Potential Game Changers
On the way to reach a carbon neutral Europe, some pathways can be predicted and planned, and they are part of this Vision. However some others can only emerge later in time as a result of disruptive and highly impacting factors such as technology breakthroughs, geopolitical changes, environmental or socio-economic events, or natural resources availability. This is what we call “game changers”.
For a more comprehensive perspective of the System of Systems picture, ENTSO-E has analysed some potential technological and socio-economic game changers that could materialise and imply a change in the transition roadmap.
In principle, they can have positive, negative, or mixed consequences on the energy system as a whole. This means they can represent either an opportunity or a challenge for the roadmap. Following a comprehensive screening, eight potential factors have been prioritised and assessed.
In terms of impact, probability and conditions for them to materialise, the more interesting are
- Deep Digitalisation, already underway, but to an extent and impact not fully predictable for the long term.
- Cheap Storage applications for all use cases, following significant investments and R&D efforts, if achieved will reduce the relevance of other flexibility forms and speed up the transition.
Possible game changers to follow closely:
- Prosumers and Microgrids impacting market patterns, reducing grid flows, supporting grid operation and resilience through multi-level control philosophy.
- Hydrogen uptake, that will need to increase in order to provide the required long duration flexibilities.
Other game changers with less probability or impact can be:
- Superconductivity is subject to further developments and should find application in specific use cases but not chang- ing fundamentally grid planning and operation.
- Supergrid & Imports: the concept could materialise for bulk exchanges with neighbouring countries if geopolitical conditions will allow it.
- Nuclear fission, reducing the need for long duration flexibility, will likely remain country-dependent and not a pan-European policy; nuclear fusion is still for the very long term.
- Carbon Capture: in the short term not mature / cost-effective technologies; in the long term not consistent with the phasing out of fossil industry processes.