G7 Power Systems Scorecard

The new G7 Power Systems Scorecard assesses G7 countries’ efforts to decarbonise their power systems by 2035. The group adopted this commitment in 2021 and has re-confirmed it every year since.

Country
SCORING
TOTAL
France
Canada
Germany
United Kingdom
United States
Italy
Japan

The findings

The Scorecard shows that, except for Japan, all G7 countries are taking significant steps towards a decarbonised power sector. However, major delivery risks remain. Although these differ per country, some common themes emerge which require all G7 governments to take action:

  • All G7 countries, except for Japan, are either committed to phasing out coal by 2030 or taking major steps towards this goal. 
  • No G7 country has clear policies and targets to phase out unabated gas in line with the G7 net zero power commitment.  
  • Most G7 countries rely too much on gas fired power generation, both for back-up capacity now and in future planning. This comes at the expense of non-thermal flexibility solutions, which need to be given higher political priority. The EU-based G7 countries in particular have an important framework to do so within newly reformed power market rules.  
  • Grid expansion is now high on the political agenda of all G7 countries. However, delivery needs to happen fast so that grids are an enabler, not a bottleneck, for faster RES deployment. 
  • G7 international leadership on power system decarbonisation is at risk from the lack of adequate finance being provided to emerging markets and developing countries. Credibility is further at risk from the disconnect between plans to reduce domestic gas demand in the long term, and a continued push to increase gas supply globally.

Country-specific findings

While the overall score for all G7 countries is either “insufficient” or “unacceptable” (Japan), there are clear differences between countries’ progress. 

France and Canada are first and second on the Scorecard thanks to their ambitious policies supporting system flexibility, energy efficiency, and overall net zero power delivery. Their current power mix is also relatively low in emissions compared to their G7 peers, but more focus on renewables is needed to achieve the 2035 commitment.   

Japan is in last place, well behind its global peers. It still has to start planning to phase out coal, has made insufficient progress on RES integration, and its international leadership is still too focused on promoting technologies that risk extending the lifespan of fossil assets. 

Germany and the UK are in the middle of the pack. They have comprehensive and ambitious policies in some areas, and have already made significant progress on delivery – growing RES share from a much lower clean energy base than France and Canada – and providing international leadership.

The US and Italy scored significantly lower, due to a combination of still having a high share of fossil fuels in the power sector and insufficient policies in place to secure a timely transition.

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.
See the full methodology here

Acknowledgements

The main contributors to this Scorecard (in alphabetical order) were Francesca Andreolli (Italy; Senior Researcher, Energy and Buildings, ECCO Climate), Griffen Ballenger (independent consultant, US), Ysanne Choksey (Germany), Susanna Elks (UK), Michele Governatori (Italy; Power and Gas, ECCO Climate), Hanna Hakko (Japan), Charlotte Liebrecht (France), Yoko Mulholland (Japan), Maria Pastukhova (US, methodology, project oversight), Pieter de Pous (Germany, methodology, project oversight), Juliet Phillips (UK), Oyku Senlen Gundogan (data), Karambir Singh (Canada; Researcher, Pembina Institute), Scott MacDougall (Canada; Director, Electricity Programme, Pembina Institute). 

Hannah Blitzer (Wildlife and Countryside Link) and Rebekka Popp (Klimawirtschaft) contributed to the early draft of the Scorecard while at E3G.

Valuable comments and feedback have been provided by Ed Matthew, Shane Tomlinson, Leo Roberts, Camilla Fenning, Clarence Edwards, Max Gruenig, Alden Meyer, Larissa Gross, Simon Skillings, Luca Bergamaschi (ECCO Climate), Binnu Jeyakumar (PPCA; Powering Past Coal Alliance), Akihisa Kuriyama (IGES; Institute for Global Environmental Strategies), Rena Kuwahata (IEA; International Energy Agency), Yuri Okubo (REI; Renewable Energy Institute), Andreas Rüdinger (IDDRI; Institut du Développement durable et des Relations Internationales), Federico Tassan-Viol (ECCO Climate)

Authors

Ysanne Choksey

Policy Advisor

Susie Elks

Senior Policy Advisor

Hanna Hakko

Senior Associate

Yoko Mulholland

Senior Associate

Maria Pastukhova

Programme Lead

Pieter de Pous

Programme Lead

Juliet Phillips

Programme Lead

Oyku Senlen

Senior Researcher

Ed Matthew

Campaigns Director

Shane Tomlinson

E3G co-CEO

Leo Roberts

Programme Lead

Camilla Fenning

Programme Lead

Clarence Edwards

Executive Director

Max Gruenig

Senior Policy Advisor

Alden Meyer

Senior Associate

Larissa Gross

Programme Lead

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