Scenario description and storylines

To ensure consistency between successive TYNDP reports, it is necessary to preserve the scenarios essence to some degree. Therefore, the 2020 scenarios build on the 2018 scenarios. However, the energy landscape is continuously evolving, and scenarios must keep up with the main drivers and trends influencing the energy system.

Storyline drivers

ENTSOG and ENTSO-E identified two main drivers to develop their scenario storylines: Decarbonisation and centralisation/decentralisation. Decarbonisation refers to the decline in total GHG emissions while centralisation/decentralisation refers to the spatial set-up of the energy system, such as the share of large/small scale electricity generation (offshore wind vs. solar PV) or the share of indigenous renewable gases (biomethane and P2G) vs. share of decarbonised gas imports (either pre- or post-combustive). Figure 4 illustrates the relation of the two key drivers for all three scenarios.

For the short and medium-term, the scenarios include a “Best Estimate” scenario (bottom-up data including a merit order sensitivity between coal and gas in 2025). For the longer term, they include three different storylines to reflect increasing uncertainties.

  • For 2020 and 2025, all scenarios are based on bottom-up data from the TSOs called the “Best Estimate” Scenario and reflecting current national and European regulations. A sensitivity analysis regarding the merit order of coal and gas in the power sector is included for 2025 following stakeholder input regarding the uncertainty on prices, even in the short term. These are described as 2025 Coal Before Gas (CBG) and 2025 Gas Before Coal (GBC).
  • National Trends keeps its bottom-up characteristics, taking into account TSOs’ best knowledge of the gas and electricity sectors in compliance with the NECPs. Country-specific data was collected for 2030 and 2040 (when available for electricity) in compliance with the TYNDP timeframe. For gas, further assumptions have been made to compute the demand for 2050 on an EU28-level.
  • Distributed Energy and Global Ambition are built as full energy scenarios (all sectors, all fuels) with top-down methodologies. Both scenarios aim at reaching the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement following the carbon budget approach. They are developed on a country-level until 2040 and on an EU28-level until 2050.
Figure 4

Figure 4: Key drivers of Scenario Storylines

The storylines for 2030 and 2040/2050 are:

National Trends (NT)
is the central bottom-up scenario in line with the NECPs in accordance with the governance of the energy union and climate action rules, as well as on further national policies and climate targets already stated by the EU member states. Following its fundamental principles, NT is compliant with the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Framework (32 % renewables, 32.5 % energy efficiency) and EC 2050 Long-Term Strategy with an agreed climate target of 80–95 % CO₂ reduction compared to 1990 levels.

National Trends relies on data provided by the latest submissions of country specific NECPs for 2030 at the freeze date of the data. Where, in particular for 2040, NECPs do not provide sufficient information or necessary granularity, National Trends is based on TSOs’ best knowledge in compliance with national long-term climate and energy strategies.

Global Ambition (GA)
is a scenario compliant with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement also considering the EU’s climate targets for 2030. It looks at a future that is led by development in centralised generation. Economies of scale lead to significant cost reductions in emerging technologies such as offshore wind, but also imports of energy from competitive sources are considered as a viable option.

Distributed Energy (DE)
is a scenario compliant with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement also considering the EU’s climate targets for 2030. It embraces a de-centralised approach to the energy transition. A key feature of the scenario is the role of the energy consumer (prosumer), who actively participates in the energy market and helps to drive the system’s decarbonisation by investing in small-scale solutions and circular approaches. Based on stakeholders’ feedback on the Draft Scenario Report, a part of biomass usages has been transferred to both P2L and direct electricity consumption resulting in an updated Storyline Central Matrix. The updated scenario comes very close to 1.5 TECH/LIFE scenario of the European Commission for most of the parameters.

For more information on the development of the Scenario Storylines and how the stakeholder feedback has been taken into account please refer to section “Stakeholder Feedback”.

CategoryCriteria2040 Scenarios
National TrendsGlobal AmbitionDistributed Energy
Primary mixCoal--------
Biomass *o+++
Natural gas------
Wind onshore++++++++
Wind offshore++++++++
Wind for P2G and P2L **o++++ *
Solar for P2G and P2L+++++
Imported Green Liquid Fuel++++
Energy Imports------
High temperature HeatTotal Demand (all energy)o--
Electricity Demand++++
Gas Demand++o
Low temperature HeatTotal Demand (all energy)-----
Electricity Demand++++++
Gas Demand----
TransportTotal demand-----
Electricity Demand++++++
Power and LightingGas Demand++++
Electricity Demando--
Change from today
---Not available
--Moderate ­Reduction
-Low ­Reduction
+Low growth
++Moderate growth
+++High growth

* biomass use in National Trends is very close to current use and the evolution has been reduced to”Stable” compared to the Draft Scenario Report. For Distributed Energy scenario, the substitution of biomass by direct electrification and P2L has resulted in an update of the evolution from “­Moderate growth” to “Low growth”.

** For Distributed Energy scenario, the substitution of biomass by direct electrification and P2L supplied with additional RES has resulted in an update of the evolution from “Moderate growth” to “High growth”.

Table 2: Storyline Central Matrix

Scenario Building Central Matrix

The Scenario Building Central Matrix is a tool used to identify the key elements of the storylines. The Central Matrix enables creation of scenarios that are consistent along a pathway, yet differentiated from other storylines.

The Central Matrix is a table that can provide an EU-wide qualitative overview of key drivers for the European energy system in 2050. The matrix uses +/– indicators to show how primary energy mix and final energy use change compared to sectors are assumed to change from today. It is important to note that country level and/or regional differences will be present, when compared to the EU-28 figures, the differences are driven by factors such as national policy, geographical and/or technical resource constraints.

To understand the matrix notation, the following assumptions must be considered:

  • The growth or reduction indications are in relation to what is seen today, but also in relation to the rates observed within that category in comparison to the other scenarios. For example, compared to today, solar generation is expected to increase significantly in all scenarios from today, but only receives a +++ in Distributed Energy.
  • Equally, growth and reduction rates across the different categories are not directly comparable. For example, two categories with ++ rating may differ significantly in their actual percentage increase from today, based on the starting point and ultimate potential.

Where storyline parameters have been updated based on consultation feedback on the Draft Scenario Report, the initial values are mentioned as footnotes.

Further information on how to read the Central Matrix can be found in the annex document Scenario Methodology Report.

Res-E (wind/solar/hydro)n/a19 %
8 %
20 %
29 %
14 %
21 %
32 %
10 %
21 %
29 %
12 %
21 %
42 %
18 %
21 %
45 %
13 %
16 %
42 %
15 %
16 %
54 %
19 %
23 %
50 %
15 %
29 %
Direct Electrificationn/an/a29 %27 %n/a45 %35 %n/a54 %41 %n/a
Res-G (biomethane/P2G)1 %1 %6 %
3 %
5 %
0 %
4 %
0 %
18 %
17 %
12 %
6 %
12 %
1 %
33 %
32 %
19 %
11 %
Decarbonisation of gas supply1 %1 %12 %11 %4 %47 %46 %13 %86 %86 %n/a
Gas import share78 %85 %79 %83 %84 %60 %78 %83 %35 %70 %n/a

Figure 5: The TYNDP 2018 scenarios for 2030 and 2040 are defined by three storylines