We believe that there are aspects of decarbonising the whole energy system that are driven mainly by local factors. These cannot be fully understood using only a top-down assessment framework and we are increasingly focusing on more granular regional outputs. This is both as part of our modelling and through the insights we provide to the industry.  

We are hopeful that the drive for regionalisation in our National Grid ESO Future Energy Scenarios will support understanding of future energy policy at a local level. We are also hopeful it will simplify and optimise the interface with the more bottom-up scenarios currently developed by gas and electricity network companies, such as the DFES, which we will be using to enrich future iterations of FES and further development of the regional breakdown of the GB scenarios. This will build upon and enhance the information we currently produce and publish such as the regional datasets that are used in the Electricity Ten Year Statement process. 

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Regional insights from the 2022 FES

In this document we summarise what the key insights were from a regional perspective from this year’s FES publication as well as provide further information about where you can find more detailed regional data and our next steps in regionalising our scenarios. 


Regional FES Explainer

Thus far, we have developed our regional modelling by analysing the demand and supply at GB level, then breaking this forecast down based on regional assumptions. Our ambition is to start modelling at a regional level, where relevant, so that the GB-wide forecast becomes the summation of regional results. The explainer document breaks down how we’re changing, why we are pursuing a regional focus, and how regionalisation can be used.

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Regional Modelling in FES

We have recently (March 2022) published the second part of the regional modelling in FES thought piece building on the first article which we published in December 2021. This new thought piece continues to explore our heat decarbonisation modelling as well as presenting the main drivers for regional variations in low carbon heating technology deployment between now and 2035.

Lake Windermere

Public First research on Regional System Planning

The ESO commissioned the research consultancy Public First to conduct an extensive programme of engagement with representatives from institutions involved in the local energy network planning to understand how the system works for stakeholders today and where the gaps exist. The report below summarises their findings. 

  • Better insights for better decisions:  Strengthen GB insights with regional outputs and a coherent set of whole system scenarios, through enhancing regional assumptions and modelling (including better reflection of local factors, technological and fuel differences, increasing accuracy of models with spatial and temporal variations), to provide better information for policy and transmission investment decisions, which are a key enabler of Net zero
  • More consistent and transparent outputs: Providing customers with clear, consistent and comparable scenarios, developed through cross-industry collaboration, where modelling differences will be easily understood, and the data easily compared and shared
  • Greater granularity for targeted solutions:  Be able to anticipate regional operability issues on the transmission system with enhanced regional data and provide greater support for conversations with industry stakeholders

Engagement has taken place with key stakeholders to explore a range of subjects; looking at how data and insights from FES is used, what is most important and useful, what are the key considerations for Regional FES and how can it support delivery of business plans with local stakeholders.

Key insight received from the engagement:

  • A more granular view of whole system scenarios would be welcomed, and agree it would increase the robustness of FES
  • A need to ensure scenario creation is coordinated and that there isn’t a duplication of effort
  • A need for transparency of the assumptions driving the regionalisation of the GB FES
  • Broad support for closer collaboration on the creation of more granular scenarios
  • Interactive tools can make it easier to use FES outputs to generate relevant insights
  • A better view of technology uptake and consumer/customer trends at regional level will improve understanding of the impact of the GB FES

The findings gathered from these discussions have led us to where we are today and our planned next steps.

We have already produced some of our analysis on a regional level:

Our engagement continues throughout the year with the following:

  • Continuing engagement with our FES stakeholders
  • Explore fuel interactions and new whole system insights
  • Broadening engagement to bring in new voices and perspectives
  • Increased alignment with FES and other regional scenario projections
  • Move to bottom up approach across our gas, electricity and hydrogen modelling