Energy is high on the agenda. From the perspective of security of supply, climate change, and innovation. Energy Valley is the North’s instrument to further expand its role as pioneer in a number of national and European themes that fit the region. The emphasis is on good public-private collaboration to get started on new knowledge and business in the field of clean energy in a practical way.
Energy in the Netherlands
The government, market, union, and NGOs have signed a National Energy Agreement under the direction of the Social and Economic Council (SER). They have set commitments on the combined effort for savings, clean technology, and climate policy. This must result in 14% renewable energy and 15,000 full-time jobs by 2020. Agreements have been made with the Northern Energy Agenda to make an above-average contribution to this. SWITCH’s goal is to sustainably generate 21% of the regional consumption on land (31% including wind at sea off the region's coast) and create 3,600 green jobs by 2020 by stimulating close cooperation of the public and private sectors and by focusing on the strength of the region.
The development as Energy Valley also dovetails with the top sector policy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The national government is committing itself to the growth of the Top Energy Sector with this as one of the pillars for the Dutch economy. The Energy Valley Foundation is involved strategically on a project basis in the innovation programmes for Gas, BioBased Economy, Wind-at-Sea, Smart Grids, and Energy & Water.
Moreover, various Green Deals have been signed to accelerate the energy developments in the region and to remove the barriers. The Northern Netherlands Green Deal pertains to agreements made with the national government on the North's role as energy region. On the basis of this, a joint effort is being made to remove any bottlenecks and to accelerate projects such as the Energy Academy and College, production of green gas and other biofuels, wind energy, and decentralised energy at the IJsselmeer Dam. In addition, the LNG Rhine & Wadden Green Deal was signed with Rotterdam partners to roll out LNG in shipping, and the Energy Valley Foundation is deeply involved in national Green Deals for Green Gas and Wind at Sea.
Energy in Europe
The northern Netherlands Cooperative (SNN) has drawn up a regional research and innovation strategy in order to make an active contribution to the European policy goals, central to which is the transition to safe, clean, efficient energy. This so-called ‘Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization’ (RIS3) is the basis for the dedication of European regional funds to innovation and entrepreneurship in 2014-2020.
The Energy Valley Foundation has also joined efforts with partner regions in Germany, Scotland, and Norway to work together on the development of energy round the North Sea. This is brought together in the ‘European North Sea Energy Alliance,’ supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. These joined forces focus on both compiling knowledge from companies and institutions, and on the coordination of parties of the energy systems and energy investments. Based on this the parties are working together on a European Region of Energy Excellence.
Role of the network
The European Committee awarded the Energy Valley Foundation the Bronze label for ‘Cluster Management Excellence’ for its service provision to SME entrepreneurs in the region. In addition, the foundation is a member of the Benelux Energy Expertise Network and a participant in the Enterprise Europe Network to involve energy SME in European programmes and opportunities. From this network role, Energy Valley can establish links to European partners to develop new projects and reinforce the regional knowledge position.
EU collaborative projects
We actively participate in various EU programmes on a project basis to reinforce the regional position and to accelerate innovations. Most energy themes are transnational and contribute to a strong, innovative Europe. The interregional programmes include various collaborative projects to link the energy partners in northern Netherlands and northern Germany, in particular, in the areas of green gas, LNG, and training courses, among other things. Energy Valley also works together with EU partners in rolling out LNG shipping in the Trans European Transport Networks programme, and new collaborative projects are in preparation for the new European Innovation Programme Horizon2020, initiated by the ENSEA consortium, among other parties.