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28 01 2015

Partner: Scotland

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In this newsletter we would like to introduce one of the regions participating in the ENSEA project – Scotland.  David Butler, regional representative for Scotland on the project, explains why Scottish Enterprise and the other Scottish partners joined the project and what contributions can be made by Scotland.

David Butler

David Butler

He says: “We could see that the North Sea plays a big part in the economies of all of the participating regions involved in ENSEA. This immediately meant we have some common opportunities and challenges facing us that could be better addressed through collaboration.”  They were also delighted to be involved with their Dutch and German partners who have shown how effective closer working can be with their Energy Valley partnership.  Scotland is hoping to develop ENSEA as a long term partnership.

The Scottish cluster is represented by the triple helix of Scottish Enterprise, Energy Technology Partnership(representing 12 universities) and Scottish Renewables.

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main enterprise, investment and innovation agency, delivering a wide range of services to support business development, research, innovation and investment, particularly focused on SMEs.

The Energy Technology Partnership is the largest power and energy research and education partnership in Europe clustering the excellence from 12 Scottish Universities and is funded by Scottish and UK Government research funds, Scottish Enterprise, other public bodies and industry.

Scottish Renewables is the trade organisation representing the full renewable energy industry in Scotland and includes over 150 SMEs and has over 300 members working in the sector.

The three organisations have established a long-term collaboration to facilitate knowledge transfer across the sector and identify opportunities to attract research and development focused investment. Examples of collaboration include: ITREZ, Scotland’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone for the development of the offshore renewables sector.

It acts as a global R&D hub, bringing business and academia together; PNDC (Power Networks Demonstration Centre) is a large‐scale investment project across industry, academia and the public sector aimed at providing world‐class facilities to accelerate the adoption of new, ‘smart’ technologies, from advanced power grids to electric cars and household appliances. It targets the international energy sector for participation in its research programme.

A new Chief Minister and his cabinet free quote at website were sworn in today, after their party did well in the state elections here earlier in December.

Today Member States agreed to allocate €647 million to support key priority infrastructure projects The bulk of the support goes to gas projects in the Baltic region as well as in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Funding will come from an EU programme called the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The supported projects will increase Europe’s energy security and help end the isolation of Member States from EU-wide energy networks. They will also contribute to the completion of a European energy market and the integration of renewables to the electricity grid.

Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for energy, Günther H. Oettinger said: “I welcome today’s decision, which will help us to quickly build the infrastructure we need to ensure Europe’s energy security. The geopolitical crisis has highlighted the need to better connect energy networks. This is also crucial for an integrated energy market where consumers get the best value for their money.”


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The “energy transition” is “going to be a much tougher challenge” than most people realise. That’s the firm conviction of Professor André Faaij, who since 1 April of this year has been Academic Director of the Energy Academy Europe (EAE), a fairly new top-level institute in Groningen, set up in 2012 to study and help forward a sustainable energy future.

Andre Faaij

“In Europe we are already struggling to achieve 20% sustainable energy”, says Faaij in an interview with Energy Post. “And this includes nearly all the low-hanging fruit, such as hydropower and the conventional use of biomass for heat. In most countries solar, wind and advanced biomass account for only 1or 2% of energy supply. And we need to achieve 80% in 2050!”

Read the full article on EnergyPost.eu

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The Norwegian government, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, has announced on 13th October 2014 that they have granted two new licences to Stanett allowing for two new electricity interconnectors to be realised. One will go to Germany and the other to United Kingdom. This will increase Norway’s energy export capacity by nearly 50%. Stanett plan for the German cable to be commissioned in 2018 while the UK cable will, if all goes to plan, be commissioned in 2020.

Statnett owns both interconnectors on the Norwegian side. Statnett is cooperating with the German system operator TenneT and the German state owned bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) about the Norway-Germany project, Nord.Link. Statnett is cooperating with UK system operator National Grid about the Norway-UK project, North Sea Network (NSN).

– Interconnection with Germany and the UK will give a better utilization of the power systems and create economic benefits. These cables are important for successfully increasing our share of renewable energy, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Tord Lien.

Both interconnectors will have a  capacity of 1400 megawatt (MW). The interconnector to the UK will be the world’s longest sub-sea cable of its kind.

– The electricity interconnectors will contribute to Norwegian renewable energy replacing fossil energy in Europe and will facilitate green value creation in Norway, says Minister for Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft.

The interconnectors will create economic benefits, including revenues on the interconnector and by increasing the value of Norwegian hydro power. The transition to renewable energy in Europe will interact well with the Norwegian hydro based power system. The Ministry estimates that the benefits of the interconnectors will exceed the costs. Together, the two cables will strengthen the Northern European electricity grid and contribute to more efficient power markets.

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The North Sea Grid Strategy was one of the subjects addressed at the ENSEA event last June in Brussels during the European Sustainable Energy Week. Nicole Versijp of DG Energy informed the participants about the potential benefits of a meshed offshore electricity grid in the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the English Channel at Horizon 2030.


The key objective of the study was to estimate the benefits of the meshed grid as compared to those for radial offshore generation connection. The report can be found on the website of the European Commission.



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Colombe Warin is Policy Officer at the European Commission in DG Research and Innovation. She is the Project Officer of ENSEA and manages a portfolio of FP7 projects from the two Programmes “Research Potential” and “Regions of Knowledge” and coordinates all Communication activities within the Directorate ‘Innovation Union and European Research Area’.


Colombe Warin (right) Policy Officer at the European Commission in DG Research and Innovation

What is the role of a project officer and what kind of projects are you involved in?
The role of a Project Officer of the European Commission is to monitor the project, and to be the main contact for the project’s coordinator. This should lead to a good implementation of the project, respecting the financing rules of the European Commission and following the milestones as agreed at the moment of the signature of the contract (i.e. main deliverables and work packages).

What are your responsibilities towards the European Commission and the coordinators of projects?
The first responsibility is to make sure that the grant of the European Commission is well spent respecting the decision made at the moment of the award decision. The result of such a contribution was a tough competition (in the case of the Regions of Knowledge of the 7th Framework Programme the success rate is between 6 to 14 % only). The other responsibilities are to set-up a good and transparent relationship between the Project Officer and the coordinator, in order for the Project Officer to be warned in advance of any deviation(s) from the agreed implementation (the so-called Description of Work). Although this may happen at different stages of the project, the assessment by the Project Officer is to make sure that these deviations do not affect the overall strategy of the project, as this particular project was chosen among others due to its specificities.

The intention to have both a strong scientific background and a good regional cooperation is a great strength of the ENSEA-project.

What do you need from the coordinators / project team to make things easier?
A Project Officer expects from a coordinator some regular updates on the project, not only for the reporting periods of when a Deliverable has to be submitted. Moreover, the coordinator should work to give more visibility to its project towards the scientific community, the media, the political and regional authorities. The European Commission’s grant can be “used” as a guarantee of excellence to broader showcase the project.

What does the project team need to keep in mind for the end of the project, what are the major issues to deal with?
Most projects from the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation last 36 or 42 months. But the project should certainly not end with the European Commission’s grant. During the timeframe of the project, the coordinator should “use” his/her contacts with other international partners and conferences to design and conclude new projects at regional, national or European level. Regions of Knowledge is indeed a path towards concrete projects for the future.

How did you experience the ENSEA event in June in Brussels and what would you like to share with our readers about it?
The June event was an excellent occasion to showcase the results of ENSEA in Brussels to a broader audience. The EUSEW (European Union – Sustainable Energy Week) was the occasion to put ENSEA higher on the political agenda and to show its alignment with the EU energy targets for 2020. It was also a good occasion for ENSEA’s coordinator and partners to meet some potential new partners in order to build projects for the future.

What makes, in your eyes, for ENSEA the unique selling point other projects can learn from?
ENSEA has shown a strong willingness to establish collectively a well-recognised North West European energy system integration network. This intention to have both a strong scientific background and a good regional cooperation is a great strength of the project.

Any other things you would like to add?
I wish ENSEA could grow during this second half of its implementation regarding results and visibility and also –if possible- develop further European partnerships.

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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: EUSEW-ENSEA-5ENSEA Brochure 2014 – 4.59 MB

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27 08 2014

Midterm conference in Stavanger

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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.



Marit Boyesen

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.

Innovation capacity

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.

Lighthouse themes

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


Involving stakeholders

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.

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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.

The 2014 Ten Year Network Development Plan is still at the draft stage and the European network of power TSOs (Entso-E) has called for feedback from stakeholders in a public consultation.Entso-E outlines 100 spots on the European grid where bottlenecks exist already or may develop depending on the level of renewables deployment by 2030.The bulk of the 479-page report is taken up by summaries and cost-benefit analyses of 125 projects of “pan-European significance”, chiefly cross-border and undersea transmission cables.The plan is non-binding, intended to guide EU and national policy making. Entso-E’s public consultation closes on 20 September.

Doubling Capacity
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.


Source: http://www.montel.no/StartPage/SubPage.aspx?id=529562


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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.

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