Skip to main content

Stakeholder feedback and how it shaped the scenarios

External stakeholders representing the gas and electricity industries, customers and environmental NGOs, regulators, EU Members States and the European Commission were key in building an ambitious, yet technically sound, set of scenarios.

The Scenario Building process was set up by ENTSOG and ENTSO-E work jointly with stakeholders through interactive workshops, webinars and web-consultations. Dozens of stakeholders provided input to formulate, with ENTSOG and ENTSO-E, the new scenarios storylines.

Why do we do external stakeholder ­interaction?

Stakeholders for the TYNDP 2020 Scenario Building process are divided into two groups: internal and external – and therefore above questions requires a differentiated answer:

Internal Stakeholders

Since the scenarios are developed by ENTSO-E and ENTSOG – the representatives of European electricity and gas transmission operators – the participants in these organisations are regarded as internal stakeholders. Representatives of ENTSO-E and ENTSOG form the steering committee for the Scenario Building process. They receive updates on the development of the process, are directly consulted on major process-decisions (e. g. the decision to engage Climate Action Network Europe and the Renewables Grid Initiative in the calculation of a Paris-compliant carbon budget), and ultimately approve the scenario report for publish.

External Stakeholders

To ensure complete transparency and to encourage the widest possible range of opinions, participation in the external stakeholder activities is entirely open. Any organisation or private individual which wishes may take part in the external stakeholder events which accompany the scenario building process. Any organisation or private individual may also offer feedback in the two consultation periods during the process with one exception: In order to ensure transparency when taking external stakeholder feedback into account, feedback from members of ENTSO-E and ENTSOG is not considered in the external consultations.

Since the scenarios also form the basis for the Ten Years Network Development Plans for electricity and gas, and therefore also have a direct influence on the cost-benefit analysis for Projects of Common Interest, the European Commission and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators ( ACER ) are consulted regularly and bilaterally throughout the entire scenario building process.

How does the external stakeholder inter­action work?

The external stakeholder interaction was designed to accompany the entire scenario building process. The interaction can be generally grouped into two phases: consultation of the qualitative scenario elements in the first year of the process, and the consultation of the final scenarios – incorporating both qualitative and quantitative scenario elements – in the in the second year of the process. Consultations were preceeded by stakeholder workshops. While many similar studies or scenario development processes often hold workshops after the completion of a consultation phase, the Working Group Scenario Building felt it would be more beneficial to hold workshops prior to consultation. This gave stakeholders a better understanding of the scenarios and the opportunity to ask questions before taking part in the consultation process.

The development process is covered in detail by the material released prior to the publication of this report, the high-level process for these storylines followed the steps below:

10.1 Storyline Consultation

The initial storylines were presented for consultation in the summer of 2018. Before the beginning of the consultation, a stakeholder workshop was held in Brussels on 29 May 2018. The goal of this workshop was to introduce the five initial qualitative storylines and the storyline matrices. Stakeholders were given the opportunity to interact with members of the Working Group Scenario Building directly and to offer opinions and ask questions about the underlying assumptions for all five storylines.

After the workshop the Storyline Report was published for consultation. Respondents were asked to remark on the consistency and credibility of the five storylines and to rank the storylines according to their preferences. They were also asked about their opinions on key issues underpinning the storylines such as disruptive technologies which might play a major role in the EU energy system by 2050, the role of coal in the Energy Transition, and the potential ( or not ) of CCS to support decarbonisation. The results of the first stakeholder consultation provided some important feedback for the quantification of the scenarios.

Storyline Feedback and Storyline Selection
Feedback on Distributed Energy

The Distributed Energy storyline received the most positive feedback of the five storylines presented and was generally seen as consistent and credible. Criticism of this storyline principally revolved around possible limitations or weaknesses in the decentralised energy model. For example, the high level of electrification at the expense of gas (including low-carbon gases) was noted by several stakeholders as were concerns with maintaining security of supply with decentralised generation. Finally, several stakeholders felt that the role of distribution grids in the storyline needed to be considered in greater detail. However, this storyline was clearly the most popular among respondents.

Feedback on European Focus

The European Focus Storyline was a placeholder for an external Scenario, as requested by the European Commission in the TYNDP 2018 Scenarios. ENTSOs, European Commission and ACER have jointly decided not to use an external Scenario, but instead to align National Trends with the NECPs to the utmost possible. However, the European Focus Storyline received less direct feedback than the other storylines but was generally positively received. Several respondents noted the similarity of this storyline to the National Trends storyline and, likewise, criticised it for apparently failing to reach EU Targets. European Focus was the second-most popular storyline among respondents, narrowly ahead of National Trends and Global Ambition.

Feedback on National Trends

The consensus amongst respondents was that the storyline was both consistent and credible. Many respondents spoke of this storyline as forming a „reference“ scenario in comparison to the more ambitious top-down scenarios. Nonetheless, the lack of ambition in this scenario also drew criticism as many stakeholders (correctly) recognised that such a scenario would not achieve the necessary climate change goals by 2050. Several stakeholders also noted that adjustments to the current ETS model would be crucial to achieving climate targets and doubted whether the adjustments assumed in the National Trends storyline would be sufficient. National Trends ranked third among respondents, slightly behind European Focus and slightly ahead of Global Ambition.

Feedback on Global Ambition

The majority of stakeholders were unsatisfied with the consistency and credibility of the Global Ambition storyline. Many environmental and societal stakeholders viewed the 95 % reduction in CO₂ emissions as unrealistic, especially as this would be achieved through the global scale-up of several low-carbon technologies (PtX, CCS) which respondents considered immature today. While the global focus of the storyline received praise from some respondents, other criticised the higher levels of (renewable) energy imports that would entail. Global Ambition ranked fourth among respondents, slightly behind both European Focus and National Trends.

Feedback on Delayed Transition

The Delayed Transition storyline was by-far the least popular storyline among stakeholders who felt it lacked both consistency and, in particular, credibility. The storyline was criticised for its lack of ambition and negative message it would send if such a scenario were included in the final report. Multiple respondents noted that this scenario would entail the greatest societal costs due to the increases in global temperatures which would occur if this scenario occurred worldwide. The storyline ranked last out of the five.

The Role of CCS

As a mature but controversial technology, with the potential to support decarbonisation, stakeholders were asked for their opinion on what role CCS should play in the scenarios. Many of the respondents held a skeptical view of CCS, largely this was based on a perceived immaturity of the technology and an expected lack of social acceptance on the European mainland. On the other hand, respondents also suggested to include CCS with regard to “hard to decarbonize” sections ( such as non-energy demand or cement/fertilizer production ) and net negative emissions as also expressed by the IPCC 1.5 Special Report.

The Role of Coal

Stakeholders were asked about whether coal fired power generation would play a role in the European energy system in 2050 and, if not, which measures should be used to induce a coal phase-out. While many stakeholders believed that coal should not play any role in the future, others felt that it would continue to play at least a minor role in some countries until 2050. However, there was a general consensus that achieving EU climate change targets by 2050 would be extremely difficult if coal continued to play a major role in the energy mix. There were major discrepancies in the feedback regarding whether the coal phase-out should be policy- or economically-driven. The majority of stakeholders advocated for a policy driven approach, however many felt both policy and economy would have to play a central role in this process. Improvement of the ETS system and a greatly increased carbon price were the main policy options suggested in the consultation.

Disruptive Technologies

As part of the consultation, stakeholders were also asked their opinion on which potential disruptive technologies would have a major impact on the future European energy system. More than any other technologies, stakeholders mentioned energy storage technologies as potentially disruptive in the future. Power-to-X technologies were the second-most common response, followed by improved renewables generation technologies, smart grid technologies and CCS/CCU.

How did the Storyline Consultation influence the Scenario Building Process?

One of the central decisions made after completion of the Storyline Consultation was the final storyline selection. The Working Group Scenario Building had previously agreed to model three of the five storylines presented. This decision was made based on time and resource constraints within the group and with respect to the overall TYNDP projects and the adjacent Project of Common Interest selection process.

The Working Group Scenario Building agreed that two of the scenarios should have a higher level of climate-change ambition and remain within the Paris-compliant carbon budget calculated by CAN Europe and chosen by ENTSOG and ENTSO-E. To counterbalance these two scenarios, the third scenario should be a bottom-up scenario based on official EU and member-state data.As Distributed Energy had been the most popular storyline among respondents, it was chosen by the Working Group Scenario Building. The team also felt that Global Ambition offered the greatest contrast to Distributed Energy from an infrastructure-perspective and that the creation of a centralised, import-focused scenario juxtaposed especially well the decentralised, EU-focused narrative of Distributed Energy. Global Ambition also had a higher level of decarbonisation ambition than European Focus (although European Focus had been slightly more popular among external stakeholders).

As European Focus had been so popular among external stakeholders, the Working Group Scenario Building felt it should also be taken into account in the scenario development. Both the Working Group Scenario Building and external stakeholders had noticed the similarity between National Trends and European Focus and most of the key parameters of the two storylines were combined in the development of National Trends. In order to ensure alignment with the aims of the European Focus storyline and as jointly decided with the European Commission and ACER, the National Trends scenario was aligned with data from the National Energy and Climate Plans ( NECP ) of the EU member states.

Although ACER favoured the inclusion of the Delayed Transition storyline in the final Scenario Report, both the European Commission and the majority of external stakeholders were extremely critical of this. Moreover, ENTSOG and ENTSO-E take energy infrastructure readiness for the required energy transition for inevitable and therefore focus their TYNDP on the assessment of projects in compliance with national and EU-wide climate targets. Therefore, the Working Group Scenario Building decided it would be intransparent to include such a widely unpopular storyline in the final report.

10.2 Draft Scenario Report Consultation

The second phase of external stakeholder consultation began after the presentation of the Draft Report on 5 December 2019. The goals of the second external stakeholder consultation were far broader than during the first consultation. To this end, the consultation questionnaire was more detailed and entailed questions with two different broad foci:

  • Presentation of data and engagement with external stakeholders
  • Consistency and credibility of the scenarios, the methods used and their ambition

The Working Group Scenario Building received 42 direct responses to the consultation (this does not include bilateral or non-consultation feedback from institutions such as the European Commission and ACER). More than half of these came from project promoters, researchers and NGOs, showing the high level of engagement these organisations were able to achieve in the scenario building process.

Presentation of data and engagement with ­stakeholders

The majority of stakeholders were satisfied with the presentation and level of explanation provided by the Working Group Scenario Building. In particular the use of visualisation tools was praised for making the data sets more accessible, although some respondents still felt that better access to the raw data was needed to fully comprehend the scenarios. Stakeholders expressed less satisfaction with the level of engagement by the Working Group Scenario Building, however it should be noted that almost half of all respondents failed to answer the questions on this topic. The principal concerns regarding the stakeholder engagement process related to the timing of the final consultation period and the communication of its goals. Some respondents felt the second consultation occurred too late in the process. Indeed, several stakeholders mistakenly believed that the results of the TYNDP 2020 Scenario Report would be utilised for the 4th Project of Common Interest List  (released in October 2019 and confirmed by the European Parliament in February 2020) and therefore criticised the apparent lateness of the stakeholder consultation in this respect. The Working Group Scenario Building also noted that communication of the Scenario Methodology Report (published in parallel to the main report and available at ENTSOG and ENTSO-E TYNDP Scenario Report microsite) was apparently less successful than for the main Draft Scenario Report as many of the stakeholders questions regarding the scenario building process had been addressed in the Scenario Methodology Report. It is clear that in the 2022 scenario building process, greater emphasis should be placed on explaining and presenting the Scenario Methodology Report to stakeholders.

Consistency and credibility of the ­scenarios, the methods used, and their ambition

The vast majority of respondents agreed that the scenarios should use EU 2030 and 2050 climate change targets as a minimum standard. There was also general agreement that the National Trends scenario should be based on data from the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of the EU-28, although, as the Working Group Scenario Building also noted, this approach can create discrepancies between national energy and climate policies that undermine EU-wide decarbonisation measures.

The use of a carbon budget for the Distributed Energy and Global Ambition scenarios was widely regarded as a positive step. However, many respondents, especially those from environmental NGOs, found the scenarios were still too conservative and requested more extreme scenarios with greater levels of decarbonisation or completely excluding certain energy carriers from the models. Furthermore, several respondents felt that the Global Ambition and Distributed Energy scenarios did not differ sufficiently to provide truly alternative visions of the Energy Transition in 2050.

Several respondents also felt the levels of biomass and natural gas demand, especially in the Distributed Energy scenario were too high. They also argued that the use of CCS and, to a lesser extent, LULUCF to compensate for these fossil fuels in the energy mix was not credible considering the high decarbonisation ambitions attached to these scenarios.

How did the Draft Scenario Report ­consultation influence the Final Scenario Report 2020?

As the Working Group Scenario Building themselves noted, it will be necessary to restructure the timeline for the 2022 Scenario Report to ensure that the delays which occurred late in the 2020 process are not repeated. Certain respondents suggested shortening the storyline selection phase early in the process to allow more time for modelling. The Working Group Scenario Building will take this suggestion on board in the 2022 process. Respondents also requested better access to data sets in order to gain a better understanding of the process. The Working Group Scenario Building noted this concern and will endeavour to transparency of data sets in the 2022 Scenario Report and to allow stakeholders to view the core assumptions and parameters used to build the scenarios. To ensure that stakeholders can retain the high level of engagement in the early stages of the process, the Working Group Scenario Building suggest including key assumptions and parameters in the first external consultation phase in addition to the qualitative storyline elements.

In order to take into account feedback received on a lack of difference between the top-down scenarios, the considerable use of biomass, and a perceived lack of ambition in the electrification and RES development, the Working Group Scenario Building made the decision to update the Scenarios.

– National Trends

For National Trends, ENTSOG has run an additional data collection with its members to collect information from the final NECPs. Moreover, latest policy decisions have been taken into account, such as for the German coal-phase out or the Dutch gas production. Update of data compliant with the final NECPs and German Coal phase out. Updates on policies are also taken into account for Distributed Energy and Global Ambition.

– Global Ambition

The gas demand for Global Ambition in 2050 has been re-computed following a linear extrapolation of the development between 2025 and 2040 – with a new total gas demand of 3,800 TWh for Global Ambition.

– Distributed Energy

Gas demand: The gas demand for Distributed Energy in 2050 has been re-computed following a linear extrapolation of the development between 2025 and 2040 – with a new total gas demand of 3,000 TWh for Distributed Energy.

Bioenergy: Distributed Energy has been updated in the final report for the years 2040 and 2050. This was done by limiting the overall use of biomass to 2,424 TWh in 2040 and 2,757 TWh in 2050 in line with the 2,442–2,907 TWh range of the 1.5LIFE and 1.5TECH scenarios of the European Commission Long Term Strategy. The energy production deficit which resulted from this was compensated by an increase in electrification levels.

Biomass use was reduced by 26 % in the residential and tertiary sectors, by 80 % in the mobility sector and by 30 % in the industry. This has been compensated by an increase in direct electrification combined with P2L in transport according to the following table:

Electricity demand increase by sector (TWh)20402050
– Direct electrification
– Power-to-Liquid

Table 7: Electricity demand increase in Distributed Energy

This additional electricity demand triggered an increase of dispatchable generation and the additional development of 740 and 1,415 GW of RES respectively in 2040 and 2050.

Additional RES for direct electrification have been modelled as part of the electricity system while the dedicated RES for P2L have been modelled outside the electricity system according to the P2G approach.