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World Energy Scenarios 2016

The Grand Transition

Scenarios are plausible and challenging alternative futures. In producing the World Energy Scenarios, the World Energy Council collaborated with Accenture Strategy and the Paul Scherrer Institute to explore likely futures for the Grand Transition – a world of lower population growth, radical new technologies, greater environmental challenges, and a shift in economic and geopolitical power – looking to 2060. The World Energy Scenarios report presents three exploratory scenarios – Modern Jazz, Unfinished Symphony, and Hard Rock – which present three distinct trajectories for the energy sector to 2060, with very different realities across regions.

The three Scenarios at One Glance

Three world energy scenarios 2016

These scenarios provide energy leaders with an open, transparent, and inclusive framework to think about a very uncertain future, and thus assist in the shaping of the choices they make.

Over a period of three years, the scenarios were built by a network of more than 70 members, from over 25 countries, and quantified with a global multi-regional energy system model. Feedback was also gathered at the Council’s Energy Leaders’ Dialogues and at 14 workshops around the world, ensuring the inclusion of key insights from leaders of the industry, politics, economics, environment, technology, and science.

Key Messages

Disruptive trends are emerging that will create a fundamentally new world for the energy industry.

Since 1970, the world has seen rapid growth in energy demand, mainly satisfied by fossil fuels. The future will be different. Disruptive trends are emerging that will create a fundamentally new world for the energy industry, characterised by lower population growth, radical new technologies, greater environmental challenges, and a shift in economic and geopolitical power. These underlying drivers will re-shape the economics of energy. We call this uncertain journey into the new world of energy – The Grand Transition.

Key Messages at one Glance

1 THE WORLD’S PRIMARY ENERGY DEMAND GROWTH will slow and per capita energy demand will peak before 2030 due to unprecedented efficiencies created by new technologies and more stringent energy policies.

2 DEMAND FOR ELECTRICITY will double to 2060. Meeting this demand with cleaner energy sources will require substantial infrastructure investments and systems integration to deliver benefits to all consumers.

3 THE PHENOMENAL RISE OF SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY will continue at an unprecedented rate and create both new opportunities and challenges for energy systems.

4 DEMAND PEAKS FOR COAL AND OIL have the potential to take the world from “Stranded Assets” to “Stranded Resources”.

5 TRANSITIONING GLOBAL TRANSPORT forms one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in an effort to decarbonise future energy systems.

6 LIMITING GLOBAL WARMING to no more than a 2°C increase will require an exceptional and enduring effort, far beyond already pledged commitments, and with very high carbon prices.

7 GLOBAL COOPERATION, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION are needed to balance the Energy Trilemma.

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