Energy scenarios describing transition pathways towards low-emission energy systems are commonly used to design mitigation strategies. There is a growing awareness in the research community that energy transitions should be understood as socio-technical transitions and that energy scenario construction should reflect this fact. This paper presents an application of a socio-technical scenario building method for improving long-term scenarios and strategies for the energy transition in Germany. Developing integrated scenarios on a national level starts with employing the cross impact balancing (CIB) approach for identifying consistent societal scenarios. As a first step, relevant context factors are selected and defined (39 descriptors and alternative future developments). Interviews with experts are used to develop a qualitative impact network for the CIB. The resulting context scenarios are then transferred to quantitative energy scenarios by using two different energy models that account for energy demand and supply structures for Germany. A final evaluation focuses on primary energy demand, renewable energy shares, and direct energy-related CO2 emissions. The approach integrates statements of societal and energy model experts and results in an interdisciplinary knowledge integration. This in turn provides insight into the method’s capacity to improve the consistency of energy scenarios and to identify potential societal risks related to the energy transition process.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
CIB formalizes the notion of the “internal consistency” of a scenario by requiring that for each descriptor precisely the development should be assumed which receives the maximum promotion from the combined impacts of the other descriptors (cf. Weimer-Jehle et al. 2019 of this Special Issue for further information).
see also https://www.energyplan.eu/othertools/national/mesap-planet/ (last accessed July 2018)
see e.g., https://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de (last accessed July 2018)
Experts were informed after the survey if their opinion strongly differs from the other experts’ opinions. They were provided with the divergent opinions and arguments, and they had the opportunity to reconsider their statements. This either led to convergence or to the clarification of the dissent.
This analysis can also be conducted for average weights. Maximum weights were used to address the nature of risks as potential damages.
Alcamo J (2008) Environmental futures: the practice of environmental scenario analysis. Elsevier, New York ISBN: 0444532935
Ault G, Frame D, Hughes N, Strachan N (2008) Electricity network scenarios for Great Britain in 2050. Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), UK. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/55665/20081107final-report.pdf
BMWi (2010) Energiekonzept für eine umweltschonende, zuverlässige und bezahlbare Energieversorgung. Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie. (in German)
Cao KK, Cebulla F, Gómez Vilchez JJ, Mousavi B, Prehofer S (2016) Raising awareness in model-based energy scenario studies-a transparency checklist. Energy Sustain Soc 6:28
Capellán-Pérez I, Mediavilla M, de Castro C, Carpintero Ó, Miguel LJ (2014) Fossil fuel depletion and socio-economic scenarios: an integrated approach. Energy 77:641–655
Carlsen H, Klein RJT, Wikman-Svahn P (2017) Transparent scenario development. Nat Clim Chang 7:613
CIB (2018) Cross-impact balances–guideline no. 4. http://www.cross-impact.de/english/CIB_e_MBl.htm. Accessed 08 July 2018
CLUES (2012) Learning through scenarios: exploring the future of decentralized energy in the UK. Sussex Energy Group Brighton (UK). http://www.ucl.ac.uk/clues/files/scenarios_briefing.
EC (2011a) Energy roadmap 2050. European Commission
EC (2011b) Global Europe 2050, European Commission, Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. https://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/policy_reviews/global-europe-2050-report_en.pdf
Förster H et al (2012) Metastudy analysis on 2050 energy scenarios-policy briefing. Öko-Institut and Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH. https://epub.wupperinst.org/frontdoor/index/index/docId/4418
Fortes P, Alvarenga A, Seixas J, Rodrigues S (2015) Long-term energy scenarios: bridging the gap between socio-economic storylines and energy modeling. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 91:161–178
Girod B, Wiek A, Mieg H et al (2009) The evolution of the IPCC’s emissions scenarios. Environ Sci Pol 12:103–118
Guivarch C, Lempert R, Trutnevyte E (2017) Scenario techniques for energy and environmental research: an overview of recent developments to broaden the capacity to deal with complexity and uncertainty. Environ Model Softw 97:201–210
Huss WR, Honton EJ (1987) Alternative methods for developing business scenarios. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 31:219–238
IEA (2018) World energy outlook 2018. OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/weo-2018-en
IPCC (2014) Renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation-special report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (SRREN). Cambridge University Press. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/srren/
Kemp-Benedict E (2012) Telling better stories: strengthening the story in story and simulation. Environ Res Lett 7:041004
Krewitt W et al (2009) Energy revolution 2008-a sustainable world energy perspective. Energy Policy 37(12):5764–5775
Le Roux B & Rouanet H (2009) Multiple correspondence analysis, SAGE PUBN. http://www.ebook.de/de/product/10546753/brigitte_le_roux_henry_rouanet_multiple_correspondence_analysis.html
Lopion P, Markewitz P, Robinius M, Stolten D (2018) A review of current challenges and trends in energy systems modeling. Renew Sust Energ Rev 96(2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.045
Mander SL, Bows A, Anderson KL, Shackley S, Agnolucci P, Ekins P (2008) The Tyndall decarbonisation scenarios. Part I: development of a backcasting methodology with stakeholder participation. Energy Policy 36:3754–3763
McDowall W (2014) Exploring possible transition pathways for hydrogen energy: a hybrid approach using socio-technical scenarios and energy system modeling. Futures 63:1–14
Nakićenović N (2000) Greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 65:149–166
Nakicenovic N, Lempert R, Janetos A (Eds.) (2014) Special issue: a framework for the development of new socio-economic scenarios for climate change research. Clim Chang 122(3)
Nitsch J et al (2012) Long-term scenarios and strategies for the deployment of renewable energies in Germany in view of European and global developments. Report DLR-TT, IWES, IfNE. (in German)
O’Mahony T (2014) Integrated scenarios for energy: a methodology for the short term. Futures 55:41–57
ÖKO & ISI (2015) Klimaschutzszenario 2050–2. Endbericht. Öko-Institut e.V., Fraunhofer-Institut für System-und Innovationsforschung (ISI). (in German)
Pfluger B et al (2017) Langfristszenarien für die Transformation des Energiesystems in Deutschland. September 2017. (in German)
Pregger T, Nitsch J, Naegler T (2013) Long-term scenarios and strategies for the deployment of renewable energies in Germany. Energy Policy 59:350–360
Raskin P et al (2002) Great transition. The promise and the lure of the times ahead. Global Scenario Group, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm. http://greattransition.org/documents/Great_Transition.pdf
Regett A, Zeiselmair A, Wachinger K, Heller C (2017) Merit order power grid expansion 2030. Part 1: Scenario analysis-possible future framework conditions for power grid expansion (in German). Report, Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE)
Riahi K, Roehrl RA (2000) Greenhouse gas emissions in a dynamics-as-usual scenario of economic and energy development. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 63:175–205
Ringkjøb H-K, Haugan PM, Solbrekke IM (2018) A review of modelling tools for energy and electricity systems with large shares of variable renewables. Renew Sust Energ Rev 96(2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.08.002
Ruth M, Özgün O, Wachsmuth J, Gößling-Reisemann S (2015) Dynamics of energy transitions under changing socioeconomic, technological and climate conditions in Northwest Germany. Ecol Econ 111:29–47
Sankovski A, Barbour W, Pepper W (2000) Quantification of the IS99 emission scenario storylines using the atmospheric stabilization framework. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 63:263–287
Schlenzig C (1999) Energy planning and environmental management with the information and decision support system MESAP. Int J Glob Energy Issues 12(1-6):81–91
Schlesinger M et al (2014) Entwicklung der Energiemärkte–Energiereferenzprognose. Prognos AG & Energiewirtschaftliches Institut (EWI) an der Universität zu Köln & Gesellschaft für wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS). (in German)
Schmid E, Pahle M, Knopf B (2013) Renewable electricity generation in Germany: a meta-analysis of mitigation scenarios. Energy Policy 61:1151–1163
Schmid E, Pechan A, Mehnert M, Eisenack K (2017) Imagine all these futures: on heterogeneous preferences and mental models in the German energy transition. Energy Res Soc Sci 27:45–56
Schweizer V (2019) Experiences with systematically constructed global socio-technical scenarios for climate change research. Accepted for publication in Climatic Change
Schweizer VJ, O’Neill BC (2014) Systematic construction of global socioeconomic pathways using internally consistent element combinations. Clim Chang 122:431–445
Shell (2013) New lens scenarios–a shift in perspective for a world in transition. Shell International BV. URL: https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/the-energy-future/scenarios/new-lenses-on-the-future.html (accessed on May 30, 2019)
Stocker A, Omann I, Jäger J (2012) The socio-economic modelling of the ALARM scenarios with GINFORS: results and analysis for selected European countries. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 21:36–49
Teske S et al (2011) Energy revolution 2010–a sustainable world energy outlook. Energy Efficiency 4(3):409–433
Teske S, Pregger T, Simon S, Naegler T (2018) High renewable energy penetration scenarios and their implications for urban energy and transport systems. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 30:89–102
Teske S et al. (2019) Achieving the Paris climate agreement goals-global and regional 100% renewable energy scenarios with non-energy GHG Pathways for +1.5°C and+2°C. S. Teske (ed.), Springer Open, eBook, https://www.springer.com/la/book/9783030058425
Trutnevyte E, Barton J, O‘Grady A, Ogunkunle D, Pudjianto D, Robertson E (2014) Linking a storyline with multiple models-a cross-scale study of the UK power system transition. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 89:26–42
Beeck NMJP van (1999) Classification of energy models. Research Memorandum 777, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management
van Vuuren DP et al (2014) A new scenario framework for climate change research: scenario matrix architecture. Clim Chang. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0906-1
Venjakob J, Schüwer D, Gröne MC (2017) Guideline sustainable energy infrastructures-subproject transformation and interlinkage of infrastructures (in German). Project report “Energy Transition Ruhr”, Wuppertal Institute
Vögele S, Hansen P, Kuckshinrichs W, Schürmann K, Schenk O, Pesch T, Heinrichs H, Markewitz P (2013) Consistent images of the future within energy scenarios (in German). Research Center Jülich, STE Research Report 3/2013
Vögele S, Hansen P, Poganietz WR, Prehofer S, Weimer-Jehle W (2017) Scenarios for energy consumption of private households in Germany using a multi-level cross-impact balance approach. Energy 120:937–946
Wack P (1985) Scenarios–uncharted waters ahead. Harv Bus Rev 62(5):73–89
WEC (2016) World energy scenarios 2016–the grand transition. World Energy Council. https://www.worldenergy.org/publications/2016/world-energy-scenarios-2016-the-grand-transition/. Accessed 30 December 2017
Weimer-Jehle W (2006) Cross-impact balances: a system-theoretical approach to cross-impact analysis. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 73(4):334–361
Weimer-Jehle W (2016) Scenario wizard–constructing consistent scenarios using cross-impact balance analysis. University of Stuttgart, ZIRIUS. http://www.cross-impact.de//english/CIB_e_ScW.htm
Weimer-Jehle W, Prehofer S, Hauser W (2015) Context scenarios for the German energy transition-a data collection for analyzing the societal and political framework conditions of a socio-technical transformation (in German). University of Stuttgart, ZIRIUS. https://doi.org/10.18419/opus-5693
Weimer-Jehle W et al (2016) Context scenarios and their usage for the construction of socio-technical energy scenarios. Energy 111:956–970
Weimer-Jehle W et al (2019) Socio-technical energy scenarios–State of the art and CIB-based approaches. Climatic Change, under review
This research was conducted as part of the ENERGY-TRANS research alliance (www.energy-trans.de). The authors are also grateful to all experts who participated in the surveys and interviews and who shared their knowledge and insights. Furthermore, we would like to thank Christian D. León and Ricarda Scheele, who conducted some of the interviews, and the three anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments.
The authors would like to thank the Helmholtz Association for providing funding for this five-year research project.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
This article is part of a Special Issue on ‘Integrated Scenario Building in Energy Transition Research’ edited by Witold-Roger Poganietz and Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Pregger, T., Naegler, T., Weimer-Jehle, W. et al. Moving towards socio-technical scenarios of the German energy transition—lessons learned from integrated energy scenario building. Climatic Change 162, 1743–1762 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-019-02598-0
- Cross impact balancing
- Energy system modeling
- Energy transition
- Socio-technical scenario