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Rapid Switch wording


Rapid Switch is a solutions-focused, international research effort that aims to identify a realistic pace and pathways for decarbonizing the world, sector by sector, and region by region.

Led by Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for the Energy and the Environment, the research network seeks to identify viable decarbonization opportunities using existing technologies while acknowledging regional technological, social, political, and economic constraints. In a series of reports, the researchers will identify roadblocks and unintended consequences that could slow the deployment and scale up of more sustainable technologies with an eye to address these potential bottlenecks before they arise.

  • How can governments manage the socio-economic challenge of prematurely retiring more than 1,000 gigawatts of coal-fired generation in developing countries?

  • What technological and market design challenges emerge with very high penetrations of variable energy generation?

  • How do we fast-track investment decision-making processes to accelerate deep decarbonization without exacerbating investment risk?

  • What are the costs and risks of integrating very high levels of wind and solar energy into national grids?

  • What supply chain constraints will be experienced with unprecedented global deployment of wind, solar, and batteries?

  • Will communities accept the visual aesthetic of unprecedented deployment of wind and solar farms and transmission infrastructure?

  • Will social norms rapidly evolve to prioritize climate goals in consumer purchase choices, from smart meters and energy-efficient appliances to electric vehicles?

  • How rapidly can CO2 storage reserves be expanded to support global expectations for carbon capture and storage?

the approach

“Many previous climate strategies have focused on the critical goal of keeping the planet below a certain degree of warming and working backwards to generate scenarios for decarbonization. We’re starting with the technologies and the realities on the ground now and asking how rapidly we can effect a transition. Then we can ask: How close does that get us to the climate goals, and what can we do to get there faster?”

 — Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

What distinguishes Rapid Switch?


Focus on transition pace

Deep local collaboration globally

the people

Rapid Switch Team
Teams based at universities and think tanks in India, China, U.S., Australia and Europe are collaborating to deliver a series of special reports, white papers and scholarly publications geared toward policy and business decision-makers and investors.

the research

How quickly can the world transition to sustainable energy systems? The research maintains a strategic focus on high-emitting and high-growth countries to identify upcoming challenges and opportunities for low-carbon transitions.


This page provides sections for relevant resources including a rundown of news updates, links to slide presentations and datasets, relevant websites, and more. Some of these services are not public and require a login.

“The intensive collaboration with local stakeholders and decision-makers and the laser-sharp focus on transition scale and pace set this project apart.”

– Chris Greig, Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Senior Research Scientist at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

connect with us

We are a multi-institutional team looking to engage with stakeholders across sectors. Connect with our project leaders and researchers to help make the Rapid Switch.