We have used ESME and its outputs to produce scenarios for use internally, by our membership and with wider stakeholders. This is to facilitate a conversation around the potential pathways for UK decarbonisation. In developing these scenarios we have engaged frequently with our members and stakeholders, so the outputs have been crafted in collaboration with private companies, public sector bodies, academics and other experts in energy strategy.
A variety of energy system pathways are possible to meet the UK’s 2050 emissions targets. We cannot represent every possible evolution of the UK energy system in two scenarios, but the other possible outcomes that are similar to the highlighted Clockwork and Patchwork scenarios in this analysis represent a significant part of the cost effective design space.
Recent experience has shown how hard it is to forecast what will happen even over the short term, let alone out to 2050. The two scenarios described in this book should not be read as predictions or forecasts of the most probable outcomes. They are both plausible and affordable but require considerable co-ordination and planning as well as consumer and social engagement.
The two scenarios we have selected illustrate key lessons we have learned. Within the two scenarios we have captured the technologies that are likely to be important in cost effective UK system designs, as well as some that are more expensive but may have popular support.
We intend for these scenarios to stimulate debate about the choices the UK must make and the actions the country needs to take. This is not to imply that the options for the UK are restricted to a simple two way choice. However, technologies that consistently appear across a broad range of scenarios and are resilient to sensitivity analysis warrant prioritisation in preparing for transition.