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World Energy Model

Since 1993, the IEA has provided medium to long-term energy projections using a World Energy Model (WEM). The model is a large-scale mathematical construct 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 various scenarios. Developed over many years, the model consists of six main modules: final energy demand (with sub models covering residential, services, agriculture, industry, transport and non-energy use); power generation and heat; refinery/petrochemicals and other transformations; fossil-fuel supply; CO2 emissions; and investment.

Detailed description of the World Energy Model – with 2011 updates

New Features in World Energy Outlook 2011

The WEO-2011 continues past practice in using a scenario approach to examine future energy trends. It presents three scenarios: the New Policies Scenario, the Current Policies Scenario and the 450 Scenario. The projection period goes to 2035; 2009 is the last year for which comprehensive historical data are available but, in many cases, preliminary data are available for 2010 and have been incorporated.

The following changes were made to the WEM for the purposes of the WEO-2011:

  • The coal-supply module has been enhanced.
  • The power sector transmission and distribution network module has been improved through additional analysis of historic development patterns and incorporation of costs related to renewables integration.
  • A capacity credit module was added to the power sector module to reflect more accurately the contribution made by variable renewable technologies to system adequacy.
  • An improved infrastructure module was developed for the use of natural gas and electricity in road transport.
  • The vehicle database for passenger light-duty vehicles was overhauled and updated
  • Iron and steel sub-sector was modelled together with subsectors of blast furnaces, coke ovens and own use of those two for technology assessment and detailed analysis of coal demand.
  • End use sub-sectoral split was introduced in the residential sector for three non-OECD regions, namely India, China and Russia.

There are 25 WEM regions (see Annex 2 in the detailed description of the WEM). A database with over 3 000 policies and measures in OECD and non-OECD countries is available at the Policy Databases webpage.