because cities generate more than 70% of all carbon emissions — mainly from buildings, energy and transportation.

What is the energy transition and why is it important?

What is electrification

Electrification: definition and meaning

Electrification is the most efficient way to decarbonize final energy consumption

The energy transition is a pathway to transform the global energy sector from a fossil-based to a zero-carbon system by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agenda (IRENA). At the heart of the transition to renewable energy systems is the need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to limit climate change and mitigate its impacts. An energy transition that is grounded in renewables is important because it delivers jobs and economic growth, underpins sustainable development, improves health by reducing pollution, and is among the most effective responses to climate change, according to IRENA.

The energy transition: process and strategy

Policymakers, communities and businesses everywhere must adopt an energy transition strategy if humanity is to successfully contain global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. One way to accelerate the energy transition is to apply the circular economy model to our production and consumption cycles, including in the energy sector. This means using renewable sources and sharing platforms such as Demand Response, in which commercial & industrial (C&I) energy consumers help balance supply and demand on the power grid. Companies such as Enel X are playing a key role in the energy transition by delivering renewable power generation systems to cities and businesses around the world.
Accelerating the energy transition

Accelerating the energy transition

The shift to a green economy involves many factors. At Enel X we make sure they work for everyone

Why does the energy transition take time

Business Solutions

Business Solutions

Enabling sustainable progress, together

The energy transition takes time because it requires harmonization between policymakers and the private sector: legislation, financing and technological innovation must go hand in hand to make the electrification of transportation and industry a reality. For example, a clean passenger vehicle fleet will take more than a decade to materialize in full. Electric vehicles will represent an estimated 67% of private vehicle sales by 2030 and almost 80% by 2050. In addition, It will take a substantial increase of capital-intensive clean energy assets – such as wind, solar PV, and electric vehicles  –  to put the world on a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In addition, It will take a substantial increase of capital-intensive clean energy assets – such as wind, solar PV, and electric vehicles  –  to put the world on a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In its Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE), the IEA estimates that around 70% of clean energy investments over the next decade will need to be carried out by private developers, consumers and financiers. This also means enhancing access to low-cost financing for new utility-scale solar projects supported by long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies such as Enel X are doing their share by offering C&I clients a range of options to implement clean energy solutions.

How electrification can supercharge the energy transition

Electrification powered by renewables is an unprecedented opportunity to foster a clean energy transition: it is the way to an affordable, reliable and zero emissions energy system. For example, the European Union is on a path to achieve electrification on both on supply and the demand side by combining technological advances with climate investments supported by the EU Recovery Plan. Electrification also ensures a more stable and resilient energy system, reducing dependency on energy imports and generating substantial savings thanks to higher efficiency.  For example, electric vehicles are three to five times more energy efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles that run on fossil fuels. According to the World Economic Forum, electrification is critical for decarbonization. Today electricity makes up 19% of total final energy consumption, however this figure has the potential to grow massively in future. To reap the full benefits of electrification, it is crucial to accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to emission-free generation, because decarbonized electricity is the best candidate to forge the path towards zero emissions.