National Grid is no longer using ‘Gone Green’ as one of the four ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ it uses in long term planning for the network. It has changed to a scenario, named ‘Two Degrees’, that meets the UK’s 2050 carbon reduction target, but does not meet the 2020 renewables target.
National Grid said the Gone Green scenario had evolved significantly since the FES started in 2011. The SO now says, “There has been a shift from a focus on renewable technologies to low carbon technologies, and in FES 2016 the scenario no longer met the 2020 renewables target (whilst still meeting the 2050 carbon reduction target).”
The Two Degrees scenario is the only one of the four in which the UK meets its 2050 low carbon targets (and is also the only one where the smart meter rollout is completed on schedule). The change continues a shift in National Grid’s scenarios in which strict green and renewables targets are replaced by a broader low-carbon agenda and by growing consumer influence.
Although Gone Green, which assumes “long term environmental policy certainty and a society actively engaged in going green”, had previously been a constant, in its 2015 edition National Grid stopped using a Low Carbon Life scenario, in which green targets were delivered through “purchasing power and macro policy”. Instead it introduced Consumer Power, in which consumerism drives behaviour and green or low-carbon goals are not necessarily met.
The System Operator has also renamed the ‘No Progression’ scenario as ‘Steady State’, saying that better reflected a scenario in which current levels of progress and innovation are reflected out to 2050. In the fourth scenario, dubbed Slow Progression, society is engaged in going green, but choices and policy interventions are constrained by affordability.
The SO will discuss the 2017 scenarios in a meeting on Thursday. In its description of the new Two Degrees scenario, it said consumers make conscious choices to be greener and can afford technology to support it. There is a collective ambition to decarbonise the economy and high taxes are levied on those who continue to use carbon-intensive options, such as conventional gas for heating. There is low carbon transport and technology and investment is focused on low carbon generation, with the highest levels from sources such as solar, wind and nuclear generation.