In this paper, we apply two global Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) and one detailed European electricity system model to explore the consequences of different narrative-based low-carbon scenarios on the electricity system from the global to national scale. The narratives are based on insights from socio-technical transition analysis on niche-innovations. The main aim of this exercise is to examine the solution space in low-carbon scenarios for electricity supply from the global to national scale, which is largely neglected when focusing on cost-optimal solutions only.
We show that taking into account insights from socio-technical transition analysis can have large impacts on the projected transition strategy, especially regarding relatively costly technologies that currently have a high momentum. For instance, we find that the share of offshore wind in electricity generation in Europe is less than 3% or up to 27% by 2050, depending on the underlying narrative.
These ranges are useful input for policy-makers, as they show the degree of flexibility in mitigation options. Furthermore, our analysis shows that combining IAMs with more detailed sectoral models illuminates the challenges on a more detailed geographical scale, for instance regarding storage requirements and the need for interconnectivity across European borders.
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