Key takeaways

  • Continuous record-breaking heat events together with more frequent storms are placing strain on people, cities and grids, driving the uptake of cooling appliances and challenging system reliability. China recorded a 70% year-on-year increase in air conditioner sales in 2023. Electricity demand for cooling in Africa could increase 400% this decade. Grids in cities are on the frontline of these challenges.
  • Global final energy consumption is undergoing a shift towards electrification, with a remarkable rise from a 20% share to more than 40% in 2050 on the basis of announced government pledges, even surpassing 50% on a path consistent with net zero. This shift is driving a significant increase in electricity demand, particularly in urban areas, where studies suggest a potential tripling of peak electricity demand by 2030.
  • To meet these challenges and ensure security of supply, it will be necessary to expand and reinforce grids, providing access for those currently underserved, and by 2050 to unlock more than four times the amount of new flexibility sources than exist today to manage peak demand and ensure continued affordability for consumers.