Pathway to a Fully Sustainable Global Energy System by 2050

Yvonna Y. Deng
Ecofys, London, United Kingdom

Sebastian Klaus
Ecofys, London, United Kingdom

Stijn Cornelissen
Ecofys, Nuremberg, Germany

Kees van der Leun
Ecofys, London, United Kingdom

Kornelis Blok
Ecofys, London, United Kingdom

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110573492

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:63, s. 3492-3499

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


We present a possible pathway to a global; sustainable energy system by 2050. This new energy scenario follows a comprehensive examination to all aspects of energy use across the entire world and the possible means of supplying this energy from the sustainable sources we have available to us. It does so; from the perspective of actual; physical activities that require energy: our industrial processes; our cars; our buildings.

For each of these activities; the scenario asks the questions:

  • What is the minimum amount of energy required to deliver these functions?
  • How can we supply this energy in a sustainable way?

The key aspects of this new Energy Scenario are:

  • It is an ambitious; but feasible pathway for all sectors; we can build an energy system by 2050 which sources 95% of its energy from sustainable sources.
  • This energy system will use only a small fraction of each of the sustainable energy sources; making this a robust scenario.
  • We can progress towards a world that still sustains comfortable lifestyles; despite consumption patterns; demonstrating a more efficient use of energy and other resources; particularly in developed countries.
  • Energy efficiency is the key requisite to meeting our future energy needs from sustainable sources. Total energy demand in 2050 is lower than in 2000; despite the growth of population and energy services.
  • Electricity is the energy carrier most readily available from sustainable energy sources and therefore; electrification is key.
  • All bioenergy required; (primarily for residual fuel and heat demands) can be sourced sustainably; provided the appropriate management practices and policies are in place.
  • The scenario’s energy system will have large cost advantages over a business-as-usual system because the initial investments will be more than offset by savings made on energy costs; in later years.

The scenario is based on a comprehensive energy model; developed by Ecofys; to establish a scenario for future energy demand and supply worldwide. Unlike many world models; it is based on physical activity indicators and takes a comprehensive look at all aspects of energy demand and supply across all sectors.

The work pays particular attention to the implementation speed of sustainable energy technologies and assesses energy at the detailed carrier and sub-sector level.

It also contains a comprehensive assessment of biomass as a sustainable energy source; with a multitude of different source options and conversion technologies; subject to stringent sustainability criteria.


Sustainability; Renewable energy; Energy efficiency; Scenario; Global


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