Global Energy Perspective 2021

After a decade of rapid technological and policy shifts in energy sectors, 2020 has brought unprecedented disruption across the energy landscape. In our Reference Case, a rebound to pre-COVID-19 demand levels takes one to four years for power and oil and gas, whereas coal demand does not return to 2019 levels.

As a result of COVID-19, government policies are more important in the energy transition. Given the unparalleled size of many economic-recovery packages, the focus of the stimulus measures plays a key role in shaping energy systems in the decades to come. In the longer term, fundamental shifts in the energy system continue, and the coming decades will see a rapidly changing landscape. In our Reference Case, demand for fossil fuels peaks in 2027, as electrification increases and the role of renewables in power systems grows rapidly.

These shifts accelerate in the coming years, as decarbonization and climate change are increasingly important on the agendas of global policy makers and business leaders, and as the consequences of climate change play out and prompt greater action. As the speed and magnitude of these shifts remain uncertain, this report covers four long-term scenarios for the decades to come: the Reference Case, the Accelerated and Delayed Transition cases, and the McKinsey 1.5°C Pathway.

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