Economic growth engines are also becoming net-zero accelerators
GLASGOW; Nov. 3, 2021 – As more than 200 countries gathered at COP26 commit to greater greenhouse gas emissions reductions, there is an urgent need to deliver on these pledges. To help the global economy reach near net-zero emissions by mid-century, the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is launching a new initiative, “Transitioning Industrial Clusters Towards Net Zero.”
This initiative aims to create a global movement to accelerate the transformation of industrial clusters needed for net-zero emissions. Industrial clusters are geographic regions comprised of co-located energy supply and demand companies. Industrial clusters account for approximately 15% to 20% of global CO2 emissions, making them an attractive target for impactful emissions reductions.
While there are many approaches to reducing industrial emissions, most focus on specific sectors, such as the decarbonization of steel, shipping and cement, or technological approaches such as electrification or hydrogen substitution. These efforts are critical. However, there is also a need and an opportunity to take an integrated approach to the decarbonization challenge. Industrial clusters are where sector-specific decarbonization efforts and clean energy technology deployment efforts converge to enable a systemic approach towards net-zero emissions.
The initiative aims to have more than 100 industrial clusters engaged by 2024. Four clusters from Australia, the UK and Spain have already joined with a collective CO2 emissions reduction profile of approximately 30 million tonnes – equivalent to that of Denmark:
- Kwinana, Australia [https://kic.org.au/]
- Hynet, UK [https://hynet.co.uk/]
- Zero Carbon Humber, UK [https://www.zerocarbonhumber.co.uk/]
- Basque, Spain [https://www.irekia.euskadi.eus/en/news/72753-industria-euskadi-compromete-alcanzar-cero-emisiones-netas-unira-cop26-glasgow-alianza-global-wef]
“Clusters are considered economic growth engines,” said Louise Anderson, electricity industry manager at World Economic Forum. “Historically, companies have co-located to take advantage of resource and logistic sharing, as well as access to infrastructure. This physical co-location can be leveraged to significantly reduce the emissions in industrial clusters, even enabling a transformation towards net-zero emissions.”
Melissa Stark, global renewables and energy transition lead at Accenture, said, “To reach a net-zero future while delivering business value and sustainable impact, industrial clusters are combining efforts to improve outcomes across the economy, the environment, society and the energy system. For example, the UK hopes to secure 1.5 million jobs through the development of four net-zero industrial clusters and can also see between £3 billion-4 billion pounds of potential savings per year by 2050 through avoided CO2 penalties.”
“Accelerating the development of industrial net-zero clusters today could play a significant role in reaching global net-zero emissions in the decades ahead,” said Arshad Mansoor president and CEO of EPRI. “Developing just 10 U.S. net-zero industrial clusters with similar CO2 -reduction profiles as the Humber project could reduce U.S. carbon emissions by approximately 10 percent. A rising tide lifts all boats, and these co-located energy sources will help one another—and our planet—towards a brighter, cleaner energy future.”
To learn more or to participate in our ‘Transitioning industrial clusters towards net zero’ initiative, visit https://www.weforum.org/projects/industrial-clusters
Accenture helps organizations across the utilities value chain embrace change to accelerate growth and the energy transition while providing safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy. To learn more, visit Accenture’s Utilities industry portal.
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The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery, and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, non-profit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety, and the environment. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.
About World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).
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