GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Reinventing Energy Futures: Four Visions


For most inhabitants of the developed world, energy has not been a problem during their lifetimes. It is a technology so successful it has become invisible: the most significant, and most silent, enabler of a modern way of life. But all that is changing. Over the next 10-15 years, our relationship to energy¬†will enter a new phase, framed by the stark reality of carbon emission-driven climate change and rising energy demand around the globe. Our creative responses to this unprecedented dilemma will make energy a top domain of technical, business, and social innovation. Whether we like it – or are ready for it – an emerging “energopolitics” will reshape everything from what we consume, how we live, why we work, and, ultimately, the condition of our planet.

This map is an invitation to explore four corners of possibility for the future of energy. It is a tool to make connections across the broad array of action domains where control over our resources will play out. It’s a chance to think about the alternatives, to compare and contrast scenarios that provoke us into thinking in new ways, to ask better questions, and engage in important conversations with our teams, our stakeholders, and our communities. In the difficult field of energy futures, where data and projection models often clash and expertise runs deep and narrow, this map is a way to frame new actions.

Energy, Natural Resources, Technological innovation
Year Published:
Institute for the Future