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World Energy Outlook

World Energy Model

Since 1993, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has provided medium to long-term energy projections using the World Energy Model (WEM). The model is a large-scale simulation model designed to replicate how energy markets function and is the principal tool used to generate detailed sector-by-sector and region-by-region projections for the World Energy Outlook (WEO) scenarios. Developed over many years, the model broadly consists of three main sections covering:

  • final energy consumption including residential, services, agriculture, industry, transport and non-energy use;
  • energy transformation including power generation and heat, refinery/petrochemicals and other transformation; and
  • fossil-fuel and bioenergy supply.

Outputs from the model include energy flows by fuel, investment needs and costs, CO2 emissions and end-user pricing and is calculated for each of the 25 regions modelled in the WEM. An extensive effort is undertaken each year to incorporate energy and climate-related policies and measures into our modelling and analysis with details and sources provided under policy databases.

A detailed description of the World Energy Model and supporting documents covering topics such as energy efficiency, energy subsidies, climate change analysis and power sector analysis may be found in the documentation section.  The investment costs section outlines input assumptions to the WEM for the power generation sector and for passenger light duty vehicles (PLDVs).

New Features in World Energy Outlook 2013

The WEO-2013 continues past practice of using a scenario approach to examine future energy trends out to 2035. It presents three scenarios: the New Policies Scenario, the Current Policies Scenario and the 450 Scenario. Comprehensive historical data through to 2011 are presented and used in the modelling, although wherever possible preliminary 2012 data are also included.

Some of the changes made to the WEM for the purposes of the WEO-2013 are highlighted below:

  • Enhanced oil recovery has been added as a separate category of oil, with corresponding estimates of resources and costs.
  • A new oil refining module presents detailed projections of refinery capacity and international trade flows of crude oil and oil products.
  • Oil demand has been split by main oil products.
  • Coverage of the chemical and petrochemical sector has been improved by modelling energy consumption and feedstock use for five major products and their different production pathways: ethylene, propylene, aromatics (benzene, toluene, xylenes), ammonia and methanol.
  • Historical vehicle sales and stock figures by vehicle type and region have been updated and operational improvements have been implemented to calculate base year mileages per vehicle type.
  • A climate change module has been added that quantifies the effect of increased average temperature due to climate change on space heating and cooling in buildings.
  • The merit order dispatch mechanism for power plants has been refined.

Full details may be found in the detailed description of WEM.