UKERC Energy 2050 Scenarios

The project relied heavily on the use of interlinked models. These including the energy systems UK MARKAL Elastic Demand model, as well as sectoral models in the electricity and gas sectors (CGEN, WASP) and end-use buildings and transport sectors (UKDCM, UKTCM).

Two datasets are presented here.

The "original" set cover all 32 scenarios listed below.  Please reference this data source as:
Strachan N., Anandarajah G., Hughes N., and Ekins P. (2010). UKERC Energy 2050 energy systems scenario data, UKERC Energy Data Centre, http://ukerc.rl.ac.uk/DC (formerly http://ukedc.rl.ac.uk).

The "revised" set covers 16 of these scenarios with modifications, and includes graphical summaries. Reference this data source as: Keppo I Skea J. and Ekins P. (2013) UK Energy 2050 Revised Scenario Set Data UKERC Energy Data Centre http://ukerc.rl.ac.uk/DC (formerly http://ukedc.rl.ac.uk)

Any use made of this data should acknowledge the UKERC Energy Systems Theme.

The table below lists the UKERC Energy 2050 scenarios, report chapters, scenario names (and alternate names from earlier reports) and an overview description of key features.

Name Scenario Previous names Description of Key Features
CORE SCENARIOS (Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12)
REF Reference Base Only policies as of 2008 Energy Bill; No CO2 price
LC Low carbon CAM, LC Core 80% 26% CO2 reduction by 2020 (CCC interim target equivalent), exponentially extrapolated to -80% by 2050 (118MtCO2)
CARBON REDUCTION (Chapters 5, 12)
LC-40 Faint-heart CFH 15% CO2 reduction by 2020, extrapolated to -40% by 2050 (355MtCO2)
LC-60 Low-carbon-60 CLC, LC Core 60% 26% CO2 reduction by 2020, extrapolated to -60% by 2050 (237MtCO2)
LC-90 Super ambition CSAM 32% CO2 reduction by 2020 (CCC intended target equivalent), extrapolated to -90% by 2050 (59MtCO2)
LC-EA Early action CEA 32% CO2 reduction by 2020 (CCC intended target equivalent), extrapolated to -80% by 2050 (118MtCO2)
LC-LCP Least-cost path CCP Same cumulative emissions as LC-EA (19.24GtCO2), but a least-cost cumulative path
LC-SO Socially optimal least-cost path CCSP Same cumulative emissions as LC-EA (19.24GtCO2), with a least-cost cumulative path, and social discount rate (3.5%)
RESILIENT SCENARIOS (Chapters 4, 6, 12)
R Resilient   Primary energy resilience – 40% market share per fuel; Electricity generation and capacity resilience – 40% maximum market share per technology class; Final energy resilience – 3.2% p.a. reduction from 2010
LCR Low-Carbon Resilient   Combination of LC and R scenarios
ACCELERATED TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (Chapters 7, 12)
LC-Acctech Accelerated technology   As LC (80% CO2 reduction by 2050), with acceleration of all low carbon supply technologies
LC-Renew Accelerated renewables   As LC (80% CO2 reduction by 2050), with acceleration of renewable technologies
LC-60 Acctech LC-60 accelerated technology   As LC-60 (60% CO2 reduction by 2050), with acceleration of all low carbon supply technologies
LC-60 Renew LC-60 accelerated renewables   As LC-60 (60% CO2 reduction by 2050), with acceleration of renewable technologies
LC-60 Bio LC-60 accelerated biomass   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – selective bio energy chain improvements based around: Bioengineering (a doubling of average energy crop yield by 2050); Agro-machinery (increasing yield of energy crops); Gasification technology (reduced capital costs and improved availability); Ligno-cellulosic ethanol (reduced capital and O&M costs, and increased efficiency): Fast pyrolysis (bio-oil process and quality improvements for  reduced capital and O&M costs)
LC-60 CCS LC-60 accelerated carbon capture and storage   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – reduced off-shore storage costs for depleted oil and gas fields and saline aquifers. Same CCS plant costsm, as model data for LC scenario already considered optimistic
LC-60 Nuclear LC-60 accelerated nuclear   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – moderately lower costs, higher load factors, improved efficiencies and earlier availabilities for Gen III, III+ and IV fission plant. Gen. III technology available from 2017 for an first-of-a-kind (FOAK) plant, with next-of-a-kind (NOAK) plants from 2020
LC-60 FC LC-60 accelerated fuel cells   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – PEM fuel cell stack cost reductions for bus and car modes; natural gas (SOFC-CHP, MCFC-CHP) and hydrogen (PEMFC -CHP ) cost reductions for electricity generation
LC-60 Marine LC-60 accelerated marine   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – supported niche learning on marine energy giving capital costs for wave and tidal of around 1100/kW by 2015. After 2015 to 2050, annual cost reductions from global learning rate of 10%
LC-60 PV LC-60 accelerated photo-voltaics   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – worldwide R&D efforts, policy support and market developments for advanced learning rates for 1st gen. crystalline silicon, 2nd gen. thin film module technologies and 3rd gen. organic PV, leading to capital cost range of (600-200)/kW by 2050
LC-60 Wind LC-60 accelerated wind   As LC-60, with exogenous technology narrative – higher UK onshore wind capacity of 18GW; raised offshore wind learning rates (of 10%) equivalent to  investment cost reduction rate of 3% p.a. to 2020, and 1% p.a. post 2020
ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES (Chapters 10, 12)
LC-DREAD DREAD   LC with narrative on unfamiliar technologies constrained – 10GW onshore wind, 80GW offshore wind, no tidal barrage, 30.4GW nuclear, 10.5GW CCS, total biomass resource only  37% of Ref scenario and restricted to transport only
LC-ECO ECO   LC with narrative on technologies that impinge on ecosystem services constrained – 10GW onshore wind, 80GW offshore wind, no tidal barrage, 13.5TWh pa tidal stream, 37.5TWh pa wave. No open cast coal mines from 2010, total domestic bio-energy resource only 11% of Ref scenario and restricted to end-use heat and power only (no bio-transport), no imported bio-fuel, high fossil fuel prices
LC-NIMBY NIMBY   LC with narrative on technologies with high local impact constrained – no nuclear, no CCS, no hydrogen
ENERGY LIFESTYLES (Chapters 9, 12)
LS-REF Reference lifestyle LS REF An iterative linkage with the UK MARKAL and sectoral UKDCM and UKTCM model to model lifestyle drivers.
Residential: internal demand temperature peaks at 20C in 2010, then stabilises at 17C in 2025, demolition rate remain at 17,000 pa, whilst new build stabilises at 120,000 pa, air conditioning remains negligible, hot-water use falls linearly by 1.25% annually from 2010 to 2050, electricity for lights and appliances stabilizes in 2014 and then decreases by 58% in 2050, full penetration of cavity wall insulation by 2020 and loft top-up by 2040, increased use of external solid wall insulation (35%) and cladding walls (37%), wall insulation delivers U-values of 0.25 and windows 0.8 (ie best practice), no new conventional heating systems post 2030, district CHP take-up between 10% and 25% by 2050, micro CHP take-up between 10% and 60% by 2050, heat pump take-up between 10% and 60% by 2050, micro biomass limited to 20%, solar thermal on 50% of dwellings by 2050, solar PV panels on 15% of dwellings by 2050, micro-wind turbines on 5% of dwellings by 2050
Transport:  Mode shift of 74% reduction in distance travelled by car, 12% fall in HGVs , 184% increase in bus travel, shift to cycling and walking; specific load factors also increase relative to the reference case for cars (about 23%), LGV and HGV; drivers practice eco-driving with an average 8% improvement in fuel efficiency;, more favourable preferences (hurdle rates) and performance parameters (but keeping cost factors the same) for battery electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
LS-LC Low-carbon lifestyle LS LC As LS-REF with 80% CO2 reduction by 2050
GLOBAL SENSITIVITIES (Chapters 11, 12)
LC-HI High fossil prices CAM-HI As LC, but with high fossil fuel price imports
LCR-HI Resilient high fossil priced LCR-HI As LCR, but with high fossil fuel price imports
LC-CC Central cost credits CAM-CC As LC, but with CCC central cost and availability of international emissions credits (from CCC)
LCR-CC Resilient central cost credits LCR-CC As LCR, but with central cost and availability of international emissions credits (from CCC)
LC-HI-LC  High prices/cheap credits CAM-HI-LC As LC, but with high fossil fuel price imports, and low cost (central availability) of international emissions credits (from CCC). This represents a “best case” for the UK from international drivers
LCR-NB Resilient/no credits/no biomass imports LCR-NB As LCR (resilience constraints, central fossil fuel prices, no emissions credits) and with no biomass imports). This represents a “worst case” for the UK from international drivers