Benchmarking Scenario Comparisons: Key indicators for the clean energy transition

September 2021

Long-term energy scenarios have become an essential tool for policy makers to guide the clean energy transition. Energy scenarios produced are varied, leading to an abundance of insights and technology combinations. Comparison studies have emerged to help understand the convergences and divergences between various scenarios, providing trade-offs for decision makers and identifying key insights for policy makers.

This report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) synthesises experts' views on how to improve scenario comparison studies to gain insights for the clean energy transition that were presented and discussed during the workshop on “Benchmarking long-term scenario comparison studies for the clean energy transition” in September 2020, organized as part of IRENA’s LTES Network, in collaboration with the Knowledge for the Energy Union Unit of the JRC. It maps out the motivation, focus and methods of such studies. The report is supplemented with a comparison of the scope of 14 comparison studies and an assessment of the critical indicators used in these studies.

This report addresses key questions:

  • How are scenario comparison studies conducted, and what are the challenges faced when comparing scenarios?
  • How can scenario comparisons be improved to better address the clean energy transition?
  • What do the similarities and divergences in scenario comparisons say about the clean energy transition?