Energy Transitions

Providing secure, reliable, affordable energy that is needed to fuel prosperity for all without causing devastating environmental consequences is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Over the coming decades, global energy systems will need to transition from an era which relied on fossil fuels to one more dependent on clean energy.

This transition will not simply consist of replacing one energy source with another. Rather, it will affect the systems, networks, and partnerships that embody the energy industry as we have known it for the last century. Many of these changes will be driven by technological innovation, which in turn will impact the nature and value of existing assets, supply chains, and regulatory and policy institutions. But innovation by itself is not the goal; the real objective is to deploy innovation at scale and bring the ensuing products and services to market in a secure, reliable, and affordable way.

Academia, business, governments, and civil society are all searching for innovative solutions to actively decarbonize all energy systems and sectors, and yet today’s pace of energy innovation is simply not fast enough to meet the challenge. Why is this not happening more rapidly? What needs to be done to speed up the innovation effort? Success is possible, but it will require close coordination of policy, technology, capital, and society. Partnerships between the public and private sector will be central to this effort and must be complemented by the ability to educate all stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the energy transition.