Published every year based on objective data and dispassionate analysis, The World Energy Outlook (WEO) provides critical analysis and insights on trends in energy demand and supply, and what they mean for energy security, environmental protection and economic development.
The first WEO was published in 1977 and it has been an annual publication since 1998, with
the 2021 edition intended as a handbook for that year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Each year’s detailed projections are generated by the World Energy Model, a large-scale simulation tool, developed at the IEA over a period of more than 20 years that is designed to replicate how energy markets function. It covers the whole energy system, allowing for a range of analytical perspectives from global aggregates to local details, such as the prospects for a particular technology or the outlook for end-user prices in a specific country or region.
There is no single story about the future of global energy and no long-term IEA forecast for the energy sector. The WEO uses a scenario-based approach to highlight the key choices, consequences and contingencies that lie ahead, and to illustrate how the course of the energy system might be affected by changing some of the key variables, chief among them the energy policies adopted by governments around the world.
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Scenario analysis of future energy trends
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