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Energy scenarios: a review of methods, uses and suggestions for improvement


  • Stefan Kruger Nielsen
  • Kenneth Karlsson


Scenarios are used in research, foresight, planning, policy-making and business strategy within the energy domain. There is no common theoretical and methodological framework for making scenario analysis. Rather, definitions and methodologies are most often tailored for specific uses. Scenarios are used for three overarching purposes: For predicting, exploring and anticipating future energy systems. Energy scenarios most often involve economic/engineering modelling of the energy system relying on uncertain projections, expectations, visions or hope for future economic or technical developments thereby lacking a detailed argumentation for the specific social and political conditions under which the scenarios may likely unfold. Energy scenario studies may be improved by focusing more on describing short-term policies and actions that may possibly lead to the future states taking into consideration the role of market conditions as well as lifestyle and social developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Kruger Nielsen & Kenneth Karlsson, 2007. "Energy scenarios: a review of methods, uses and suggestions for improvement," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 27(3), pages 302-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijgeni:v:27:y:2007:i:3:p:302-322

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    Cited by:

    1. Mazen Labban, 2012. "Preempting Possibility: Critical Assessment of the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2010," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 375-393, January.
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:1389-1398 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Xydis, G., 2012. "Development of an integrated methodology for the energy needs of a major urban city: The case study of Athens, Greece," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(9), pages 6705-6716.
    4. Elliston, Ben & Diesendorf, Mark & MacGill, Iain, 2012. "Simulations of scenarios with 100% renewable electricity in the Australian National Electricity Market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 606-613.
    5. repec:eee:tefoso:v:124:y:2017:i:c:p:126-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. O' Mahony, Tadhg & Zhou, P. & Sweeney, John, 2013. "Integrated scenarios of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland: A multi-sectoral analysis to 2020," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 385-397.
    7. Farnoosh, Arash & Lantz, Frederic & Percebois, Jacques, 2014. "Electricity generation analyses in an oil-exporting country: Transition to non-fossil fuel based power units in Saudi Arabia," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 299-308.
    8. Ivan T. Herrmann & Michael Z. Hauschild & Michael D. Sohn & Thomas E. McKone, 2014. "Confronting Uncertainty in Life Cycle Assessment Used for Decision Support," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 18(3), pages 366-379, May.
    9. Li, Francis G.N. & Trutnevyte, Evelina & Strachan, Neil, 2015. "A review of socio-technical energy transition (STET) models," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 290-305.
    10. Stefan Lechtenböhmer & Clemens Schneider & María Yetano Roche & Samuel Höller, 2015. "Re-Industrialisation and Low-Carbon Economy—Can They Go Together? Results from Stakeholder-Based Scenarios for Energy-Intensive Industries in the German State of North Rhine Westphalia," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-26, October.


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