UNEP, IEA and Italy launch new initiative on power system modernisation

The Demand-Driven Electricity Networks Initiative (3DEN) will support countries on modernising their electricity systems through policy, regulation, technology and investment guidance

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A new initiative aimed at accelerating progress on power system modernisation and the effective utilisation of demand-side resources has been launched.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Italian Government, launched the Demand-Driven Electricity Networks Initiative (3DEN), which will support countries on modernising their electricity systems through policy, regulation, technology and investment guidance.

The energy sector accounts for around 65% of total global greenhouse gas emissions – the organisations state these need to be halved by 2030 and eliminated by 2050 to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

At the same time, more than 750 million people lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion still cook and heat using wood, charcoal and other unhealthy fuels, requiring new power capacity and infrastructure expansion.

The Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition and UNEP are launching a call for pilot projects on digitalisation for flexible and resilient energy systems in Brazil, Colombia, Morocco, Tunisia, India, Indonesia and South Africa.

Pilot projects are expected to showcase innovative business and regulatory models’ proposals for smarter digital power infrastructure uptake.

Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division said: “The energy sector urgently needs to change to ensure rapid decarbonisation and wider accessibility for the millions of people that still lack it, particularly in low income communities.

“Digital technologies have the potential to provide benefits for climate and power system resilience and can ensure energy is delivered at the lowest possible price. 3DEN will be a key tool to help governments do just that.”

The project will bring together diverse stakeholders to foster dialogue and share experiences, including the International Smart Grids Action Network, the Clean Energy Ministerial, Mission Innovation and the User-Centred Energy Systems, Energy in Buildings and Communities and Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment Technology Collaboration Programmes.

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