Energy Blue Print
Scenario for a future energy supply

Moving from principles to action for energy supply that mitigates against climate change requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often also need many years to take effect. In most world regions the transformation from fossil to renewable energies will require additional investment and higher supply costs over about twenty years.

how does the energy [r]evolution scenario compare to other scenarios?

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a ground-breaking new “Special Report on Renewables” (SRREN) in May 2011. This report showed the latest and most comprehensive analysis of scientific reports on all renewable energy resources and global scientifically accepted energy scenarios. The Energy [R]evolution was among three scenarios chosen as an indicative scenario for an ambitious renewable energy pathway. The following summarises the IPCC’s view.

Four future pathways, from the following models were assessed intensively:

  • International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2009, (IEA WEO 2009)
  • Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution 2010, (ER 2010)
  • (MiniCam EMF 22)

The World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency was used as an example baseline scenario (least amount of development of renewable energy) and the other three treated as “mitigation scenarios”, to address climate change risks. The four scenarios provide substantial additional information on a number of technical details, represent a range of underlying assumptions and follow different methodologies. They provide different renewable energy deployment paths, including Greenpeace’s “optimistic application path for renewable energy assuming that . . . the current high dynamic (increase rates) in the sector can be maintained”.

The IPCC notes that scenario results are determined partly by assumptions, but also might depend on the underlying modelling architecture and model specific restrictions. The scenarios analysed use different modelling architectures, demand projections and technology portfolios for the supply side. The full results are provided in Table 4.15, but in summary:

  • The IEA baseline has a high demand projection with low renewable energy development.
  • ReMind-RECIPE, MiniCam EMF 22 scenarios portrays a high demand expectation and significant increase of renewable energy is combined with the possibility to employ CCS and nuclear.
  • The ER 2010 relies on and low demand (due to a significant increase of energy efficiency) combined with high renewable energy deployment, no CCS employment and a global nuclear phase-out by 2045.

Both population increase and GDP development are major driving forces on future energy demand and therefore at least indirectly determining the resulting shares of renewable energy. The IPCC analysis shows which models use assumptions based on outside inputs and what results are generated from within the models. All scenarios take a 50% increase of the global population into account on baseline 2009. Regards gross domestic product (GDP), all assume or calculate a significant increase in terms of the GDP. The IEA WEO 2009 and the ER 2010 model uses forecasts of International Monetary Fund (IMF 2009) and the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) as inputs to project GSP. The other two scenarios calculate GDP from within their model.