Energy integration

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 23 May 2018

More efforts needed

While individual clean energy technologies are the building blocks to clean energy transitions, a variety of “energy integration” technologies – such as smart grids, energy storage, and hydrogen – will also need to play an increasingly important role to maximise the collective impact of individual technologies and bring the world onto an SDS trajectory. Some areas are seeing signs of progress, but overall, these increasingly crucial integration technologies need more innovation and policy focus.


Integration brings the whole energy system together

Meeting the SDS goals will require scaling up of technologies that help different parts of the energy system work together.


Tracking progress

Though many of them are making progress, none of these important technologies is fully on track to meet the SDS goals and one – renewable heat – is off track.


Energy storage

While battery prices fell by 22% from 2016 to 2017, continuing a very positive trend, additional utility-scale deployments for all storage technologies (excluding pumped hydro) remained flat in 2017 at around 620 MWh. This 2017 deployment rate is insufficient to meet the SDS target, which requires an additional 80 GW of overall storage capacity added by 2030. Additional policy support and ensuring a wider range of storage technologies become cost-effective are crucial.

Read more about energy storage

	Pumped Storage Hydropower (PSH)	Non-PSH storage	Planned PSH	Storage needed under SDS
2010	144.64			
2017	172.00	4.50		
2020	172.00	6.00	7.99	
2030				266.00
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Smart grids

Investment in smart grid technologies grew by 12% between 2014 and 2016 overall, but key areas such as smart distribution networks are lagging behind, with investment growing by only 3% in 2017. Progress in smart meter deployment is uneven across countries, with further regulatory change and new business models needed for smart grids to play their critical integration role in clean energy transitions.

Read more about smart grids

	India	Japan	United States	Europe	China	Rest of World
2015	0.37	0.44	1.90	2.11	3.00	3.81
2016	0.39	0.47	2.04	2.23	3.24	4.03
2017	0.41	0.48	2.12	2.30	3.34	4.15
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Demand response

Current global theoretical demand response potential is nearly 4 000 TWh per year, representing 15% of total electricity demand. Under the SDS, this potential rises to over 9 000 TWh per year by 2040. Policies to facilitate demand response are emerging in a number of regions, but only a small share of the full potential is being used today.

Read the IEA's latest analysis on demand response

	Industry and Agriculture	Transport	Buildings	Share of demand (right axis)
2016	847	50.79	3070.90	16.00
2040 SDS Target	1504	1550.69	6220.73	26.00
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Digitalization

The energy sector is becoming increasingly digitalized, spurred by falling costs for sensors and data storage, rapid progress in advanced analytics, and faster and cheaper data transmission. While the energy sector has long used digital technologies to reduce costs and improve efficiency, huge potential remains for further leveraging digital tools to accelerate energy transitions – particularly through the application of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and digital twins.

Read the IEA's latest analysis on digitalization

	Data storage	Internet bandwidth	Sensors
2008	100	100	100
2009	75	60	48
2010	42	36	29
2011	27	27	19
2012	23	20	13
2013	16	13	10
2014	11	8	6
2015	7	4	4
2016	7	4	2
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Hydrogen and fuel cells

The global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) car stock surpassed 7 200 units in 2017, with the United States accounting for nearly half of the global fleet. Focus on hydrogen is increasing from a variety of countries and companies, with the IEA also strengthening our own analytical capability.

Read more about hydrogen and fuel cells

FIGURE: Hydrogen's role in the energy system

Renewable heat

Renewable heat consumption has grown by an estimated 2.6% annually over recent years, with a 20% total increase between 2010 and 2017. Renewable heat accounted for about 9% of global heat and for more than 50% of total final energy consumption globally in 2017. To meet the SDS goals, renewable heat needs to increase by 4% per year between 2017 and 2030. This acceleration will be very challenging and requires a much greater policy focus on renewable heat.

Read more about renewable heat

	Bioenergy (excl. traditional biomass)	Solar	Geothermal	Renewable district heat	Renewable electricity
2010	296.0351181	15.3085158	6.545293	16.08946294	59.18079254
2011	292.6384591	18.33717847	6.862040998	16.13801988	62.20923797
2012	298.7996491	20.07768944	7.176581001	17.61381139	66.86963349
2013	309.2566161	26.25354425	7.501593	18.52204034	71.19728923
2014	306.5911081	27.88365566	7.784824	19.02445397	73.68545867
2015	307.5514484	29.73239545	8.539409	19.30770249	75.54699022
2016	313.5977429	32.38992312	9.335288202	19.33300749	81.24061797
2017	321.7539046	34.01887298	9.95263826	20.08307434	85.8509677
2020	338.579237	45.97783525	15.69494825	20.67168362	105.348275
2025	376.8547501	73.14251247	25.15948284	22.07641892	147.3730468
2030	415.0529615	111.539729	36.23509693	24.76785933	201.4202108
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