G7 Power Systems Scorecard Methodology

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Why track G7 countries’ progress towards a 2035 net zero power systems goal?

The G7 countries committed to reach “fully or predominantly decarbonised power systems by 2035”, the first iteration of the commitment agreed upon during the 2021 Climate and Environment Ministerial. With this commitment, the G7 are the first group of countries to aim for a milestone that the IEA has identified as mission critical to a 1.5 °C compatible pathway. All OECD countries will however need to achieve this goal, and it is now essential for G7 countries to demonstrate they are making progress in delivering on this commitment.

In tracking G7 countries’ progress towards reaching a net zero power systems target, this Scorecard aims to:

  • Show the real steps undertaken by the G7 to decarbonise their electricity systems and adapt them to higher shares of variable renewable energy. This enables us to understand which countries and which policy and governance areas require more action. G7 countries have about ten years left to reach net zero power systems – a very short timeframe, given that it takes time to adjust policy frameworks, build a skilled workforce to drive the delivery, and deploy the infrastructure on the ground. Keeping track of the key policy and financial decisions, and the effect they have on the power systems themselves, is key to understanding whether the current pace of change is sufficient.
  • Provide lessons learned from the G7 countries on power systems decarbonisation. These are useful for other OECD countries, which also need to aim for 2035 net zero power systems, and for the rest of the world, which needs to reach net zero power systems by 2045 at the latest to be on track for climate neutrality by mid-century or shortly thereafter. 

What does this Scorecard measure?

The Scorecard considers two key aspects:

  1. G7 countries’ progress towards decarbonising their power systems so far. This is reflected by their current electricity mix and plans for future power capacity deployment (project pipeline). The first section of the Scorecard (Infrastructure/Energy mix) scores this aspect against two benchmarks (1. Reducing fossil fuel reliance and 2. Ramping up renewables).
  2. G7 governments’ policy framework, governance and global leadership to create the necessary frameworks and conditions for reaching the 2035 net zero power systems commitment. The second section of the Scorecard (Policies/Targets) scores this aspect against three benchmarks (3. Adapting the power systems to high RES share; 4. Governance / International leadership; 5. Reducing energy waste).

This section includes not only domestic policies and targets, but also G7 countries’ international leadership to bring forward global power sector decarbonisation. As a group of advanced economies claiming global climate and energy transition leadership, the G7 need to not only go faster to set a global precedent but also create the right global signals for the transition to take off in other parts of the world, particularly emerging markets and developing economies.

How are we measuring progress?

Speed and cost-effectiveness guide our assumptions about technology mix

The Scorecard assumes that the most cost-effective low-carbon electricity and solutions that can be realistically deployed within this decade (by 2035) will dominate the power mix in G7 countries. The Scorecard therefore looks primarily at the pace and scope of variable renewable energy (VRE) capacity deployment and the policies that enable faster VRE integration in the power system.

Solar and wind have reached full market maturity and are more cost-competitive than any other low-carbon technology (and more cost-competitive than new fossil-based generation). These technologies are prioritised in the Scorecard as they have the highest potential to transform the power systems at the speed needed and in a sustainable way, including addressing new electricity demand coming from electrification of end use across other sectors including heating, transport, and industry. Most prominent decarbonisation scenarios (IEA WEO, IRENA WETO, IEA G7 NZP2035) see these technologies growing significantly in the next ten years while the growth of other renewable capacity (hydropower, geothermal) and nuclear is limited. 

G7 countries with a historically high share of low-carbon electricity derived from hydropower and nuclear power generation will have to focus primarily on enabling deployment of VRE technologies if they are to achieve fully net zero power systems by 2035. Not only is the capacity for growing nuclear and hydropower generation in these countries limited, the long lead times will also not get this new generation online in time for the 2035 target.

Focus on policies to adapt power systems to net zero

The IEA estimates an 80% growth in electricity demand in G7 countries by 2050 under a net zero emissions scenario, due to electrification of key sectors and additional capacity required for hydrogen production. All G7 countries are expected to rely on 50–100% VRE sources in their power mix in the long term, the rest largely covered by hydropower and nuclear. Even where the power mix is currently largely decarbonised (France, Canada), the share of VRE is expected to grow dramatically by 2035.

Systemic transformation is needed to secure the benefits of high shares of renewable electricity and to ensure reliability of generation, transmission, distribution and energy services. Benchmark 3 of the Scorecard therefore assesses policies in areas beyond renewables capacity, including flexibility, digitalisation, grid deployment and electrification of end use.

Reducing energy waste and boosting energy efficiency is another of the five benchmarks used in this Scorecard. Enhanced energy efficiency is crucial for making high levels of end use electrification feasible and affordable, and is therefore an enabler of net zero power systems by 2035.

Approach to various non-renewable generation technologies

Some G7 countries rely on nuclear energy for large shares of their power generation. As a carbon-free source, nuclear has historically contributed to the decarbonisation of those countries’ power systems, before the upscale and massive cost reduction of VRE technologies meant that they started to dominate new generation capacity additions worldwide.

The historic contribution of nuclear to power systems decarbonisation in the G7 countries is reflected in the Scorecard (indicators 1.3 and 1.4). Given that the existing nuclear pipeline in the G7 doesn’t point to any significant growth within the group by 2035 (the new nuclear capacity in construction today in France, Japan, the UK and the US would add between 0.01% (US) and ~3% (UK) to the countries’ existing capacity, while some of these plants are aimed at replacing the ageing existing nuclear fleet) it is not explicitly considered in the remainder of the scorecard.

Ambition to build new large-scale nuclear capacity beyond what’s already in the pipeline is not relevant for 2035 ambition due to the very long lead times for nuclear projects. Any project not already in operation or under construction is unlikely to contribute to the 2035 net zero power systems target. 

We consider the potential role of abatement, H2 to power and other “new/non-mature technologies”, in particular in delivering the “last-mile” decarbonisation of power systems in the G7 countries. However, given the high costs, lack of demand signals and poor track record of applications such as CCS-equipped coal power, ammonia and H2 co-firing, overreliance on these technologies in G7 countries’ power systems decarbonisation policies is considered a liability and contributes to a poor scoring. Countries are considered as over-reliant on these technologies if they bet on high shares of CCS-equipped thermal generation by 2035 without a solid implementation plan and cost-effectiveness assessment, or if they plan to rely on ammonia or H2 co-firing in the short term without a long-term plan to decarbonise the power mix by 2035. 

Clean (zero-carbon) H2 as a storage medium and addition to power systems flexibility is considered in Benchmark 3 among other storage options.  

The Scorecard structure

The Scorecard is divided into two main sections:

  • Section 1: Infrastructure/Energy mix reflects the current state of the power system in the G7 countries and makes up 30% of the available score. It comprises two benchmarks: Reducing fossil fuel reliance and Ramping up renewables, each contributing 15% to the total score.
  • Section 2: Policies/Targets reflects G7 countries’ efforts to put the targets, policies and frameworks in place that should create enabling conditions for their power systems to reach net zero emissions by 2035. It makes up 70% of the total score and comprises three benchmarks: Adapting power systems to high RES share (30% of the total score); Governance / International leadership (20%); and Reducing energy waste (20%).

The benchmark weighting reflects their relative importance in the overall assessment. It ensures that the main focus of the Scorecard is on Section 2: Policies/Targets (Benchmarks 3,4,5). While the historic achievements of G7 countries towards decarbonising their power systems give them an important base, the scale and speed of the change needed within the next decade necessitates much more extensive policy action to enable not only the rollout of new capacity, but also all the measures required to facilitate the structural transformation of the power sector (grid deployment, end use flexibility, digitalisation, and so on).

Each benchmark is composed of a range of indicators, 32 in total.

Countries are scored against each indicator. The scores are combined to give overall scores for each benchmark, section and for the overall Scorecard.

Section 1: Infrastructure/Energy mix

Total score 0–120

This section of the Scorecard reflects the current state of the power system in the G7 countries. It comprises two largely numerical benchmarks: Reducing fossil fuel reliance and Ramping up renewables. The numerical indicators that reflect the share of different technologies in a country’s power generation (1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2) do not imply that a certain share of generation must be met by any of these technologies. They merely reflect the current share of generation. Having said that, were a country to reach a net zero power mix, all these indicators would automatically be given the maximum score.

For example:

  • 2% nuclear generation in a country where the net zero target is not achieved = 0–1 points (reflects the current share of generation).
  • 2% nuclear generation in a country where the net zero target is achieved = 15 points (reflects the fact that, in the total net zero mix, 2% of nuclear generation is enough and no new nuclear is needed).

The scoring for Section 1 (benchmarks 1 and 2)

IndicatorMaximum ScoreComments
Benchmark 1: Reducing fossil fuel reliance 600–20: Unacceptable
21–43: Insufficient
44–60: On track
1.1 New unabated coal and gas power plants in planning or construction15Unacceptable: 0 – new unabated coal in the pipeline
Unacceptable: 1–4 – no new unabated coal but new unabated gas in the pipeline
On track: 15 – no new unabated fossil fuel pipeline
1.2 Share in electricity generation: fossil fuels15>40% generation: 0–5
20–40% of generation: 6–10
<20% of generation: 11–15
1.3 Share in electricity generation: non-renewable low-carbon tech15Nuclear, abated coal and gas, H2-powered power plants
<20% of generation: 0–5
20–40% of generation: 6–10
>40% generation: 11–15
1.4 Carbon intensity of power index15>400 gCO2e/kWh: 0–5
200–400 CO2e/kWh: 6–10
<200 gCO2e/KWh: 11–15
Benchmark 2: Ramping up renewables 600–20: Unacceptable
21–43: Insufficient
44–60: On track
2.1 Share of variable RES in electricity generation15<20% of generation: 0–5
20–40% of generation: 6–10
>40% generation: 11–15
2.2 Share of other RES in electricity generation15 Hydropower, geothermal power, bioenergy and other non-variable RES  
<20% of generation: 0–5
20–40% of generation: 6–10
>40% generation: 11–15
2.3 Variable RES pipeline capacity vs country’s announced target15Unacceptable: 0–5 – no target to match against, or the pipeline is significantly below announced target
Insufficient: 6–10 – pipeline is below announced target On track: 11–15 – pipeline likely to deliver the announced RES target
2.4 Average permitting time for VRE15Unacceptable (>5 years): 0–5 Insufficient (3–5 years): 6–10 On track (<2 years): 11–15

Section 2: Policies/Targets

Total score 0–280

This section of the Scorecard reflects G7 countries’ efforts to put the targets, policies and frameworks in place that should create enabling conditions for their power systems to reach net zero emissions by 2035. It comprises three benchmarks: Adapting power systems to high RES share; Governance / International leadership; and Reducing energy waste.

In this first iteration of the Scorecard, we assess the policies in a very simple way: 

  • Unacceptable: no policy in place
  • In development: no policy in place but active discussions/consultations ongoing, or a white paper/policy draft existing.
  • Insufficient: policy adopted but doesn’t address the problem/inhibits further progress
  • On track: effective policy announced and adopted.

The indicators reflecting targets (e.g. coal phase-out target) have three scoring categories:

  • Unacceptable: neither a target nor a trajectory towards reaching it
  • Insufficient: target/date adopted but no trajectory proposed to underpin delivery
  • On track: both target and implementation trajectory adopted
  • Similarly, the indicators reflecting G7 countries’ global leadership have three scoring categories: unacceptable, insufficient, on track. For a detailed description of what these categories entail please refer to the individual indicators in the table below.

We recognise that the quality of the policies is often different between countries, and we will aim to enable a qualitative comparison across countries – as far as the national power system specific allows – in next year’s iteration of the Scorecard.

The Scorecard faces the additional challenge that there are bothcountries with centralised policymaking and countries where states/provinces have more authority (such as Canada and the US). This version of the scorecard primarily looks at central government efforts.

We are certain that it is possible to make the policy scores comparable across countries in the long term and aim to include this nuance in next year’s Scorecard.

IndicatorMaximum ScoreComments
Benchmark 3: Adapting the power systems to high-RES share 120 0–40: Unacceptable
41–95: Insufficient
96–120: On track
3.1 Policies to limit curtailment to a minimum that ensures optimal RES capacity utilisation15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.2 Active steps by the national grid operator to plan for short spells of 100% RE power15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.3 Effective policies to ramp up electricity storage15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.4 Effective policies to increase end use flexibility15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.5 Effective policies to accelerate grid development15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.6 Effective policies to enable the required digitalisation of power systems15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.7 Effective mechanisms or frameworks to prevent preferential treatment for fossil fuel-based generation over RES on the market 15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
3.8 Electrification rate target and roadmap to support delivery15 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–11
On track: 12–15
Benchmark 4: Governance / International leadership 80 0–30: Unacceptable
31–64: Insufficient
65–80: On track
4.1 2035 carbon neutral power system commitment adopted in national legislation10 No: 0
In development: 1–5
Insufficient: 6–9
On track: 10
4.2 Global leadership on supporting power systems decarbonisation in developing countries10 Unacceptable: 0 – failed to contribute to global progress / actively inhibits global progress
Insufficient: 1–6 – contributes to global progress but fails short of delivering what’s needed / what’s expected of the country given its overall role in the global economy and governance On track: 7–10 – shows strong delivery as a global partner
4.3 International commitments on power systems decarbonisation through alliances or networks such as the PPCA, Glasgow Coal to Clean Power Initiative etc.10 Unacceptable: 0 – none of the global clean power alliances
Insufficient: 1–6 – member of international initiatives supporting global targets (e.g. the 3×RES, 2×EE pledge), but not to alliances where they have to commit to national delivery (e.g. PPCA)
On track: 7–10 – member of both international alliances supporting global targets and alliances where they have to commit to national delivery
4.4 Net zero power system roadmapto drive delivery of 2035 commitment10Unacceptable: 0 – no roadmap
Insufficient: 1–6 – roadmap isn’t aligned with 2035 target / roadmap adopted only in parts of the country – for G7 countries with strong sub-national level entities
On track: 7–10 – roadmap adopted and is aligned with 2035 target
4.5 Critical role of renewables, interconnection and demand side measures reflected in country’s energy security framework10Unacceptable: 0 – no
Insufficient: 1–6 – only partially, e.g. role of RES deployment but not efficiency or flexibility
On track: 7–10 – yes
4.6 Unabated coal phase-out date and roadmap to support delivery10No: 0
Insufficient: 5
On track: 10
4.7 Unabated gas phase-out date and roadmap to support deliveryNo: 0
Insufficient: 5
On track: 10
4.8 2030 target for share of total RES in electricity generation10No: 0
Insufficient: 1–6 – there is a target but insufficient for the country to be at 80% clean electricity by 2030
On track: 7–10 – target amounts to 80% of RES in generation or, in countries with large share of non-RES low-carbon electricity, an equivalent of RES needed to reach 80% clean electricity by 2030 (e.g. with 20% nuclear expectation by 2030, RES must be at least 60%)
Benchmark 5: Reducing energy waste800–30: Unacceptable
31–64: Insufficient
65–80: On track
5.1 Efficient policies to retrofit / renovate buildings20No: 0
In development: 1–10
Insufficient: 11–15
On track: 16–20
5.2 National energy / power savings target20No: 0
In development: 1–10
Insufficient: 11–15
On track: 16–20
5.3 Sufficient spending on energy efficiency programmes20No: 0
In development: 1–10
Insufficient: 11–15
On track: 16–20
5.4 High-quality appliance and equipment standards and labelling20No: 0
In development: 1–10
Insufficient: 11–15
On track: 16–20


List of abbreviations used in the Scorecard and country profiles.

AB                  Alberta (Canada)

ACER             Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (EU)

ADS               Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (US)

AESO             Alberta Electric System Operator

ANRE             Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (part of METI, Japan)

APER             Renewable Energy Acceleration Law (France)

AZEC             Asia Zero Emissions Community

BC                  British Columbia (Canada)

BEG               Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings (Germany)

BENEFIT        Buildings Energy Frontiers and Innovation Technologies (US)

BIL                 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (US)

BMWK          Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (Germany)

BNetzA         Federal Network Agency (Germany)

BOGA            Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance

BSW              German Solar Industry Association

BVES             Energy Storage System Association (Germany)

CAISO           California’s Independent System Operator (US)

CC(U)S          carbon capture (utilisation) and storage

CEC                California Energy Commission (US)

CfD                Contracts for Difference

CIP-ACT        Climate Investment Funds – Accelerating Coal Transition Program (Canada)

CPUC             California’s Public Utilities Commission (US)

DENA            German Energy Agency

DER               distributed energy resources

DoE               Department of Energy (US)

DPA               Defense Production Act (US)

DPE               Energy Performance Certificate (France; equivalent to EPC)

DRAI              Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative (Canada)

DSM              demand side management

DSR               demand side response

DX                  digital transformation

ECCC             Environment and Climate Change Canada

EE                  energy efficiency

EED               Energy Efficiency Directive (EU)

EEG               Renewable Energy Sources Act (Germany)

EERS              Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (US)

EISA               Energy Independence and Security Act (US)

EnWG           Energy Industry Act (Germany)

EPA                Environmental Protection Agency (US)

EPBD             Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EU)

EPC                Energy Performance Certificate (EU/UK)

EPREL            European Product Registry for Energy Labelling

ERCOT          Electric Reliability Council of Texas (US)

ESO               electricity system operator

ESPR              Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (EU)

ETA                Energy Transition Accelerator (US)

ETC                Energy Transition Council

ETS                Emissions Trading System

EU                  European Union

EV                  electric vehicle

FERC              Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (US)

FIP                 feed-in premium

FIT                 feed-in tariff

G7                  Group of Seven: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US     

GBS               Green Buildings Strategy (Canada)

gCO­2/kWh    grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilowatt hour of electricity generated

GDO              Grid Deployment Office (part of the DoE, US)

GEG               Buildings Energy Act (Germany)

GGI                Green Grids Initiative

GRIP              Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership (US)

GW                gigawatt

GX                  green transformation

H2                  hydrogen

HVAC            high-voltage alternative current

IEA                 International Energy Agency

IIJA                Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (US)

IPG                International Partners Group

IRA                Inflation Reduction Act (US)

ISO-NE          System Operator New England (US)

ITC                 Investment Tax Credit (US)

JETP               Just Energy Transition Partnership

KTF                Climate and Transformation Fund (Germany)

kWh              kilowatt hour

LDC                least developed countries

LDES              long-duration energy storage

LNG               liquefied natural gas

MASCE          Electric Storage Capacity Procurement Mechanisms (Italy)

METI             Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan)

MLF               Local Flexibility Markets (Italy)

MLIT              Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Tourism (Japan)

MoE              Ministry of Environment (Japan)

MoU              Memorandum of Understanding

MSA              Market Surveillance Administrator (Canada)

MSD              Ancillary Services Market (Italy)

Mtoe             million tons of oil equivalent

MW               megawatt

NABEG          Grid Expansion Acceleration Act for the Transmission Grid (Germany)

NDP               Network Development Plan

NECP             National Energy and Climate Plan

NEDRI           New England Demand Response Initiative (US)

NELEV           Electrotechnical Properties Verification Ordinance (Germany)

NEPA             National Environmental Policy Act (US)

NREL             National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US)

NWS              National Hydrogen Strategy (Germany)

OCCTO          Organisation for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators

OECD            Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

PLMA            Peak Load Management Alliance (US)

PPCA             Powering Past Coal Alliance

PPE                Programmations pluriannuelles de l’énergie / multiannual energy planning (France)

PREPAC         Programme for the Energy Requalification of Central Public Administration Buildings (Italy)

PV                  photovoltaic

REC                Renewable Energy Certificate (US)

RES                renewable energy sources

RPS                renewable portfolio standard

RT2012         Thermal Regulations 2012 (France)

RTE                Réseau de transport d’électricité (TSO, France)

SACE             Italian Export Credit Agency

S3RenR         Regional grid plans (France)

SNBC             National Low-Carbon Strategy (France)

SREP              Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (Canada)

T&D               transmission and distribution

TOU               time of use

TSO               transmission system operator

UK                  United Kingdom

ULO               Ultra-Low Overnight (price plan; Canada)

US                  United States

UVAM           Virtual Mixed Aggregated Unit (Italy)

VRE               variable renewable energy

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