Understanding Constraints to the Transformation Rate of Global Energy Infrastructure

Joe L. Lane, Simon Smart, Diego Schmeda-Lopez, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Andrew Garnett, Chris Greig, Eric McFarland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A massive transformation of the global energy supply system is required if deep reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions are to be achieved. This chapter focuses on physical limitations of electricity generation, specifically around the timing and scale of retiring and/or replacing coal-fired power generation capacity to meet the International Energy Agency’s (IEAs) two-degree scenario. It explores the aspects of the challenges involved with rapidly transforming global power production. The chapter describes the important elements to the transformation of the global energy supply system using the IEA forecasts as a guide. If the current boom in coal power plant construction continues more rapidly than allowed for in the IEA forecasts, then the overall scale (and rate) of coal-plant decommissioning in future years would necessarily be larger. Understanding achievable rates of energy system transitions is fundamental to developing meaningful energy and climate-change policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Energy Systems
Subtitle of host publicationThe Large-scale Renewable Energy Integration Challenge
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119508311
ISBN (Print)9781119508281
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Energy
  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


  • coal power plant
  • electricity generation limitations
  • energy system transitions
  • global energy supply system
  • International Energy Agency forecast


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