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ENSEA partners gather at Grenzeloos 2014 in Groningen

ENSEA partners gather at Grenzeloos 2014 in Groningen

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On the 27th and the 28th of March the partners of European North Sea Energy Alliance gathered at the Grenzeloos 2014 event.

Organized by Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN), an alliance of the provinces of Northern Netherlands, the event focussed on facilitating collaboration between innovative SMEs from the Northern Netherlands and the North-Western part of Germany. Strengthening the ties between knowledge institutions and businesses in these regions is an important focus on both sides of the border. The further development of innovation and sustainable economic growth were central themes of the event.

During the afternoon, pitches were given by prominent guests and information was provided to over 250 innovative SME’s through several workshops. In the context of ENSEA, the Energy Valley Foundation facilitated two workshops. The first of these focused on gas in transition and the opportunity they present for entrepreneurs (topics discussed related to (Bio)LNG, Biogas, green gas and hydrogen) while the second session looked at European funding and financing opportunities for innovative SME’s. In the context of our European energy transition, both topics provide big opportunities for alignment and effective collaboration between regions around the North Sea. Both “gas in transition” and “SME valorisation” are considered to be priority themes within the ENSEA consortium and efforts will be undertaken within the ENSEA project to further define where and how regions can contribute to these joint North Sea challenges.

The event concluded with a concert by the Prins Claus Conservatory; an event hosted by the Hanze University of Applied sciences which takes place every four years. In the presence of Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands, the full Oosterpoort venue enjoyed the classical works of Tchaikovsky, Johan Wagenaar and Klaas de Vries. The concert was followed by drinks for all attendants.

The following day the ENSEA partners had a productive session in which progress, processes and further development of a Joint Action Plan for interregional cooperation were discussed. During the session the ENSEA partners were joined by Ms. Nicole Versijp of the European Commission’s DG Energy, PhD student Hannah Muller from the Groningen Centre of Energy Law, and Fred Blommestein from the University of Groningen. Respectively, they presented on the following topics; Europe’s North Sea offshore grid strategy; regulatory constraints and possible solutions for interconnectors and the European Supergrid; and modelling options for effective energy system development and decision making. The presentations gave rise to some very interesting discussions regarding the development of common strategies in and around the North Sea and underlined the urgency of more effective collaboration around the North Sea on the topic of energy system integration.

Further discussions on these and other topics will continue during the ENSEA midterm conference; taking place in Stavanger Norway on 15 and 16 May 2014. Save the date!

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