December 30, 2022

Net-Zero Report Highlights Decarbonization Pathways for Five Countries

Multi-laboratory effort explores routes to decarbonization

Photograph of wind turbines in a warm colored haze

A collaborative report presents initial modeling studies for five partner countries.

Meeting ambitious climate goals requires a wide range of solutions. One important component is countries reaching net-zero carbon emissions through a range of technical investment pathways. A collaborative report from four Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories, co-led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), summarized initial modeling studies of energy trajectories and systems for five countries.

These countries are partners in the Net Zero World (NZW) Initiative, a DOE-led effort that includes nine U.S. government agencies. The initiative is DOE’s flagship program in support of the multi-national Build Back Better World partnership. The program aims to accelerate the global transition to net-zero emissions while enhancing economic prosperity across the globe.

The report launched at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). The initial report focuses on five founding country partners: Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The report was presented at COP27 by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and representatives from all five countries.

In her opening remarks on the Net Zero World Initiative, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said, “This is the Department of Energy’s signature effort to marshal a broad array of U.S. government resources from nine federal agencies, 10 national laboratories, with support from academia, philanthropic communities, and the private sector. All the work in collaboration with countries that want to achieve their climate ambitions. To work with them, and to move from ambition to action.”

Michael Kintner-Meyer, an electrical engineer at PNNL, served as the co-leader of the report. He also coordinated the preparation of executive summaries for the different countries studied. Each summary highlights partners within each country, the general modeling approach, and specific results from this initial round of modeling.

For example, a key pathway for reducing carbon emissions from Argentina is incorporating solar and wind power into the electric grid. In Chile, accelerating energy efficiency improvements, electrification, and zero-carbon fuel adoption could have a major effect on the country’s carbon output. These examples from different countries in a similar region of the world demonstrate the importance of a country-specific modeling approach.

An important aspect of this project is its collaboration with partner organizations within each country. This engagement helps more efficiently and effectively identify critical technological and policy opportunities for reaching net-zero emissions. The NZW Initiative is also focused on mobilizing investments for clean energy technologies, modeling, and analysis capacities in member countries.

PNNL provided the majority of the integrated energy/economy system modeling for the five countries. The report features results from Phase I modeling. Deeper Phase II future work has been planned in collaboration with each partner country. This program will also expand as the number of partner countries in the NZW Initiative increases.

PNNL contributors to the report were Michael Kintner-Meyer, Paelina DeStephano, Siddarth Durga, Meredydd Evans, Zarrar Khan, Page Kyle, Haewon McJeon, Michael Westphal, and Sha Yu. The report was prepared in collaboration with researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.