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3 Scenario Storylines for TYNDP 2024 //

The definition of each scenario should enable the gas and electricity infrastructure assessment as part of TYNDP and TEN-E processes. In parallel, Member States define NECPs and national long-term strategies within the Paris Agreement Framework on a regular basis, while the European Commission proposes European focused strategies. The scenario building process is designed to be incremental and iterative and encourages multilateral engagement resulting in several benefits.

The full TYNDP process is achieved in the following ways:

  • By providing insights to Member States and decision-makers about the interactions between national strategies;
  • By ensuring both alignment of national and European strategies while taking into account country specifics;
  • By creating a platform ensuring the consideration of all options with a technology neutral approach.

Following the regulatory obligation, ENTSO-E and ENTSOG have launched the scenario building process for the TYNDP 2024 by regularly engaging with the stakeholders. The scenarios intend to incorporate the aforementioned process outcomes based on the experience of previous editions and stakeholder feedback. The storylines used for the TYNDP 2024 scenarios are an evolution from the ones used for the previous TYNDP 2022 which is finalised after an extensive stakeholder public consultation & workshop. These updates were introduced in specific areas to reflect the latest developments and new insights. Furthermore, the scenario storylines are designed as deviations from the National Trends+ scenario.

The key elements defining the scenario selection strategy are:

  • To reflect the latest development in national energy and climate policies that are in line with European greenhouse gas reduction ambitions;
  • To acknowledge the need for high ambition in terms of European energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment;
  • To acknowledge the uncertainties associated with maximising the renewable development and energy efficiency, or relying on low-carbon technologies and energy imports;
  • To explore different levels of independence for the European Union, both in terms energy supply, as well as for industrial activity, agricultural yield, and consumer goods.

As these elements impact the European energy infrastructure to different degrees, it is necessary to develop two scenarios to provide an appropriate basis for infrastructure assessment. In addition, many intermediate pathways could materialise based on different combinations of drivers. Nevertheless, it is expected that the two deviation scenarios cover a wide range of possible future evolutions of energy infrastructure.

It is beyond the remit of ENTSO-E and ENTSOG’s to favour one storyline against the other. However, highlighting similarities and differences in the storylines is a way to manage the uncertainty of future energy system evolution. Differentiating scenarios supports a robustness in CBA calculations and PCI assessments.

The following table provides an overview of storyline differentiation based on the high-level drivers.

Storylines Table 1

Table 1: Storylines differentiation based on high-level drivers

3.1 Distributed Energy (DE)

This scenario pictures a pathway achieving EU-27 carbon neutrality target by 2050 with higher European Economy. The scenario is driven by a willingness of the society to achieve high levels of independence in terms of energy supply and goods of strategic importance (e. g., industrial and agricultural produce). It translates into both a behavioural shift and strong decentralised drive towards decarbonisation through local initiatives by citizens, communities and businesses, supported by authorities.

On the demand side this means a high focus on electrification and a strong commitment to reduce energy consumption. Residential and tertiary sectors achieve this through a transition towards renewable heat provided by all-electric heat pumps, district heating and energy efficiency renovations. The transport sector also aims for high electrification rates and a decrease in individual mobility. The industrial sector invests in energy efficiency and circularity to reduce energy demand, while maintaining or insourcing strategic industries. Technologies such as heat pumps and EVs ensure the high efficiency gains necessary to limit demand, so it is balanced by potential energy production at local, national and European levels.

On the supply side, public acceptance for a very ambitious RES development rate is achieved. The development of prosumer behaviours become common place as citizens gain a better understanding of the energy system and its impact on climate. Further to this, higher involvement of citizens in local RES projects (e. g., via rooftop PV, district heating/cooling, geothermal and biomass) is crucial to meet this challenge.

Specific European legislation sets the decarbonisation framework of activities managed at European scale such as aviation, shipping and some industrial sectors. In tandem, hard-to-decarbonise sectors that currently rely on fossil fuel imports switch to bio- and synthetic fuels (derived from electrolysis of renewable electricity) produced in Europe, further reducing import dependence.

From an electricity system perspective, strong increase of heat pumps and EVs results in a deep electrification of final energy demand. This demand is met by maximising the use of wind and solar resources, which results in a power system with little dispatchable thermal generation remaining. The dispatchable capacities that are available are based on solid biomass and power plants fuelled by renewable gas. Demand-side flexibility solutions are required, so that the electricity system remains balanced on an hourly basis. In residential and tertiary sectors, the use of home batteries and the smart charging of EVs can support short term balancing of the electricity grids.

Large consumers in agriculture, industry and district heating can provide flexibility through demand side response (DSR) (moving tasks to an earlier or later time period). Sector integration through the production of storable energy in the form of gas and liquids by electrolysis provides seasonal flexibility to the electricity system.

The factors influencing the design of the European energy system are the development of local optimization (circularity, prosumers), the need to connect huge amounts of RES energy and flexibility management from a geographical and temporal perspective. The available European primary energy sources require the coupling between energy carriers and infrastructures to cover the energy demand throughout all sectors.

The achievement of European energy autonomy based on renewable energy relies on a range of prerequisites such as:

  • The public acceptance of energy infrastructures and hosting of generation technologies associated with the maximisation of RES development across the whole Europe;
  • The understanding and willingness of European citizens to adapt their behaviour to minimise energy demand and fully participate to the system adequacy;
  • The maturity of technologies (hydrogen fuel cell, batteries, DSR, etc.) ensuring:
    • the security of the electricity system with limited dispatchable generation
    • the production of synthetic fuels for hard-to-electrify processes in absence of energy imports

This scenario targets European energy autonomy and therefore, sourcing low carbon energy imports from global markets is not prioritised. This focus discards possible (economic and competitiveness) opportunities in favour of a geopolitical priority to be more self-sufficient.

3.2 Global Ambition (GA)

This scenario pictures a pathway to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, driven by a fast and global move towards the Paris Agreement targets. It translates into development of a very wide range of technologies (many being centralised) and the use of global energy trade as a tool to accelerate decarbonisation.

This scenario takes a global CO2 avoided cost approach to define the evolution of the energy system. It considers the full scope of available technologies and energy sources to reduce CO2 emissions at the lowest possible cost. It requires a holistic approach of the energy mix where demand and supply are considered together when defining the most efficient actions.

On the demand side, decarbonisation is achieved through a wide variety of technologies. Modern well insulated buildings are heated with all-electric heat. In cold areas with existing widespread gas distribution infrastructure, hybrid heat pumps offer optimization potential for lowering the need of deep renovation and providing flexibility to the electricity system. Passenger transport is increasingly electrified. In other transport modes, electricity technologies complemented with a wide range of solutions like bio LNG, biomethane and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) form the makeup. Europe benefits from biomass conversion into liquid and gas as well as low carbon energy imports. Industrial sectors strengthen their competitive position through automation and digital production. Substitution of natural gas by hydrogen and biomethane reduces adaptation cost. Activities participating to global trade (aviation, shipping and a wide range of industrial sectors) align on global decarbonisation solutions in order to avoid any loss of competitiveness.

European decarbonisation effort is driven strongly by a high European RES development, complemented by energy imports and low-carbon solutions. This leads to a great variety of energy carriers used like electricity, hydrogen, biomethane and synthetic biofuels. CCS is an option to support decarbonisation of some industrial processes; and to achieve negative emissions where bio/synthetic fuels are used within the next ten years, an international market for hydrogen and biofuels is established, which rapidly expands after 2030. This offers Europe the opportunity to import competitive green hydrogen and derived fuels. This provides gaseous and liquid fuels for hard-to-decarbonise sectors while avoiding the conversion loss of European energy production. The EU aims to secure a diversified portfolio of energy suppliers for methane, hydrogen and liquid fuels, to avoid dependence on a single import source.

From an electricity system perspective, renewable deployment is optimised at European level in order to seek both cost efficiency and build public acceptance. Global efforts see offshore wind as major technology in northern Europe with the formation of North Sea Energy Hubs while centralised solar is leading in the south of Europe. Nuclear power complements the energy mix to a limited extent, largely led by national energy policies. Moreover, the power sector will also benefit from the development of biomethane and hydrogen in the gas mix. Despite the existence of dispatchable generation there is still some need for additional flexibility, to be provided by utility-scale batteries, demand-side management (including hybrid heat pumps) and smart charging of EVs.

There is a progressive evolution of the transition towards a net-zero European energy system. This energy system is characterised by a balanced energy mix of electricity, gas and biofuels sourced by renewable development and diversified imports. Carbon capture and storage provides abatement and negative emissions. A balanced share of energy carriers and split of end user technologies means that the need for conversion of electricity to gas and liquid is limited.

The materialisation of a scenario based on European renewable, that are complemented by low carbon technology use and energy imports, relies on the following key prerequisites:

  • The public acceptance and economic competitiveness of nuclear and CCS technologies within Europe;
  • The availability of competitive and diversified low carbon energy for European imports by 2050.
  • The maturity of technologies (hydrogen fuel cell, batteries, DSR, etc.)