energy systems

Key levers to transform the global energy system to green energy


The world's energy system needs to transform towards renewable energy at unprecedented pace and scale – and it's possible to do this.

73% of global carbon emissions arise from use of fossil fuel-based energy, mainly for power and heat generation, cooling systems, transport, and industrial processes. Today, green energy makes up approx 14% of the global energy supply. It‘s projected to reach around 18% by 2030, well short of the 28% share that the IPCC says is needed. 

Replacing fossil fuels with green energy is vital to curb emissions, and green energy technologies are being implemented at scale as cost of renewables continues to decline. Wind and solar are now cheaper than new-built coal or gas capacity in two thirds of the world, according to BNEF. For offshore wind, costs have dropped by 66% since 2012. However, the build-out of renewable energy is not happening fast enough.

Ørsted has identified four key levers to rapidly decarbonise the global energy system and align with the 1.5°C pathway.

1. Intensify green electrification
As green power outcompetes fossil fuel-based power, it will open up opportunity to electrify many parts of society and the economy with green energy, including buildings and transport. Power accounts for just 20% of all energy use today, and this figure is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.

2. Phase out fossil fuels
Fossil fuels currently constitute approx 80% of the global energy mix. Within power production, coal accounts for 72% of emissions. Coal is the most carbon-intensive of fossil fuels. To meet global climate goals, the world needs to triple the retirement rate of coal-fired power plants.

3. Scale up green power deployment
Accelerating the green energy build-out is key to halving global emissions in 2030. 2,400GW of green power capacity was installed globally in 2018, including, solar, and wind. The world will need to double the planned build-out of green power by 2030.
4. Increase energy efficiency
Energy demand will grow by 24% towards 2050, as the world population rises to 9bn people and the global middle class expands. But energy demand needs to stay at current levels to meet climate goals. The only way to achieve this is through substantial improvements in energy efficiency, particularly in buildings.


We need to transform the global energy system to keep global warming within 1.5°C. Read Ørsted’s new paper to learn how replacing fossil fuels with green energy can combat climate change.

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Carbon neutral to stop global warming at 1.5ºC