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Workers erect a steel tower at the 220kV line project in Jiangsu Province, China, on October 16th, 2023. | Photo by Costfoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Governments and utilities need to add or replace the equivalent of virtually all the world’s power grids by 2040 to reliably keep the lights on while cleaning up pollution from the power sector. That’s 80 million kilometers (nearly 50 million miles) of infrastructure that needs a major upgrade, according to a first-of-its-kind report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today.

Without that overhaul, countries risk missing their climate goals and worsening climate-related disasters like storms and fires that are already walloping power grids. Today’s aging grids are often teetering on the edge of power shortages, something that could become an even bigger problem as homes, buildings, and transportation go all-electric.


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