A Decision Maker’s Guide to Evaluating Energy Scenarios, Modelling, and Assumptions

The desire for a “crystal ball” to peer into the future has perhaps never been stronger among energy and environmental planners. While the future has always been uncertain, the interconnectedness of modern economic and energy systems serves to enhance the ripple effect of our energy actions. Energy scenarios are used to inform both public and private sector decisions. Multilateral, regional, national and sub-national governments commission energy scenarios that are used to help steer hundreds of billions of dollars of investment each year and ultimately impact the quality of life for billions of people. Yet there remain clear misunderstandings in the process of commissioning and digesting information found in energy scenarios.

This IEA-RETD project attempts to better equip both those who commission energy scenarios and those who directly use information in scenarios to make decisions. It highlights crucial assumptions and methodological issues of energy scenarios that need to be critically considered when deriving conclusions for policy makers.

(See also a related blog written for IEA-RETD by Rolf de Vos and David de Jager: World Energy Outlook hides the real potential of renewables.)