Power and renewables

Deep decarbonization: DNV

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Andrea Berghall
Andrea Berghäll

Regional Communications Manager NEMEA

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As part of our latest Talks Energy podcast series - The race to deep decarbonization, we spoke to Katy Briggs, Global Service Area Leader for DNV Renewables Advisory about the global policy challenges facing nations as they strive to meet the targets in the Paris Agreement.

Cutting carbon emissions carries a weight of responsibility right across the value chain – from the design and development of technologies that bring renewable energy to energy grids, all the way to the sale of electric vehicles (EVs) and sustainable infrastructure at the consumer touchpoint.

Although work is already underway to meet the emissions targets set out in the United Nations (UN) Paris Agreement, DNV’s Katy Briggs, warns of a “disconnect” between the policymakers helping to bring existing technologies to market and the commitments laid out by governments to battle climate change, which she believes is getting in the way of progress.

“There’s certainly a disconnect between policy and what’s needed,” Katy explains. “The commitments that countries have made so far are not enough and turning those commitments into binding action is tough enough.” Some of this, she says, is because of the incentivization structures that were once right but need to adapt to innovation: “There are gaps where we are still incentivizing what we thought was right a few decades ago – like tax schemes – but that’s not aligned with what we need in the future.”

Katy’s clear on what policy action needs to happen here: “What we need is further action from governments – new tax schemes and incentivization, accelerating and incentivizing clean energy along with addressing permitting and siting of renewables. We also need acceptance of the change that needs to happen and how that will affect economies and markets. It’s not that we don’t have the technology, it’s how do we utilize it and deploy it. How do we change?”

Katy is keen to point out that however hard the challenge looks, governments – particularly those in developed nations have a strong history when it comes to backing new technology with policy and incentivization:

“The fact that we have cost-effective solar and wind in many parts of the world is a testament to the policies and incentives for clean electricity,” she continues. “And look at the results - solar has reduced to a tenth of the original price and wind a third of its original price in the last decade.” In meeting the deep decarbonization challenge though, it’s about going the extra distance and seeking out worldwide collaboration:

“Countries and governments still need to come together. Fragmented solutions won’t work and that requires trust between different jurisdictions and countries. We need policy intervention to understand markets and their needs, to put the right structures in place to meet the Paris Agreement.”

The investment that’s coming forward to support battery storage and hydrogen is a good example of the new generation of decarbonization technology that needs policy backing on a serious, global and coordinated level. Katy continues: “We’ve seen innovation on the technology side as well as the implementation of policy for battery storage and hydrogen power and we need to scale it. With the rise and scaling we’re seeing in renewables we also need some flexibility in energy grids and a different system to what was originally designed.”

Energy networks and transmission grids are an area Katy believes policy needs to address to provide the capacity needed to support new forms of energy generation and storage: “What are the human factors that we need to look at when it comes to energy use? And with that in mind, how are we going to develop a nearly clean, reliable grid? We will see incredible amounts of electrification across various industries in the next few years – potentially doubling energy use by 2050. This requires a huge re-think and it’s up to governments to put in place the right policies, incentives and mechanisms for it to work.”

According to research carried out by the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy investment is bouncing back following a downturn in the wake of the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak, however it claims that more resources must be directed to clean-energy technologies to put the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050.

The IEA’s findings also show that investment was “poorly aligned” with projected needs to reduce carbon emissions. As part of its recovery, Katy is calling for “a more equitable” energy infrastructure solution and transition which she hopes will see governments and policymakers align investment with the real-time needs and energy demands in society.

“We need to make sure the benefits of the clean energy economy are distributed appropriately,” she says. “Otherwise, we are in the situation where there are plenty of people doing just fine, and others barely scraping by. You can privatize the benefits and socialize the cost, pollution and downside.

“I hope we see policy as a solution to make sure we meet the Paris Agreement.”

Contact us:

Andrea Berghall
Andrea Berghäll

Regional Communications Manager NEMEA

Send email Phone:
The fact that we have cost-effective solar and wind in many parts of the world is a testament to the policies and incentives for clean electricity.
Katy Briggs,
  • Strategy Lead
  • Energy Systems at DNV