Energy Transition as a Response to Energy Challenges in Post-Pandemic Reality
The concept of energy transition has been adopted by national governments, international and regional organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered increasing attention to climate policy, energy transition, and economic resilience. This paper looks at energy transition in selected countries with the use of case studies—China, the European Union, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The aim of the study is to analyze the main approaches to the energy transition in these countries and the barriers which may influence this process. The study applies foresight methods such as trend monitoring, case study, and STEPE methods for barrier analysis. The outcomes include identification of energy priorities in the national context, key directions for future transformation, and selected countries’ approaches to the energy transition after the COVID-19 pandemic. All considered countries are taking measures for the energy transition, but the motives, pace, and priorities differ. Their approaches were grouped into ideological (the European Union, the United States) and pragmatic (Saudi Arabia, China, and India). Both groups attribute priority to the gradual shift to clean technologies and carbon-neutral energy generation. Russia occupies an intermediate position due to attention to consumers as well as high interest in diversification of budget revenues and the shift from fossil fuel. The list of barriers to energy transition includes an inappropriate level of technological development, inconsistency of renewable power generation, substantial/rapid increase in rare earth metals prices, economic sectors’ dependence on fossil fuels, lack of investment in renewables, restricted access to technologies, trade barriers, lack of political will, use of access to advanced technology market as a political tool, and renewables’ dependence on weather regimes, etc. The novelty of the study is in the scope of selected cases that give a broad overview of existing approaches to the energy transition, identification of two energy transition patterns, as well as trends, wild cards, and barriers on the way.