Energy System Transformations

Providing universal energy access, improving energy security, reducing of health impacts of energy systems as well as limiting the magnitude of climate change to below 2°C are all vital objectives in today’s world.

© Paulgrecaud | Dreamstime

© Paulgrecaud | Dreamstime

Within the Global Energy Assessment we analyzed a range of energy system transformation strategies that meet simultaneously this set of policy objectives, including universal energy access, improving energy security, reductions of human health impacts of energy systems as well as limiting the magnitude of climate change below 2°C. Using ENE’s integrated modeling framework and considering inherent uncertainties of the future, the following main findings were identified:

  • Fundamental energy systems transformations are feasible within the time frame of meeting the various energy policy objectives.
  • There exists many combinations of energy technology and policy options that achieve these fundamental transformations.
  • Improved energy efficiency emerges as the main leverage point that increases the flexibility of achieving transformations in energy supply-systems.
  • The costs of major transformations are comparatively modest, and yield substantial multiple benefits for human health, the environment, energy security, and green growth.
  • However, radical departures from business as usual policies and investment patterns are required. These will need to include new models of international corporation in technology development and deployment, climate policy, and for improving energy access.

The insert shows an illustrative GEA pathway with radically improved energy efficiency to limit energy demand, enabling the use of a wide range of supply-side portfolios to meet the multiple energy policy objectives.

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Last edited: 17 December 2015


Keywan Riahi

Program Director



and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 491

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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