Smart Energy


The Smart Energy

Is business as usual enough?


With existing and mature technologies it is possible to achieve savings of up to 30% at the end-use level. Will this be adequate to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2050? The IEC believes not.


Figure 1 shows the three principal scenarios for electricity-related CO2 emissions3:


1. do nothing “business as usual”. This scenario means an unacceptable warming of the climate.


2. apply current technologies. This involves increased efficiency for products and vehicles and an increase in current types of renewable power generation, resulting in a smaller increase in emissions.


3. apply planned but not yet fully ready technologies. This scenario involves innovations such as the Smart Grid, carbon capture, and manufacturing systems integrated for efficiency, bringing a decrease in emissions which may sufficiently limit climate change.


Figure 1 - Schematic of the effects of applying different technology levels



  • 3

    The business-as-usual scenario is based on the projections made by the International Energy Agency in its Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 and a reasonable forecast for the proportion of electricity in the energy mix; the current technology scenario relies on a 30 % efficiency improvement and the IEA’s forecast for renewables; and the innovative technologies option uses the IEA’s 450 Policy Scenario and the IEC’s projection for the technology potential.