What does it take to deliver our Future Energy Scenarios?

We spoke to Lauren Moody who works in our Future of Energy Scenarios (FES) team as Energy Insights & Analysis Senior Manager. With our 2021 FES due to be published in the next few weeks, Lauren tells us what goes into delivering it… 

How long have you worked for National Grid and how did your progress into your position? 

I joined almost ten years ago from E.ON  When I joined National Grid I was actually working in this team as the Energy Demand Manager. Several roles (and years) later I’m back in the team which feels amazing. Some of the original team members are still here too.

What does an Energy Insights & Analysis Senior Manager do and how do you manage FES? 

Our team is made up of analysts, data scientists and insights. It takes all of us one year to complete the FES cycle and deliver our publication each July. FES isn’t all we do of course. But it’s probably the most visible externally.

At present we’re totally focussed on preparing for the FES 2021 launch in July. After we deliver FES 2021, and all enjoy a well-earned holiday, we’ll start the cycle again with stakeholder engagement, research, analysis and testing. 

Our Future Energy Scenarios represent a range of different, credible ways to decarbonise our energy system as we strive towards the 2050 net zero target. FES is used widely across industry including government, academics and other energy companies. The ESO uses the scenarios for network investment decisions and they are publicly available to facilitate discussion on the future of the grid and the energy demand on it. 

FES is more challenging than ever before to create. When we first started in 2011, we’d mainly focus on planning organic growth of the network - slow and planned increase in energy demand. Fast forward a decade and we have more scenarios and challenges.

With our net zero ambitions the changes we need to see will be at an unprecedented level. To meet net zero, actions have to be taken and it brings additional challenges such as how a zero-carbon energy system may behave.  

What factors do you have to be aware of when working on and delivering FES? 

The level of uncertainty and the impact on consumers and policy are most important to me.

We need to capture the right range of uncertainty and possible outcomes to provide valuable insight. This is more important than ever as so many more aspects on our energy landscape are changing, from how the energy is provided and stored and transported to how and when it is consumed.

We provide clear assumptions that underpin our scenarios. This allows other to use the scenarios to provoke debate and inform policy decisions.

Early planning is vital. It takes a long time to build wind farms and networks for example. We know that we’re aiming for net zero and that we’re going to see a huge rise in the number of electric cars on the roads. We need to start planning for this now rather than tomorrow. Well informed planning and considered analysis will help up ensure that the networks are efficient and prepared for net zero.

How has the pandemic impacted your role and FES2021? 

We've quickly had to adopt new technology and adapt to get the job done. We're a large collaborative team and all of the aspects of the scenarios interact with each other. No one can work in a silo in our team. It’s also affected how we're engaging our stakeholders - all of this is remote now. The move to more remote meetings has actually allowed us to engage and collaborate with more people than ever. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and I really want to say thank you to everyone who continues to engage with us and show interest in our scenarios.

Whilst there's nothing as effective as a brainstorming session in a physical room with a whiteboard, the ability to connect virtually instead of physically travelling to meet people has allowed us to engage with more people more quickly.

Find out more about our Future Energy Scenarios

FES 2021 will be published on Monday 12 July.  We are holding a series of webinars during the week to share FES 2021. You will need to register in advance to attend.

Register for our FES webinars