What could our electricity look like in 2050?

Things in life can change quickly and the energy industry is no different. Looking ahead to the future can be a bit like looking into a crystal ball with endless options, but that’s not to say it isn’t worthwhile researching and preparing for what might happen.

Throughout 2013, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) brought together 120 representatives from the electricity industry, government and community to investigate what the electricity system could look like in 2050. 

Implications for electricity bills, investment requirements and the future structure of the electricity sector are all considered in the report ‘Change and choice: The Future Grid Forum’s analysis of Australia’s potential pathways to 2050’.1

The report explores four potential scenarios in detail: set and forget, the rise of the prosumer, leaving the grid and renewables thrive.

These images outline the key elements in each of these:

Future Grid Forum: Change and choice for Australia’s electricity system2

What it might mean for your power bills

It is interesting to understand how a change in the energy mix may affect your personal electricity bill in the future. 

The CSIRO has developed the MyPower tool which allows you to explore how increasing or decreasing a certain energy source may alter future electricity prices and carbon emissions.2

International opinions about energy’s future

When it comes to the future of energy use, everyone has an opinion. Here are some views from experts around the world:

While the future is uncertain and that crystal ball might be a bit cloudy, what is clear is that the world will need a mix of energy solutions, including renewable energy sources, natural gas, nuclear in some countries, and even coal for some time to come.

Want to know more?

Watch Amory Lovins, physicist and author, talk about his vision for the future of energy:

Amory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energy

References

  1. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Future Grid Forum: Change and choice for Australia’s electricity system, CSIRO.
  2. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Future Grid Forum: Change and choice for Australia’s electricity system, CSIRO.
  3. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 2013, MyPower: explore Australia’s energy future, CSIRO
  4. World Wind Fund for Nature (WWF), The energy report: 100% renewables by 2050, WWF.
  5. The International Energy Agency (IEA) 2011, Are we entering a golden age of gas?, IEA. 
  6. The Joint Centre for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), research, JCAP.

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