Though I’ve spent plenty of time discussing the output of the Australian grid operator’s big, fascinating “Integrated system plan” (ISP), it is also worth discussing the inputs. As with any modelling exercise, the variables that feed into the mathematical structure influence the results that are spat out.
These are stories about the future being told through numbers and assumptions and rough, hazy guesses at the trajectory of technological, social and political change, and in that context, the numbers actually serve as a great insight into what type of pathways are being imagined and seen by experts and policymakers.
The ISP consumes a collection of assumptions about how electric vehicles will grow; these assumptions play a significant role in how the different ‘scenarios’ are formed in the report. In the context of what is likely to be a transport-focused series of climate announcements this month, it’s worth looking at these data sets.
As you can see below, the proportion of energy demand that comes from electric vehicles increases quite significantly, in the ‘lowest emissions’ scenarios like ‘fast change’ and ‘high distributed energy resources’. Again – these are not modelling outputs. They were created as narratives of technological change to buttress a modelling exercise. But it remains clear that high growth of electric vehicles plays a large role in significant grid changes, and in decreasing emissions.