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Smart grids

Electricity grid investments are expected to reach about USD 290 billion in 2021, recovering from 2020 and even surpassing the 2019 level of about USD 270 billion. The considerable expansion plans expected for 2021 are likely to reverse last year's trend.

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Key findings

Investment spending in electricity networks by region, 2016-2021


Investment in smart grids are expected to grow, with rising infrastructure spending

After declining for the fourth consecutive year in 2020, constrained by the Covid-19 pandemic, investments in electricity grids are expected to grow by 10% in 2021 with rising infrastructure spending in Europe, China and the United States. Ambitious expansion and recovery plans are being included in policies to achieve more resilient and digital grids, as part of the drive to achieve carbon-free electricity generation. Nevertheless, to achieve the objectives of the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the level of grid investment should triple by 2030, especially for smart grids and digital investments, which should account for around 40% of total investments in this decade.
Our work on Smart grids

The ISGAN TCP is a strategic platform to support high-level government attention and action for the accelerated development and deployment of smarter, cleaner electricity grids around the world. Operating as both an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, and as a TCP, the ISGAN TCP provides an important channel for communication of experience, trends, lessons learned, and visions in support of clean energy objectives as well as new flexible and resilient solutions for smart grids.

The IEA is expanding cross-Agency efforts to assess the policy, regulatory, technology and investment context needed to accelerate progress on power system modernisation and effective utilisation of demand side resources, leveraging the opportunities offered by digitalisation. The project draws from global experience and lessons learned to address emerging economies challenges and provide actionable recommendations.