Scottish whole energy system scenarios

To deliver Scotland’s target of net zero emissions by 2045, the Scottish Government has set out a series of sector specific policies and measures, collated and summarised in the 2020 Update to the Climate Change Plan (CCPu).

This project has developed a set of Scotland-specific whole energy system scenarios, nested in and consistent with the wider UK transition. These scenarios demonstrate three qualitatively different routes for Scotland to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, allowing different choices and potential implications to be explored. 

The three scenarios met Scotland’s annual, interim (2030) and net zero (2045) GHG targets over the modelled period 2020-2050, through different combinations of technology innovation and societal change:

  1. The Technology (TEC) scenario is able to remove significant amounts of CO2 by direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) used to produce hydrogen and electricity. This reduced the level of societal change necessary to meet targets thus minimising the impact on people’s lifestyles.
  2. The lower energy demands assumed in the Societal Change (SOC) scenario meant targets were achievable with far lower amounts of biomass and engineered removals of CO2. In addition, shifts in diet from red meat and dairy, combined with ambitious programmes of peatland restoration and afforestation, meant land use became a net GHG sink.
  3. Balanced Options (BOP) combined some technology innovation with some degree of societal change to meet GHG targets in a more balanced way than TEC or SOC.

To meet Scotland’s 2030 GHG target, rapid decarbonisation of the energy system is needed in all modelled scenarios.