Energy Policy Scenarios to 2050
1.1. Objectives of the Study
So much has changed in the world of energy since WEC last prepared scenarios in the 1990s. While these were updated at the turn of the century to take into account new assumptions about population, the prices of oil and gas, climate change, and technology developments, it became apparent that the real issues today are the emergence of massive new energy demand in China and India, the market power of fewer and fewer large suppliers of oil and natural gas, the shift to generally higher energy prices worldwide, the role of government policy and regulation in determining the energy mix and the value of carbon, and the regionalisation of energy markets which require harmonised standards and regulations.
The Terms of Reference for this study contain three analytical elements, explained in more detail below. The study's basic scope is to evaluate the impact of four possible scenarios on the fulfillment of the WEC 3 A's of Accessibility, Availability, and Acceptability as defined in Section 2. The three analytical elements are:
Two axes that characterise the nature of the policy landscape. These are high or low engagement by governments, and high or low cooperation and integration among nations and regions, and among the public and private sectors.
Four scenarios that overlap through the development of these two axes.
A number of energy sector metrics that assist in understanding the details of the long-term physical energy landscape.
The key challenge facing governments, business, and society at large is summarised in Figure 1-1). Average energy consumption per capita is shown for the nations of the world today (plotted as cumulative population), keeping in mind another one billion people (approximately) have no recorded energy use. To allow everyone in the world to attain just the energy use per person of Poland today, or about 100 GJ/capita, would require about twice the amount of energy the entire world already uses today, assuming that people who are already above Poland's level maintain their current energy use per capita. To achieve the level of Russia's energy use today (~200 GJ/capita), more than three times as much energy is required over what is used today.
Where will this energy come from? How will it be used? What will it cost? What are the ancillary impacts? These are profound questions that policymakers have to address, and soon.