World Energy Scenarios

Composing energy futures to 2050

Project Partner: Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland

About the Scenarios Work Programme:

The WEC has initiated an open, inclusive and transparent process to derive a set of energy scenarios to 2050. Rather than telling policymakers and senior energy leaders what to do, in order to achieve a specific policy goal, the WEC’s World Energy Scenarios allow them to test the key assumptions that they decide to make to shape the energy of tomorrow. Investors can use this tool to assess which are likely to be the most dynamic areas and real game-changers of tomorrow. The latest three-year study called World Energy Scenarios: Composing Energy Futures to 2050 was released in October 2013. Conducted by over 60 experts from nearly 30 countries, with modeling provided by WEC’s project partner, the Paul Scherrer Institute, the study has developed two realistic scenario stories using an explorative approach rather than the more commonly used normative, methodology: the more consumer-driven Jazz scenario and the more voter-driven Symphony scenario. These scenarios allow energy decision makers to assess what is actually happening in the world now and gauge what will happen in the future including the real impact of today’s choices on tomorrow’s energy landscape.

About the WEC World Energy Scenario Stories

“These scenarios aim to change the way energy decision makers consider the choices they make in understanding the real impact of their actions in the long term.”


As an energy scenario, Jazz has a focus on energy equity with priority given to achieving individual access and affordability of energy through economic growth.


Jazz is a style of music, characterised by a strong but flexible rhythmic structure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes and chord patterns. In Jazz, musicians have freedom to take the lead and improvise; others in the band will often follow.


As an energy scenario, Symphony has a focus on achieving environmental sustainability through internationally coordinated policies and practices.


A Symphony is a complex piece of music with a fixed structure composed to be played by a symphony orchestra. The orchestra will have a conductor and 80 or so orchestra members will each have a specific role to play and score to follow.

2014 Programme

The next phase of the WEC’s Scenario Study Group entails more detailed regional scenario studies in the Latin America Caribbean and Africa regions. The energy-water-food (EWF) nexus, with special focus on bioenergy and hydro, and energy access will be explored and used as input to refine the WEC/PSI energy model. This will provide updated and more detailed quantification information of the scenarios.

To ensure consistency and increase the power of its coherent approach, the WEC links the work on its World Energy Scenarios with its World Energy Trilemma study, and by using the insights gathered for its World Energy Resources and World Energy Perspectives.

The results will be released during the WEC’s annual Executive Assembly, to be held in October 2014 in Cartagena, Colombia.

More about the WEC’s scenarios

The WEC’s scenarios at a glance

The Stories behind Jazz and Symphony


The WEC’s scenarios findings

Energy landscape in 2050

The energy landscape we expect to see in 2050 will be quite different from how it looks today. Meeting future energy demand will be a key challenge.

  • The world’s population will increase from approximately 7 billion in 2013 to approximately 8.7 billion in the Jazz scenario and approximately 9.4 billion in the Symphony scenario in 2050, which is equal to a 26% increase (36% respectively).
  • The GDP per capita will also increase from slightly more than 9,000 US$2010 on average globally (US$2010 MER) in 2010 to approximately 23,000 US$2010 in Jazz and about 18,000 US$2010 in Symphony in 2050. This represents an increase by 153% and 100%, respectively.
  • Mobility will also increase, with car ownership in terms of cars per 1000 people increasing from 124 in 2010 to 244 in 2050 in Jazz and 193 in Symphony. This equates to an increase by 98% and 57% respectively.

Gerald (Ged) Davis, Chair of the World Energy Scenario Study Group
Gerald (Ged) Davis Executive Chair WEC Scenatios

Gerald (Ged) Davis is the Executive Chair of the World Energy Scenarios flagship study.

Ged is also the President and CEO of Forescene S.A., and has led a large number of future-oriented projects during his career. He is experienced in global business, energy and sustainability, dealing with all regions of the world over the last 40 years, managing large teams, coordinating world-wide networks and designing and implementing large events. He is particularly knowledgeable on energy matters and has been a pioneer in applying sustainability concepts to the energy business and developing the use of global scenarios.

“The World Energy Council’s forward-looking studies provide a unique opportunity to synthesise insights gained from WEC participant organisations, and the many studies undertaken by the WEC, especially the energy resources and trilemma policy reports. The strategic exploration of these scenarios by governments, business and other stakeholders provides new options for moving both local and global agendas forward.”

Ged was Co-President of the Global Energy Assessment Council, which governed a network of some 300 energy researchers and 200 reviewers. He was a Managing Director of the World Economic Forum from 2003 to 2007 and conceived, developed and successfully implemented a world class Strategic Insights program to underpin the Forum’s partnership activities. He was Vice President of Global Business Environment at Shell International from 1999 to 2003, and head of Shell’s scenario planning team. He holds a first class degree in mining engineering from Imperial College, London, and postgraduate degrees in economics and engineering from the London School of Economics and Stanford University.

For further information, contact Christoph Menzel, Project Manager Scenarios & Resources.

Email Christoph Menzel