By Wind Europe, 2017

WindEurope updates its capacity scenarios to 2030 every two years to reflect the latest market and policy developments in the EU. This involves surveying industry experts in every Member State and analysing the potential conditions that would determine the deployment of wind energy, including repowered capacity, in the post-2020 period. This report describes three possible scenarios for wind energy capacity installations in 2030. It also highlights the impact of each scenario and recommends the policy and other measures that are needed to deliver the scenarios and sustain Europe’s technological leadership in wind.

Distelkamp, M., Meyer, B., Meyer, M. (2010).

Summary Report of Task 5 within the framework of the “Material Efficiency and Resource Conservation” (MaRess) Project


What are the economic effects of a forced policy to taise resource efficiency? Which interrelations have to be considered in the macroeconomic context concerning the impacts of different policy instruments? Is a decoupling of economic growth and resource consumption possible in the long run? These are the questions that Task 5 has to answer.

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By Jacques de Jong & Ed Weeda (2007).

Energy policy is rich in emotion and diverse political and economic interests. Thus the journey towards establishing and implementing and integrated European energy policy has been and still is a cumbersome one. This paper seeks to explore some of the conditions under wich energy policy could be formulated in and by the EU over the next 40 years or so.

The development of energy policy at the EU level is adressed from a wider historical perspective, taking into account a number factors that influence both the EU project and its energy supply security. 

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By International Energy Agency, 2009

WEO-2009 sets out, for key countries and regions (including the United States, Japan, the European Union, Russia, China and India), the energy transformation that each might undertake, sector by sector, if the world were to adopt a 450 ppm trajectory. It also describes the current trends in energy use and emissions in a fully updated Reference Scenario, detailing the implications of current policies and taking into account the global financial and economic crisis.

Reference Scenario. This scenario shows how global energy markets would evolve if governments make no change to their exisiting policies. It takes account of government policies and measures enacted or adoptedby mid-2009. Under this scenario, in the absence of new initiatives to tackle climate change, rising global fossil fuel use increases energy-related CO2 emissions from 29 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2007 to over 40 Gt in 2030 and contributes to the deterioration of ambient air quality with serious public health and environmental effects. Such a scenario would result, according to IEA analysis, in a concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of around 1 000 ppm in the long term.

450 Scenario. This scenario analyses measures in the energy sector which might be taken in order to fulfil a coordinated global commitment with the ultimate aim of stabilising the concentration of greenhouse gas-emissions in the atmosphere at 450 ppm CO2 equivalent. This level of concentration is expected to give rise to a global temperature increase of 2C. The 450 scenario also reflects a plausible set of commitments and policies which could emerge from the climate-change negotiations in the period through to 2020. The scenario entails USD 10.5 trillion more investment in energy infrastructure and energy-related capital stock globally than in the reference scenario. (USD 4.7 trillion in transport; USD 2.5 trillion in buildings; USD 1.7 trillion in power plants; USD 1.1 trillion in industry; USD 0.4 trillion in biofuel production.) These costs are at least partly offset by economic, health and energy-security benefits.

Under the 450 scenario. Global energy-related CO2 emissions peak at 30.9 Gt just before 2020 and decline thereafter to 26.4 Gt in 2030. Primary energy demand grows by 20 % between 2007 and 2030, which corresponds to an annual growth rate of 0.8 %. The average emissions intensity of new cars is reduced by more than half, and their oil needs fall. The share of non-fossil fuels in the overall primary energy mix increases from 19 % in 2007 to 32 % in 2030, when CO2 emissions per unit of GDP are less than half their 2007 level. Fossil fuels nonetheless remain the dominant energy sources in 2030. End-use efficiency accounts for more than half the total saving in energy emissions and power-generation accounts for more than two-thirds of the savings. By 2030, transport demand for oil is cut by 12 million barrels per day, which equals more than 70 % of oil savings.

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ESPON, 2010

This project focuses on opportunities to support competitive and clean energy supplies for regions in Europe and to generate and strengthen sustainable energy sources. It delivers future-oriented territorial evidence on the impact of rising energy prices on the competitiveness of European regions as well as on cohesion in Europe in a long-term perspective.

  • Green High Tech. This scenario assumes a quick development of renewable energy sources, both large and small-scale, in which the regions gain greater influence on energy policy. In this scenario, regions can specialize on certain types of renewable energy production and will win from cooperation and shared networks.
  • Energy-efficient Europe. This scenario assumes a greater use of natural gas by 2030, while trying to keep Europe’s energy dependency within limits through important efficiency gains in all sectors and a move towards more regionalized economies. In this situation, regions that depend on gas supplies from one producer region only, will have to deal with a higher risk of supply interruptions, but economic development will probably follow a fairly balanced and more sustainable path.
  • Nuclear Energy for Big Regions. This scenario assumes that the power sector will remain highly centralized, since few players are able to carry out the needed investment. The logical consequence would be to “go electric” both in industry and transport, but these decisions will be little influenced by local and regional policy makers.
  • Business as usual? In this scenario, only a moderate transition to renewable energy sources has taken place. Energy systems are dominated by centralised solutions and coal use for electricity generation has increased. Central Asian, Russian and Arctic gas deposits have become increasingly important for Europe’s energy supply. This has meant major capital investments in natural gas pipelines and storage. The construction and operating costs associated with nuclear power, the public concerns about waste storage, insecure uranium supply, and security concerns have all contributed to the phase-out of nuclear energy programmes.

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World Economic Forum, 2010

The Winners and the Rest: This is a world in which high global growth delays the financial consequences of the growing demographic crisis. Despite growing liabilities from ageing populations, most governments are able to maintain scaled-back versions of existing social security systems, which they do as a matter of political expediency. However amid growing inequality and underinvestment in the public sector, such systems are seen as increasingly inadequate by those forced by low incomes to rely on them, creating a conflict-ridden climate of “The Winners and the Rest” on a global scale.

Global context:

  • Emerging economies drive strong global growth, averaging 4.5% to 2030
  • Robust capital markets provide consistently solid returns
  • Diverging returns on capital and labour lead to burgeoning inequality
  • Resentment grows due to rising income and wealth inequality between the highly educated and the less educated
  • Broad societal support for a capitalistic model with a strong focus on individual responsibility and grasping economic opportunities exists

Pensions and healthcare in general

  • Tax-rich governments repeatedly postpone fundamental pension system reforms, supported by strong economic growth
  • Public social security in many developed countries is considered as a (bare) minimum safety net; the well off focus on private market pension and healthcare solutions
  • The gap in sophistication between public and private healthcare grows; new medical technologies are aimed primarily at high earners
  • Unskilled workers and poorer countries see few improvements in pension and healthcare, in both quality and coverage

We Are in This Together: This is a world distinguished by a concerted effort on behalf of leaders and electorates to rein in growing inequality and reassert the idea of collective responsibility and accountability for social services. In this world, growth is moderate, but lower-than expected returns on capital are compensated for by an emphasis on finding innovative, efficient and inclusive ways to manage the financial implications of the demographic shift, including family and community-based solutions.

Global context:

  • Global downturn in early 2010s provokes a backlash against extreme income and wealth inequality
  • Global economic growth averages 3% to 2030
  • Global sentiment of solidarity and togetherness as opposed to individualism develops
  • Strong focus on intergenerational equity is apparent
  • The effects of climate change and a pandemic demonstrate global interdependence
  • International action simplifies and increases harmonization in tax and pension systems
  • E-government and Internet activism fuel resurgence of local civic engagement
  • Developed countries step up structural aid to tackle world poverty

Pensions and healthcare in general:

  • In developed countries, pension and healthcare reforms are enacted in the name of sustainable, adequate security for all
  • International cooperation helps manage effects of ageing societies, e.g. migration and macro-swaps
  • Back-to-basics health approach emphasizes prevention and healthcare effectiveness
  • Medical improvements focus on mass market
  • Governments focus on enabling community-based care
  • Many developing countries implement pension and healthcare reforms, yet lack the financial means to significantly improve coverage and quality
  • Public-private initiatives extend pensions and healthcare coverage to the poor

You Are on Your Own: This is a world in which an economic recession is prolonged in the early 2010s, causing fiscal difficulties for most state-funded pension and health systems. Individual responsibility is forced upon many people by the failure of existing social security systems under extreme financial pressure. Struggling to borrow or raise taxes sufficiently, many governments take aggressive measures to push healthcare and pension liabilities onto individuals and the private sector, maintaining only an absolutely minimal role in social security provision for the very needy.

Global context:

  • Prolonged recession and stagflation hit public finances
  • Financial crises and serious natural resource constraints hold growth to approximately 2% into the 2020s
  • Governments take aggressive action to reduce public spending and reluctantly adopt a “social security provider of the last resort” approach
  • Liberalizing reforms leave many people resentful
  • In late 2020s, growth recovers as the benefits of liberalization kick in
  • Younger people adopt aggressively self-reliant mindset and take strong individual responsibility for finance and health

Pensions and healthcare in general:

  • State-funded, universal care systems end in many countries; governments focus on minimal social security for the most needy only
  • The traditional concept of “retirement” is replaced by the “lifestyle planning” paradigm. Many people remain employed/active in their 70s and beyond
  • Children of baby boomers are considered the “lost generation” as they must finance their own pensions and those of the previous generation
  • Strong focus on financial and health education empowers people to take individual responsibility
  • Despite efforts, quality of basic public healthcare systems steadily deteriorates
  • Private healthcare becomes an “expensive necessity” and oversubscribed; the focus on prevention becomes strong

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OECD and International Energy Agency, 2003

The scenarios are differentiated on the bases of two variables: pace of technological change and attitudes towards the global environment. With each variable characterised by a "high" and "low" level, four different scenarios are derived. Assuming the reference case is technology and environmental awareness that proceed along current paths, three additional cases can be analysed: the high environment, low technology case (referred to as "Clean but not sparkling"), the high technology but low environmental case (called "Dynamic but careless"), and the high technology and high environment case, referred to as "Bright skies".

  • Clean, but not Sparkling. This scenario is characterised by a strong concern for the global environment by both the public and policymakers but a relatively slow rate of technological change. Contrary to a common wisdom for which strong pro–environment policies would lead to a rapid development of environmental friendly technologies, a number of other factors could put such an outcome at risk. In this scenario a combination of pessimistic perceptions about technology and overzealous policy intervention do not allow for the full potential of technological development to be released. Furthermore, insufficient investment in R&D or failure of these research efforts to produce results leads to limited technological progress. As in this scenario technologies fail to deliver, environmental goals are largely met through induced changes in behaviour, and likely only at rather high costs.
  • Dynamic but Careless. This scenario is characterised by very dynamic technological change, low priority for climate change mitigation and a generalised belief that sustained growth and rapid progress in technologies will take care of all problems without need for much policy intervention. As a corollary, this scenario has more rapid economic growth than the first one, including more open but less regulated markets. Unhindered economic growth is the main priority, shared by developed and developing countries alike. However, not all countries are able to achieve fast growth rates and some lag behind. Global threats such as climate change take a back seat in the concerns of both citizens and politicians. Although energy represents a relatively small share of production inputs or household spending, low energy prices and security of supply are considered an important condition for economic growth. At the beginning, progress is faster in fossil fuel based technologies, helping to maintain low prices. In both developed and developing countries local environmental problems are not ignored but are dealt with at the local level and consistently with the economic resources of the affected communities or individually through pollution impact averting behaviour. As a consequence of these initial conditions, fossil fuel demand grows rapidly, followed by an increase in GHG emissions. These two factors increase the likelihood of energy security of supply crises and worsening environmental conditions. To deal with security of supply, and in the continuous quest for low energy costs the system accelerates the development of new technologies. While the first phase of this scenario is therefore heavily oriented towards fossil fuel-based technologies, in the second part of the scenario horizon, non-fossil technologies emerge too.
  • Bright Skies. This scenario is characterised by both rapid technological change and strong concern for the global environment by both the public and policymakers. Other features of this scenario include a (global) GDP growth rate somewhere in between the first two cases but closer to the second, robust trade and market liberalisation trends, a narrowing down of income differences across regions and countries. As a result, overall, energy prices will be somewhat higher than in the second scenario but lower than in the first. In this scenario, governments of developed countries agree to deal with the threat of climate change in a co-ordinated fashion and to take action to slow down and reverse current trends in GHG emissions. In due time they are joined in this process by developing countries, who agree to take increasingly stringent commitments for GHG emission control and reduction. Domestically, developed country governments set out to design and implement policies that will, on the one hand, encourage a reduction of energy-related GHG emissions and, on the other, channel both government and private resources towards development of new technologies for climate change mitigation. These efforts produce a host of positive technological outcomes, which allow the attainment of environmental goals, and also enhance energy security while keeping prices relatively low.

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Shell International, 2008

To help think about the future of energy, we have developed two scenarios that describe alternative ways it may develop. In the first scenario – called Scramble – policymakers pay little attention to more efficient energy use until supplies are tight. Likewise, greenhouse gas emissions are not seriously addressed until there are major climate shocks. In the second scenario – Blueprints – growing local actions begin to address the challenges of economic development, energy security and environmental pollution. A price is applied to a critical mass of emissions giving a huge stimulus to the development of clean energy technologies, such as carbon dioxide capture and storage, and energy efficiency measures. The result is far lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Scramble Scenario

Scramble reflects a focus on national energy security. Immediate pressures drive decision-makers, especially the need to secure energy supply in the near future for themselves and their allies.  National government attention naturally falls on the supply-side levers readily to hand, including the negotiation of bilateral agreements and incentives for local resource development.  Growth in coal and biofuels becomes particularly significant. Despite increasing rhetoric, action to address climate change and encourage energy efficiency is pushed into the future, leading to largely sequential attention to supply, demand and climate stresses. Demand-side policy is not pursued meaningfully until supply limitations are acute. Likewise, environmental policy is not seriously addressed until major climate events stimulate political responses. Events drive late, but severe, responses to emerging pressures that result in energy price spikes and volatility. This leads to a temporary slowdown within an overall story of strong economic growth.Although the rate of growth of atmospheric CO2 has been moderated by the end of the period, the concentration is on a path to a long-term level well above 550 ppm. An increasing fraction of economic activity and innovation is ultimately directed towards preparing for the impact of climate change. - Fear and security- Fight into coal- The next green revolution- Solutions are very rarely without drawbacks- The bumpy road to climate change- Necessity – the mother of invention

Blueprints Scenario

Blueprints scenario describes the dynamics behind new coalitions of interests. These do not necessarily reflect uniform objectives, but build on a combination of supply concerns, environmental interests, and associated entrepreneurial opportunities. It is a world where broader fears about life style and economic prospects forge new alliances that promote action in both developed and developing nations. This leads to the emergence of a critical mass of parallel responses to supply, demand, and climate stresses, and hence the relative promptness of some of those responses. This is not driven by global altruism. Initiatives first take root locally as individual cities or regions take the lead. These become progressively linked as national governments are forced to harmonise resulting patchworks of measures and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by these emerging political initiatives. Indeed, even the prospect of a patchwork of different policies drives businesses to lobby for regulatory clarity.As a result, effective market-driven demand-side efficiency measures emerge more quickly, and market-driven CO2 management practices spread. Carbon trading markets become more efficient, and CO2 prices strengthen early. Energy efficiency improvements and the emergence of mass-market electric vehicles are accelerated. The rate of growth of atmospheric CO2 is constrained leading to a more sustainable environmental pathway. - Starting at the grassroots- Paths to alignment- Developments benefit the energy poor- Both disaggregation and integration- Blueprints for climate change responses.

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European Commission
Directorate-General for Research, 2006.

The WETO-H2 study has developed a Reference projection of the world energy system to test different scenarios for technology and climate policies in the next half-century; it has a particular focus on the diffusion of hydrogen as a fuel. This Reference projection adopts exogenous forecasts for population and economic growth in the different world regions and it makes consistent assumptions for the availability of fossil energy resources and for the costs and performances of future technologies. It uses a world energy sector simulation model – the POLES model – to describe the development to 2050 of the national and regional energy systems and of their interactions through international energy markets, under constraints on resources and from climate policy.

International Energy Agency (IEA) 2007

World Energy Outlook 2007 provides extensive statistics, projections in three scenarios, analysis and advice, it shows China, India and the rest of the world why we need to co-operate to change the energy future and how to do it.

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European Foundation fot the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2008

This report explores four possible future scenarios of the European energy sector and their consequences for the structure and workings of the sector within the next 30 to 50 years. Special attention will be paid to issues such as changes in skills needs and labour demands, location patterns, R&D investments and the role of renewable and alternative energy sources.

International Electricity Partnership, 2009.

At the International Electricity Chief Executive Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in October 2008, electricity leaders formed an International Electricity Partnership (IEP) to deliver advanced electric technologies to create a global low-carbon future. They stated: “The industry leaders believe that electricity can be the solution to climate change”. It was agreed that “new technology, with an adequate transition period, can accommodate the objective of stabilizing of carbon emissions from all sources; and, with aggressive application of technology, carbon emissions reductions of 60 to 80 percent can be achieved by 2050”. This Roadmap report examines the technologies and policies that are required to deliver this low-carbon future.

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World Energy Council, 2007

This report points the way for policymakers to make important decisions now which can deliver desirable progress on the 3 A’s in the period from 2030-2050. This report shows that irrespective of whether we are in the public or private sector, there are issues within our own range of decision capability that we can act on immediately.

Günther Fischer
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Report prepared for the Expert Meeting on How to Feed the World in 2050
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 24-26 June 2009

This paper presents an integrated agro-ecological and socio-economic spatial global assessment of the interlinkages of emerging biofuels developments, food security, and climate change. The explicit purpose is to quantify as to what extent climate change and expansion of biofuel production may alter the long-term outlook for food, agriculture and resource availability developed by the FAO in its Agriculture Toward 2030/50 assessment.

Millennium Project
Global Futures Studies & Research, 2008

The world is increasingly aware that fundamental changes will be necessary to meet the growing demand for energy. There are many possible scenarios about what may emerge in the foreseeable future. Four such scenarios were constructed by the Millennium Project and are presented here.

Business as usual – The sceptic

(Moderate growth in technological breakthroughs, in environmental movement impacts, in economic growth and moderate changes in geopolitics and war/peace/ terrorism)

This scenario assumes that the global dynamics of change continue without great surprises or much change in energy sources and consumption patterns other than those that might be expected as a result of the change dynamics and trends already in place. So, yes, it’s easy to be a sceptic. We’ve heard it all before. What people miss most about the old days is vacations in distant places, freedom to drive what they wanted and where they wanted, having a government they could believe in, that tells the truth—if indeed anyone knows what truth is any more—and stability. Today there is too much pessimistic thinking about energy. Reserves have grown in the past when depletion was forecast, and now many people in the industry say it will happen again. As for developing new energy systems, with effort and fortitude the world powers can solve the problem; they can do anything they want to do. But the World Soccer Games are on TV now, so let’s worry about all this tomorrow.

Environmental Backlash

(Moderate growth in technological breakthroughs High environmental movement impacts, in economic growth and moderate changes in geopolitics and war/peace/terrorism)

This scenario assumes that the international environmental movement becomes much more organized; some groups lobby for legal actions and new regulations and sue for action in the courts, while others become violent and attack fossil energy industries. Technological breakthroughs, regulatory changes, and increased public awareness of the energy-environment linkages have changed the mix of energy usage. For example, hybrid cars now outsell gasoline-only cars, and biofuel and electric cars are catching up fast. The big promise of nanotechnology to decrease manufacturing unit costs, requiring a smaller volume of materials and energy usage and hence lowering the environmental impact and increasing productivity, is just now on the horizon. In the meantime, over one-third of our transportation needs are still met by petroleum. The oil producers also continue to supply the needs of aviation, plastic, and pharmaceutical industries for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the dynamics set in motion over the past will continue climate change for some years to come. Although great gains have been made in both energy efficiency and the production of energy via non-greenhouse-producing systems, humans still emit about 9 billion tons of carbon per year. Granted, this is less than the forecast back in 2005, but it is still too much, since the absorption capacity of carbon by oceans and forests is only about 3 billion tons per year. If we are to avoid the point of inflection for a serious runaway greenhouse effect, we still have to continue improving. We must hope that the new polices, technologies, and cultural patterns will make the impacts less traumatic that they might have been. 

High-tech economy – Technology pushes off the limits

(High growth in technological breakthroughs, low environmental movement impacts, high economic growth and few changes in geopolitics and war/peace/terrorism)

This scenario assumes that technological innovations accelerate beyond current expectations and have impacts in the energy supply mix and consumption patterns of a magnitude similar to the Internet’s impact in the 1990s. 

Political Turmoil

(Moderate growth in technological breakthroughs, low environmental movement impacts, moderate/low economic growth and major changes in geopolitics and war/peace/terrorism)

This scenario assumes increasing conflicts and wars, with several countries collapsing into failed states, leading to increasing migrations and political instabilities around the world.

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Öko-Institut e.V., Berlin 2006

Energy and climate policy in the 21st century is facing manifold and far-reaching chal-lenges: the problem of global climate changes requires fast and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to stabilise the concentrations of these gases at a level which is sufficient to limit the increase of the global mean temperature to a level not exceeding 2°C above the pre-industrial levels; finite fossil and nuclear fuel resources and the foreseeable concentration of fuel production in some politically sensitive regions is increasingly highlighting the problem of energy security; the integrated world energy markets and liberalised energy markets are in-creasingly facing the problem of highly volatile energy prices, which leads to an increased vulnerability of economies. Against the background of these challenges, a business-as-usual approach in energy policy is increasingly being seen as no longer acceptable. However, there is no silver bullet for solving the majority of the problems that energy and climate policy is facing today. Many options must be explored and it will be necessary to implement many op-tions.

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Roberto Vigotti and Paolo Frankl
International Energy Agency (IEA), 2009

A sustainable energy future is possible with a portfolio of clean and efficient  technologies, RE definitely among them. The task will take decades and it will require significant investments costs. It must be carried out before a new generation of inefficient and high-carbon energy infrastructure is locked into place. Implementing sustainable scenarios will require a transformation in the way power is generated, in the way homes, offices and factories are built and use energy and in the technologies used for transport. It will also take unprecedented co-operation between the developed and emerging economies to achieve the results implied.

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European wind energy association, 2008

Globally, the energy sector emits 26 billion tonnes of CO2 each year and electricity production alone accounts for 41% of emissions. The International Energy Agency expects CO2 emissions in 2030 to have increased by 55% to reach more than 40 billion tonnes of CO2. The share of emissions coming from electricity production will increase to 44% in 2030, reaching 18 billion tonnes of CO2.