Planning the Future: What REN21 is doing to build the energy system of tomorrow

In order to reach goals set by the Paris Agreement in 2015, planning needs to happen now. This especially applies to electricity grids, whose long project time-scales and huge investments call for the right decisions today to build the grid of tomorrow. One key way to influence the planning process is by building highly ambitious yet achievable energy scenarios that will pave the way for a successful renewable energy transition.


Not only that, it is crucial to engage all types of actors in this process, from grid planners to civil society concerned with huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to reach our goals. Tapping into civil society expertise will ensure that the scenario properly reflects what is needed to be successful.


To contribute to the planning effort, REN21 kicked off the Paris Agreement Compatible (PAC) project, a collaborative effort on energy scenario development and modelling. We formed a consortium along with the Renewables Grid Initiative , Climate Action Network Europe and the European Environment Bureau.


The consortium’s main goal is to use a collaborative approach to develop a PAC scenario with civil society. The PAC scenario developed in this project will target a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, 100% renewable energy in Europe by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2040. The final scenario will include generation and demand alongside climate data that stipulates a carbon budget and carbon price. Both the European Transmission System Network Operators for Electricity and for Gas (ENTSO-E, ENTSOG) support the PAC project and will provide consultation on the scenario proposed.


The PAC Consortium is regularly hosting Scenario and Modelling workshops. In Scenario workshops, participants focus on the civil society perspective and discuss assumptions on energy generation mix, consumption patterns, pricing and technology. The next Scenario workshop takes place on October 9 in Brussels. Each Modellers’ exchange workshop targets a specific challenge in modelling the energy system, and are attended by technical experts. The next Modellers’ exchange workshop will take place on October 16 in Brussels.


It is important to involve civil society in these processes in order to align the scenario with needs of the general public and to ensure investments are made into the right assets that avoid stranded investments or carbon lock-in. This particular collaboration is taking place until December 2020, but the hope is to inspire and support the development of similar scenario building processes around the world. 



The PAC Consortium is a collaborative initiative that includes REN21, the Renewables Grid Initiative, Climate Action Network Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau. In addition to the upcoming workshop events on October 9 and 16, the PAC consortium aims to hold an event in mid-2020 at which all interested stakeholders can provide input to a draft of the PAC-scenario. To get in involved, email Duncan Gibb: Check here for more information