World Energy Scenarios


Project Partner: Accenture Strategy & Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)

About the Scenarios Work Programme:

The World Energy Council has initiated an open, inclusive and transparent process to derive a set of energy scenarios to 2060. Rather than telling policymakers and senior energy leaders what to do, in order to achieve a specific policy goal, the Council’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: THE GRAND TRANSITION was released in October 2016 at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul.

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.

The study has developed three realistic scenario stories using an explorative approach rather than the more commonly used normative, methodology:

The three scenarios developed are Modern Jazz, which represents a ‘digitally disrupted,’ innovative, and market-driven world. Unfinished Symphony, a world in which more ‘intelligent’ and sustainable economic growth models emerge as the world drives to a low carbon future, and a more fragmented scenario called Hard Rock, which explores the consequences of weaker and unsustainable economic growth with inward-looking policies.

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 impact of today’s choices on tomorrow’s energy landscape.

About the World Energy Scenario Stories

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.

World Energy Scenarios at glance

Modern Jazz in 2060 is a world with a diverse set of resilient and lower-carbon energy systems. A highly complex and competitive market landscape drives efficiency, innovation, open access to information and rapid deployment of new technologies.

Unfinished Symphony by 2060, the world is “ticking on the same clock” and has shifted to a resilient, integrated, global low-carbon energy system. There is global unified action on security, environmental and economic issues, and global institutional and national governments support enabling technologies.

Hard Rock in 2060 is a fractured world, with a diverse set of economic, energy and sustainability outcomes. Nationalist interests prevent countries from collaborating effectively on a global level, with limited attention to addressing climate change. Technologies are mandated based on availability of local resources.

The Grand Transition - Key findings

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

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.

INNOVATION are needed to balance the Energy Trilemma.

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 participant organisations, and the many studies undertaken by the Council, especially the World Energy Resources and World Energy 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 more information, please Email Anastasia Belostotskaya