Energy scenarios are plausible and challenging alternative futures that can provide “strategic foresight” regarding choices related to energy.

Pennsylvania Energy Horizons was developed using a methodology known as scenario planning which traces its origins to the military strategist Herman Kahn and his work at the RAND Corporation. This methodology has since been used in military, business and academic organizations globally to think about their long-term planning in a manner that is systemic and able to more readily adapt to unforeseen changes. And while there are various examples of how scenario planning has been applied to energy systems, this is the first time that a U.S. state has undertaken such an endeavor. Royal Dutch Shell’s Global Scenarios Team provided the facilitation for this process – they have been developing energy scenarios for almost 50 years. Their expertise in using scenario methodology enabled our participants to grapple with tough energy and environmental issues as we developed the stories of two alternative energy futures for Pennsylvania.


Ultimately, our goal with employing scenarios methodology was not only to anticipate what could happen with Pennsylvania’s energy future, but to begin a meaningful dialogue today among policy-makers, business executives, community leaders and politicians to thoughtfully and proactively help shape that future. In the end, it will be up to individual Pennsylvanians to read these stories, to draw their own conclusions about the ideal facets of our shared future; and then to act, and encourage society’s leaders to act, in a manner that helps shape our future.

To learn more about scenario planning for energy systems, visit these links:

World Energy Scenarios

Shell’s Scenarios