Final scenario storylines for TYNDP 2022

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 2022 and proactively engaged with a wide range of stakeholders. The proposed storylines intend to incorporate the aforementioned process outcomes based on the experience of previous editions and stakeholder feedback.

Therefore, 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 either pushing such renewable development and energy efficiency to the maximum, or relying on low-carbon technologies and energy imports.

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

It is beyond ENTSOG’s and ENTSO-E’s remit to favour one or other of the storylines. However, the similarities and the differences in the way to manage uncertainty will be highlighted.

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

 Distributed Energy
Higher European autonomy with ­renewable and ­decentralised focus
Global Ambition
Global economy with centralised low ­carbon and RES options
Green TransitionAt least –55 %1 reduction in 2030, climate neutral in 2050
Driving force of the energy transition Transition initiated on local / national level ­(prosumers)Transition initiated on a European / international level
Aims for EU energy autonomy through maximisation of RES and smart sector integration (P2G/L)High EU RES development supplemented with low carbon energy and imports
Energy intensityReduced energy demand through circularity and better energy consumption behaviourEnergy demand also declines, but priority is given to decarbonisation of energy supply
Digitalisation driven by prosumer and variable RES managementDigitalisation and automation reinforce ­competitiveness of EU business
TechnologiesFocus of decentralised technologies (PV, batteries, etc) and smart chargingFocus on large scale technologies (offshore wind, large storage)
Focus on electric heat pumps and district heatingFocus on hybrid heating technology
Higher share of EV, with e-liquids and biofuels ­supplementing for heavy transportWide range of technologies across mobility sectors (electricity, hydrogen and biofuels)
Minimal CCS and nuclearIntegration of nuclear and CCS

1 This figure stems from the EC proposal for the Green Deal. If this target would change as voted by the European Parliament the scenario ­assumptions will be adapted accordingly.

Table 1: Storylines differentiation based on high-level drivers

3.1 Distributed Energy (DE), storyline A

This scenario pictures a pathway achieving EU-27 carbon neutrality by 2050 and at least 55 % emission reduction in 2030. The scenario is driven by a willingness of the society to achieve energy autonomy based on widely available indigenous renewable energy sources. It translates into both a way-of-life evolution and strong decentralised drive towards decarbonisation through local initiatives by citizens, communities and businesses, supported by authorities.

On the demand side this means a strong commitment to reduce energy consumption through renovation and insulation of residential and commercial buildings, a decrease in individual mobility and a high circularity in the industrial sector. 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 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. PV, wind turbines, 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 parallel, hard-to-decarbonize sectors that currently rely on fossil fuel imports switch to bio- and synthetic fuels (derived from electrolysis of renewable electricity) produced in Europe.

From an electricity system perspective, strong increase of heat pumps and EVs results in a deep electrification of final use demand. This demand is met by maximising the use of wind and solar, 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 hour-by-hour the electricity system can remain in balance. In residential and tertiary sectors, the use of home batteries and smart charging of EVs can support short term balancing of the electricity grids. Large consumers in agriculture, industry and district heating are able to provide flexibility through demand side response (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 on the basis of 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 in order to minimize 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 as a consequence, 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), storyline B

This scenario pictures a pathway to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and at least 55 % emission reduction in 2030, 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 voided 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, there is a fast development of energy and cost-efficient technologies such as EVs for passenger transport and heat pumps for residential and tertiary heating. 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. Electricity technologies are complemented by a wide range of solutions like bio LNG, biomethane and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). Europe benefits of 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 strongly driven 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, playing a twofold role:

  • Providing gaseous and liquid fuels for hard-to-decarbonise sectors while avoiding the conversion loss of European energy production;
  • Preserving the link to the global energy market price.

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. Industrial sectors strengthen their competitive position through automation and digital production. As a consequence, part of the energy efficiency gain in Europe is offset by increased economic activity and production insourcing.

From an electricity system perspective, renewable deployment is optimized 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 in the methane mix which enables negative emissions to compensate for hard-to-decarbonise sectors. 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 imports. 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 low carbon energy for European imports by 2050.