Net zero energy by 2060: charting the path of Europe and Central Asia toward a secure and sustainable energy future

Since February 2022, geopolitical events have made clear Europe’s need to diversify its energy sources and avoid excessive dependence on fossil fuel imports. The drop in Russian natural gas flows to Europe in 2022 marked the single largest supply shock in the history of global gas markets. It caused a significant increase in prices of electricity and heating services for consumers across the continent. With Europe’s high reliance on imported natural gas, reestablishing energy security is a paramount objective. But how security can be achieved is subject to many uncertainties. Although Central Asia is not as dependent on gas imports as other parts of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, it has not been spared an energy crisis. Chronic underinvestment and the harshest winter conditions in decades resulted in significant blackouts in power and heating during the winter of 2022/23. This report analyzes the implications of the 2022/2023 energy crises over the short and long term, observing possible energy scenarios through 2060 in the Bank’s ECA region and examining three key questions: What is the state of energy security in ECA in the wake of recent geopolitical events? What will it take to decarbonize the ECA energy system? What are the main uncertainties?