We asked opinion leaders in the US and UK: “How would you invest $100/£100 across a basket of energy sources for a maximum return in 10 years?”
The world’s first commercial oil well was drilled in the late 1850s. A half-century later, oil accounted for only 2% of the world’s energy usage. Fast forward another 50 years, however, and oil was accounting for one-quarter of global usage. It’s a familiar pattern: energy transitions happen gradually, but not evenly—including today’s.
The general destination of this energy transition is clear; murkier is what the path there will look like. Brunswick surveyed opinion leaders in the US and UK to better understand where we are on that path, and the complexion of what is—and what isn’t—changing.
Having people share considered yet digestible views on such a complex, dynamic topic is obviously tricky. The transition entails both the emergence of a dozen or so new technologies as well as the transmuting of multiple fuel sources.
We began by asking a question that brought together the many different tracks of the transition and allowed respondents to articulate their beliefs in concrete terms: “How would you invest $100/£100 across a basket of energy sources for a maximum return in 10 years?”
We also wanted to understand where they stood on other key questions: Who should pay for the energy transition—and who actually will pay? When will the transition be complete? Whom do you most trust to lead the way? Which technologies have the most momentum and scalability?
The respondents represent the top 10% of the public in the US and UK in terms of their professional experience, their educational attainment, their news readership, and their engagement in financial, political and social issues. In the UK, they were split evenly between Conservative and Labour voters, while in the US the balance was 54% Democrats and 39% Republicans.
It’s research we’ll be revisiting and updating to see not only how the transition’s trendline is moving, but also the pace and nature of that movement.