Report Open Access
This report aims to understand what lies ahead for the energy system according to the next generation of professionals in the energy sector. It summarizes the insights from a survey conducted through YES-Europe’s network of young leaders for energy and sustainability. Eighty-eight respondents from 20 countries shared their perspectives about the future of energy. We analyse the forces shaping the future of energy, the energy scenarios envisioned by our respondents, and how these scenarios may come into being from different balances in the forces shaping them.
The first section focuses on the Forces Shaping the Future of Energy. The young generation in the energy industry believes that out of the energy trilemma, affordability and security of supply will have lower relevance than today while the focus will shift towards sustainability. Climate change is seen as the key mega-trend shaping the future of energy. Regulation and energy technologies are expected to undergo the largest disruption, driven by technology innovation.
Secondly, we outline three Scenarios for the Future of Energy. Most respondents envision a “Sustainability Common Goal” (SCG) scenario with strong decarbonisation and decentralization. The “Divergent Priorities” (DP) scenario predicts diverging pathways for emerging and developed economies conducive to a more decentralized system with a sizeable reliance on fossil fuels. Finally, the “Negative Balance” (NB) scenario contains no major change in the next two decades, which results in a centralized system and a strong dominance of fossil fuels.
Thirdly, we analyse the Roads to each Scenario. Sustainability becomes crucial in all three scenarios. In the DP and NB scenarios, demographic changes play a more relevant role than in the SCG scenario. Additionally, in the NB scenario, technology breakthroughs are much less prominent.
Overall, the young generations in energy foresee a future of energy shaped by climate change. Technology innovation drives change in a world where supplying a growing energy demand becomes even more challenging.