World Energy Scenarios | 2019: Exploring Innovation Pathways to 2040
The world of energy is being reshaped by a set of fundamental drivers, which we term the “Grand Transition”. These drivers provide the broader context for determining global energy pathways to 2040.
Since the World Energy Council last published its World Energy Scenarios in 2016, we have experienced three years of comparatively high, carbon-centric energy demand and a marked acceleration in renewable energy developments. A new pattern of geostrategic competition is emerging that is further straining the multilateral system and impacting global trade.
What has changed most, however, is the speed and volatility of changes and unevenness of impacts. Fragmentation and polarisation of leadership and poor economic returns limiting the license to invest for market players are emerging as some of the biggest risks in managing successful energy transition.
Meanwhile, energy leaders are also challenged to make sense of the fast-shifting landscape of innovation and the new spirit of entrepreneurialism in energy. A fresh focus on energy systems innovation and the emerging phenomenon of “disruption-as-usual” is both timely and relevant to energy transition leaders within and beyond the energy sector.
The report, “Exploring Innovation Pathways to 2040,” presents three global storylines to 2040, with supporting systems thinking maps, comparative analysis and regional summaries. It includes a discussion of new insights, reflecting deeper shifts in the energy system innovation landscape, and provides a broader view on “how to use” the scenarios.
The energy system implications of this 2019 scenario-based update include the following
All three World Energy Scenarios have been validated by signals in all regions and are
perceived as more relevant than ever.
Global primary energy demand momentum remain in line with the 2016 scenario modelling,
with per capita energy consumption projected to peak in the 2020s.
Electrification extends to more uses and users, driving decarbonisation rates; however, the question of hard-to-abate sectors and non-electrified uses remains open.
A new mobility revolution, which is dependent on infrastructure, is gathering momentum, with the potential to disrupt the entire energy landscape in the longer term.
Energy efficiency gains are critical to manage energy demand from industrial, residential and commercial sectors and to avoid reducing climate change momentum.
New opportunities are emerging to provide energy-plus services in an increasingly consumer-centric energy system.
Infrastructure innovation and investment, and proactive policies are necessary to secure affordable decarbonisationand socially just energy transitions.
New net-zero carbon technologies pathways (including hydrogen) and carbon abatement mechanisms (including Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS)) emerge and start to scale by 2040.
Achieving Paris Agreement targets remains elusive, with none of the 2019 scenarios meeting the 2°C target agreed to in the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.