This paper aims to study the ongoing and emerging technological changes in the global energy sector from the frequently neglected perspective of their potential destructive impact on the Russian economy.
Having reviewed existing global energy forecasts made by reputable multilateral and national government agencies, major energy corporations and specialised consulting firms, the authors noticed that most of them are by and large based on the extrapolation of conventional long-term trends depicting gradual growth of fossil fuels’ demand and catching-up supply. Unlike this approach, the paper focuses on the possible cases when conventional trends are broken, supply–demand imbalances become huge and the situation in the global energy markets is rapidly and dramatically changing with severe consequences for the Russian economy, seriously dependent on fossil fuels exports. Revealing these stress scenarios and major drivers leading to their realisation are in the focus of the research. Based on the Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political, Values (analytical framework) (STEEPV) approach, the authors start from analysing various combinations of factors capable to launch stress scenarios for the Russian economy. Formulating concrete stress scenarios and assessing their negative impact on the Russian economy constitute the next step of the analysis. In conclusion, the paper underlines the urgency to integrate stress analysis related to global energy trends into the Russian national systems of technology foresight and strategic planning, which are now in the early stages of development.
The analysis of global energy market trends and various combinations of related economic, political, technological and ecological factors allowed to formulate four stress scenarios particularly painful for the Russian economy. They include the currently developing scenario “Collapse of oil prices”, and three potential ones: “Gas abundance”, “Radical de-carbonisation” and “Hydrogen economy”. One of the most important conclusions of the paper is that technology-related drivers are playing the leading role in stress scenario realisation, but it is usually a specific combination of other drivers (interlacing with technology-related factors) that could trigger the launch a particular scenario.
This study’s approach is based on the assumption that Russia’s dependence on hydrocarbons exports as one of the main structural characteristics of the Russian economy will remain intact. However, for the long-term perspective, this assumption might not hold true. So, new research will be needed to review the stress scenarios within the context of radical diversification of the Russian economy.
This paper suggests a number of practical steps aimed at introducing stress analysis as one of the key functions within the energy-related sectoral components of the Russian national systems of technology forecasting and strategic planning.
The novelty of this paper is determined both by the subject of the analysis and approach taken to reveal it. In contrast to most of research in this area, the main focus has been moved from the opportunities and potential benefits of contemporary technology-related global energy shifts to their possible negative impact on the national economy. Another important original feature of the approach is that existing global energy forecasts are used only as a background for core analysis centred around the cases when conventional energy trends are broken.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation in 2015-2016 (project ID: RFMEFI60216X0013).
Kuzminov, I., Bereznoy, A. and Bakhtin, P. (2017), "Global energy challenges and the national economy: stress scenarios for Russia", Foresight, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 174-197. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-06-2016-0026Download as .RIS
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