The influence of the energy transition on the significance of key energy metrics

Oscar Kraan*, Emile Chappin, Gert Jan Kramer, Igor Nikolic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


Transparent, consistent accounting of climate-related energy targets is a fundamental building block to the architecture of international climate agreements. Many of these climate targets focus on the transition of the energy system which has led to the development of various energy transition scenarios. Now that fossil resources are being replaced by non-combustible and renewable energy sources a re-assessment of the applicability of the current set of metrics on which these energy scenarios are based is necessary. Now that energy derived from renewable and non-combustible resources with abundant availability but limited instantaneous availability becomes more prominent the ongoing electrification of the energy system combined with the decarbonisation of the electricity system has caused the current set of energy scenario metrics to become ambiguous. More specifically we show that Total Primary Energy (TPE) and its related indicators, Energy Efficiency (EE), Energy Intensity (EI) as well as the key metric Electricity Generation Capacity (EGC) have become unrepresentative, potentially misleading and for a large part irrelevant. This is problematic as these metrics steer climate policy and investment decisions based on statistical artefacts rather than valid representation of the energy system. This study concludes with a set of requirements on energy scenarios to overcome these problems that will lead energy scenarios to focus on Total Final Consumption within a mix of related energy metrics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Decarbonisation
  • Electrification
  • Energy metrics
  • Energy transition


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