Future Energy Scenarios 2020

Future Energy Scenarios 2020

Energy analysis: Matthew Collinson, independent specialist energy lawyer and consultant, discusses the Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2020, providing an overview of common themes and highlights what it means for energy lawyers.

What is FES 2020?

FES is an annual publication by National Grid Electricity Transmission System Operator (NETSO). It actually refers to a suite of documents, but is commonly taken to mean the FES Report, which sets out a range of different, credible scenarios for decarbonising the energy system.

What are the key changes from FES 2019 to FES 2020?

The most important change for FES 2020 is that all scenarios have net zero at their core. The timing of the net zero commitment meant that FES 2019 could only include a net zero sensitivity analysis, whereas FES 2020 is focused on different pathways for achieving the new net zero target.

What are the common themes highlighted by NETSO in FES 2020?

Like its predecessor, FES 2020 highlights four possible scenarios. All but one achieve net zero by 2050: the ‘Steady Progression’ scenario achieves only a 68% reduction in emissions against 1990 levels by 2050.

In broad terms (and unsurprisingly) the fastest decarbonisation requires changes from both consumers (the products they buy, and how they use them) and industry (efficient products that allow smarter consumption).

NETSO anticipates that if the transition is driven predominantly by a change in consumer behaviour, increased uptake of residential heating products like air source heat pumps will force the system towards greater electrification. A consumer-led transition is, however, contingent on the success of the smart meter roll-out, and relies on companion technologies like thermal stora

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