Global Energy Scenarios with the World Energy Council (WEC)

In 2011, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the World Energy Council (WEC) established a Partnership to develop jointly global energy scenarios with the aim to improve understanding of options for responding to global energy-related challenges confronting society (such as, improving access to affordable energy for economic development; reducing environmental impacts of energy use; and maintaining energy security). The development of these scenarios is unique in bringing together a broad range of expert views of energy industry stakeholders from WEC with the strong academic energy systems background of PSI.

These scenario are developed through a multi-stakeholder process to envisage different trajectories of the energy system and define comprehensive narrative storylines. These are translated into a coherent set of quantitative scenario assumptions which are then analyzed with a comprehensive energy system model, called GMM (the Global Multi-regional MARKAL model). GMM provides a detailed bottom-up representation of energy technologies, of primary resources for energy carriers, and of the energy end-use sectors. The scenario quantification with GMM provides a deeper insight into the implications of different scenario storylines, allowing the identification of robust trends and of key drivers of the energy system to support understanding of different options for decision makers.

In the first stage of this project, the mobility sector was analyzed with a global 15-region model and two scenarios: "Freeway" describing a world of limited government intervention dominated by shorter-term free-market forces; and "Tollway" envisaging a world where markets are more regulated and alternative technologies are supported by decision makers. For more information on these scenarios, see the publication of the study below. In the second stage of the project, the scenario analysis has been further developed and extended to cover the entire global energy system. The results of this second stage are summarized in the latest Energie-Spiegel ("Mirror on Energy") (in English, in German), and in the various publications on the WEC website.

Comparison of Global Energy Scenarios

In order to put the WEC-PSI scenarios in perspective, some of their key characteristics are compared to the other recent global scenario studies here.

Press Releases

  • 14 October, 2013: A glimpse at the future of global energy supply. PSI Media Release. English
  • 27 January, 2012: Kein Blick in die Kristallkugel. PSI Media Release. German

Relevant publications

Davis, G., S. Kim, T. Kober, and E. Panos (2017). Latin America and The Caribbean Energy Scenarios, Vol. World Energy Council. London, Download

Davis, G., Vargas, M., Kober, T., Panos, E., Volkart, K. et al. (2016). World Energy Scenarios - The Grand Transition, Project Partner Accenture Strategy and Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). World Energy Council, London, ISBN 978-0-946121-57-1

Panos E., Densing M., Volkart K. (2016). Access to electricity in the World Energy Council's global energy scenarios: An outlook for developing regions until 2030, Energy Strategy Reviews, Vol. 9, pp. 28-49, Elsevier doi:10.1016/j.esr.2015.11.003

Panos E., Turton H., Densing M., Volkart K. (2015). Powering the growth of Sub-Saharan Africa: The Jazz and Symphony scenarios of World Energy Council, Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol. 26, pp. 14-33, Elsevier doi:10.1016/j.esd.2015.01.004 ISSN 0973-0826

Campbell D., Densing M., Panos E., et al. (2015). New Zealand Energy Scenarios – Navigating energy futures to 2050, World Energy Council, BusinessNZ Energy Council. Project Partners: Paul Scherrer Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sapere Research Group. full report project webpage

Frei C., Turton H., Densing M., Panos E., Volkart K. et al. (2013). World Energy Scenarios – Composing energy futures to 2050, Project Partner Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland. World Energy Council, London, ISBN 978-0-946121-33-5

Laboratory for Energy Analysis (2013). A glimpse into the future, Energie-Spiegel Nr. 22, Paul Scherrer Institute, English (2.4MB), German (2.5MB)

Turton H., Panos E., Densing M., Volkart K. (2013). Global Multi-regional MARKAL (GMM) model update: Disaggregation to 15 regions and 2010 recalibration, PSI Bericht 13-03, Download (4MB)