Our approach

The evolution of energy systems is not a single change, but is made up of many different, but inter-connected energy transitions. We aim to inform what it will really take to create credible, accelerating transitions towards universal, clean energy systems across the world.

Five key elements of energy system transitions

We take a systems-level approach to energy transitions, defined by five elements. We identify two main macro-drivers of energy system transitions: economic development and climate change. These encompass other important drivers, including local pollution and energy security. Energy systems are defined in three parts: demand, supply, and the institutional context in which these operate and come together. There is continuous interaction between all five elements. Economic development and climate change goals influence each other, and the different parts of the energy system interact. In addition, there is pressure from the two macro-drivers on the energy system, and the energy system itself also affects economic development and climate goals. Taking a holistic perspective can help to create mutually reinforcing positive feedback loops between these elements.

Systems framework
 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Securing sufficient energy to support economic growth, end energy poverty and create a prosperous, unpolluted living environment.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stay below the 2 degree threshold.

INSTITUTIONS

Enabling change with new industry structures, standards, policies, regulations and financing models.

SUPPLY

Reshaping sources of energy through innovation in new business models and technologies.

DEMAND

Changing and reducing energy use across sectors through innovation in business models and technologies.