Summary for each sensitivity

This section covers the main conclusions for each sensitivity run. We provide insights on offshore wind, photovoltaic efficiency, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), industry flexibility, carbon storage limitation and the carbon reduction trajectory. All sensitivity runs are based on the Electrification scenario, except the sensitivities on adding only wind offshore or SMRs to the Central scenario and except the Near-zero sensitivity.

Offshore wind.

Before 2040, access to additional zones for offshore is key because it is the cheapest option to enable a fast electrification of demand sectors. In all scenarios with additional 8 GW access, wind offshore capacity amounts to 8 GW by 2030, 12 GW by 2035 and between 15 and 19 GW by 2040. Additional offshore wind zones beyond the extra 16 GW have a smaller cost impact (scenario Max offshore).

PV efficiency and cost

PV panels are very cost efficient in the next years to come. After reaching 20% of electricity generation, the benefit from PV panels diminishes. With an increased efficiency of 50%, equivalent to a cost reduction of 33%, electricity generation from PV increases with 50%. When enforcing a high level of solar in 2040 (‘Electr. PV 75% Push’), photovoltaic power starts to outcompete onshore wind power and the less favourable offshore wind parks.

Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

The SMR technology is always present if allowed, except if there is a total of 40 GW of offshore wind capacity. Allowing access to SMR in scenarios increases the electricity demand by 5-9% due to the lower electricity price, and lowers electricity imports.  A 600 euro per kW investment cost reduction/increase leads to an increase/decrease of the SMR capacity by 1 GWe. The capacity factor of nuclear is above 75% in all scenarios except the sensitivity scenario with a lower investment cost (4500 euro per kWe) where it reaches 64%.

Industry flexibility

Allowing additional capacity for key electrified industry processes provides an additional form of flexibility by 2050. The additional industrial flexibility decreases the need for controllable load in a more cost-effective way. While the new nuclear capacity in 2050 is lower, the capacity of onshore and offshore wind is slightly higher. Largest difference however is the PV capacity. The PV capacity is 6,4 GW higher than the Electrification scenario and amounts to 45,9 GW in 2050.

Carbon storage limitation.

When CO2 storage is limited to 5 million ton per year, net emissions increase by around 10 million ton in 2030. By 2050, there is an increased use of captured CO2 for feedstock production (2 million ton per year) and increased electrification in the chemical sector.

Near-zero emission

With a CO2 price of 350 €/ton, CO2 is reduced by 85% in 2050. The remaining 15% come from sectors where reducing all CO2 is not cost-efficient if only this carbon price is applied, such as heavy-duty transport. This result is very sensitive to the assumption of maintenance cost.

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