A Message from the World Energy Council

As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches most corners of the world, pulling together as a community of deep expertise has never been more important - to share experiences and lessons learned, and better prepare for and shape what comes next. Our role as a credible, responsible and impartial value-adding “global voice” for whole energy system movement has never been more critical.

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Long-Term World Energy Scenarios

Project Partners: Accenture Strategy & the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)

Long-Term World Energy Scenarios

For the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, the Council launched ‘World Energy Scenarios: The Grand Transition’ which recognizes that the energy system is undergoing fundamental changes, shaped by a shifting global context of “the grand transition”. The report presented three scenarios with a time horizon to 2060 – Modern Jazz, Unfinished Symphony and Hard Rock – to support the conversation and negotiation on the climate change agenda:

A market-led, digitally disrupted world with faster-paced and more uneven economic growth. Recent signals suggest that this entrepreneurial future might accelerate clean energy access on both global and local scales, whilst presenting new systems integration, cyber security and data privacy challenges.

A strong, coordinated, policy-led world, with long-term planning and united global action to address connected challenges, including inequitable access and affordable decarbonisation. Recent signals suggest increased activism and commitment to addressing climate change at the sub-national level, and an expansion of the focus from climate change mitigation to a broader, socially inclusive and economically affordable sustainable development agenda.

A fragmented world with inward-looking policies, lower growth and less global cooperation. Recent signals, such as the rise of populist leaders and uncertainty about the outlook for international cooperation, imply that this scenario is also evolving into a story of regionally firmer security foundations rather than total fragmentation and “harder rocks.”

Each storyline describes a plausible future explores what might happen, not what should happen or what we want to happen. Used as a set, these scenarios provide a useful, pre-decision thinking framework to help energy leaders engage with deep uncertainties and anticipate possible energy transition pathways.  

Since the publication in 2016, this scenario framework has been validated by input from the Council’s extensive energy expert member community and annual surveys of energy leaders. The three scenarios are perceived by these experts to be more relevant than ever. Discussion of member input has added interesting nuances to each scenario archetype. For the 24th World Energy Congress in 2019, the Council refreshed its global energy foresight and global scenarios narratives. The focus is on a 2040-time horizon, helping to explore a broader, deeper and fast-shifting landscape and to promote a shared and better understanding of the implications of broader and disruptive innovation for the energy industry.

The focused refresh of the scenarios provides new insights into the broader and fast-shifting landscape of innovation, which is emerging from within and beyond the energy system and includes not only new energy technologies but also non-energy technological innovations and a new spirit of entrepreneurialism in energy. The scenarios redirect energy leaders’ attention to other non-technological innovations such as new consumer behaviours and innovative business models that disrupt existing value chains and can reshape the whole energy system.


Explore the World Energy Council's latest Scenarios Publications below. 

World Energy Scenarios 2019: Exploring Innovation Pathways to 2040
World Energy Scenarios 2019: Exploring Innovation Pathways to 2040

Explores plausible pathways and innovation topping points

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Designing for Disruptions: The New Era for Energy
Designing for Disruptions: The New Era for Energy

Introduces the "Constellation of Distuptions" innovative framwork for explaining the combinatorial effect of changes in technology, society, business and policy.

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World Energy Scenarios 2019: European Perspective
World Energy Scenarios 2019: European Perspective

Looks at the European regional scenarios to 2040.

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World Energy Scenarios 2019: The Future of Nuclear
World Energy Scenarios 2019: The Future of Nuclear

Explores the changing role of nuclear in energy systems in each of the three global scenarios. 

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World Energy Scenarios 2016: The Grand Transition
World Energy Scenarios 2016: The Grand Transition

Explores plausible pathways Modern Jazz, Unfinished Symphony and Hard Rock to 2060.

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The Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) Energy Scenarios
The Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) Energy Scenarios

Examines the future of the regional energy context to 2060 and explore Samba, Tango and Rock stories.

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The Role of Natural Gas (Perspective Report)
The Role of Natural Gas (Perspective Report)

Developed in 2017 with support of the Global Gas Centre (GGC), analyses in greater detail the place of natural gas in the three World Energy Scenarios. 

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Regional Perspective for Sub-Saharan Africa
Regional Perspective for Sub-Saharan Africa

Presents a preliminary set of implications for the Sub-Saharan African region according to each of the World Energy Scenarios. 

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World Energy Insights Brief - Global Energy Scenarios Comparison Review
World Energy Insights Brief - Global Energy Scenarios Comparison Review

A comparison study of global energy scenarios that contrasts different methods, narratives and assumptions of global energy futures initiatives.

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Alternative pathways for Mexico to 2030: exploring business model innovation
Alternative pathways for Mexico to 2030: exploring business model innovation

Uses the World Energy Scenarios to explore the role of business model innovation in promoting the sustainable use of energy for all in national context. 

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