During the EU Sustainable Energy Week (23rd-27th June, 2014, Brussels), ENSEA presented its brochure: Working together to create a sustainable and secure energy future. The brochure gives an overview of the work ENSEA is undertaking and supporting to work towards meeting the EU climate targets and energy market ambitions..
The brochure summarises categories of activities relating to over 160 ideas for areas of collaborative activity. Energy innovation is clearly booming, in all four partner regions, and growing rapidly. However, coordination of such activities around the North Sea region, as a whole, is still poor. The energy transition challenges area considerably large and complex; only through increased collaboration can they hope to be addressed.
You can download the full brochure here: ENSEA Brochure 2014 – 4.59 MB
27 08 2014
Several high-level speakers elaborated on some of the key developments, challenges and shared opportunities, of a more secure, clean and efficient energy system, at the ENSEA mid-term conference held in Stavanger, Norway, on 15th May. Energy specialists attending, ranging from the public, private and academic sectors, joined in the discussion and debate around key areas for Energy Systems Integration developments in and around the North Sea.
The conference was kicked-off by Marit Boyesen (Rector of the University of Stavanger), and Terje Helland, (Deputy Mayor of the Rogaland County Council). The first speaker of the conference, Mr. Ernst Reichstein (Chief technical supervisor, Vattenfall) gave an illuminating overview on the potential development and challenges of a sustainable energy system, with more room for decentralised production and new roles for existing businesses.
Balance intermittent resources
The key message put forward implicated an energy system consisting of a multitude of resources with an increasing amount of renewables and a more prominent role of small- and medium sized enterprises. To accommodate this transition, multiple storage technologies and complex software systems are required to balance the increasing amount of intermittent resources. This message corresponds with ENSEA’s vision of energy systems integration; a holistic view of the energy system describing the optimisation of the design and performance of the supply of all forms of energy, at every scale, taking into account inter-related aspects including; economic and regulatory mechanisms, social and legal factors, and ICT and data management systems.
Following a presentation about the German “Energiewende” (Energy Transition), the status of the ENSEA project and its findings, so far, were presented. The first phase of the project focused on analysis of innovation capacity, and potential opportunities for the ENSEA regions. Highlighting, amongst other aspects, that: energy activity and related innovations are growing and shifting towards the coastal regions; that there is a challenge in linking academic research to business activity; and that there is a current lack of communication and coordination between the traditional fossil fuel-based companies, and the companies producing energy from renewable sources. In this respect, the characteristics and strengths of the collaborating regions involved in ENSEA were emphasised and opportunities for synergetic cooperation explained.
Kristen Gulbrandsen Frøysen (Director of NORCOWE) followed the ENSEA overview, by describing a case study on the offshore wind cluster initiative. Subsequently, Gaute Tjørhom spoke about Norway as the green battery of Europe and Astri Jӕger Sweetman Kvassnes provided some insight into the crucial role of CO₂ storage for a future European energy system.
To build upon the strengths and opportunities identified within ENSEA’s regions, and take critical steps towards a more integrated sustainable energy system in the future around the North Sea, the ENSEA consortium developed a series of Regional, and an Inter-regional, Joint Action Plan. These plans provide a framework for collaboration with community, industry, public sector and research / knowledge-based institutions. The Inter-regional Joint Action Plan was partly compiled using, as a basis, a portfolio consisting of 160 areas for action and project ideas derived from the different region’s action plans. This portfolio for joint action was distilled into a number of ‘lighthouse’ themes (technical and enabling), which were a prime focus for panel discussion and stakeholder debate, for the mid-term conference.
The technical lighthouse themes consist of:
- Green decommissioning,
- Optimal hydro storage integration in the North Sea energy system,
- The North Sea Power Ring: balancing the grid through different storage options, and
- Energy system integration modelling, governance and planning.
The enabling themes consist of:
- Sustainable Communities with Smart energy systems
- Educational Collaboration and training around the North Sea
- SMEs and Energy Systems Integration Innovation
- Energy cluster development
Varied, positive, encouraging and enthusiastic debate, during panel discussion on reactions to ENSEA’s ideas and key themes, highlighted areas of consensus, such as; the importance of involving the private sector at early stages, especially large industry for the lighthouse themes, and SMEs for the enabling themes. The increasing importance of the social factors of engagement and involvement, was emphasised as warranting focus, as a starting point, for some projects. The excellent conference feedback provided, will be incorporated into the ongoing process for developing the lighthouse themes and prioritising focus and activities.
European TSOs published a 10-year plan that identifies the need for a doubling of high-voltage power lines with 50,000km of new cables by 2030 at an investment cost of up to EUR 150bn.
Full implementation would see Europe’s interconnection capacity double by the end of the next decade, said the chair of Entso-E’s board Pierre Bornard, who is deputy CEO in charge of European affairs at RTE France.
“In 15 years, we double something that is one century old,” Bornard told reporters in Brussels ahead of the consultation.
The improved grid would be able to transmit renewable power to where it is needed, to the point where 60% of Europe’s needs could be met by such intermittent sources, Entso-E estimated.
To achieve this, a third of the envisaged cost would cover 20,000km of mainly undersea high-voltage cables to integrate the Iberian peninsula, Italy, the Baltic States, Ireland and the UK with mainland Europe.
The biggest challenge to planning a transmission network a decade in advance is the need to forecast where and how power will be generated in the future.
“The most important factor of uncertainty today is generation,” said Bornard.
EU governments have yet to agree on a proposal from the European Commission for a target of 27% renewable energy in the EU mix by 2030 – a decision expected in time for a summit in October.
To attract the private sector funding that will be needed, there must be a “stable and clear regulatory framework”, Bornard said.
A key question is how investments are remunerated, such as the tariffs TSOs can charge for access to their cables, he added.
Engerati talks to general director of Energy Valley, Gerrit van Werven about the European North Sea Energy Alliance, collaboratively building a renewable network, energy storage and wind farms. From the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2014.