SWITCH – the Northern Energy Agenda

SWITCH is the Energy Valley region’s response to the National Energy Agreement. ‘SWITCH’ comprises the plans pertaining to sustainable energy and energy savings, which go hand in hand with economic reinforcement of the region. SWITCH is an innovation programme in which companies, knowledge institutions, governments, and NGOs join forces.

The parties referred to will be implementing this northern energy agenda themselves with the support of the Energy Valley Foundation. They depend on the National Government in this to a considerable extent, because quite a bit of improvement can still be made in the areas of legislation and regulation, financial stimuli, and market development. SWITCH identifies the necessary conditions on which northern Netherlands and the national government will consult one another.


The ambition is to sustainably produce at least 21% of the end use of energy in the region on land by 2020. If wind-at-sea offshore northern North Holland, Friesland, and Groningen is added as well, this share will be over 31%. SWITCH was designed to actually realise these plans and in order to allow for serious growth in the years following 2020, with the final goal a sustainable energy system in 2050.

The intended acceleration originates from:

• Focus on themes in four acceleration trajectories

• Coordination of the activities within the acceleration trajectories

• Control over the implementation

• Administrative embedding

SWITCH’s backbone is made up of four acceleration trajectories which dovetail with the core qualities and specific challenges of the region as far as theme and activities are concerned. Together with the business community, knowledge institutions, and NGOs, the northern government bodies and the Energy Valley Foundation have worked out acceleration trajectories for the four following themes:

1. Energy savings and decentralised generation

The essence of this acceleration trajectory is a focused continuation of the development and roll-out of energy-saving measures and decentralised energy production supported by the population and entrepreneurs. The trajectory is outlined in the programme sections ‘Energy Savings,’ ‘Decentralised Production,’ and ‘(Residual) Heat.’

Read more about Energy Savings and decentralised generation >>>

2. Energy System 2.0

This acceleration trajectory focuses on the energy system of the future, in which new ways of production/generation, transport/distribution, storage, and delivery have a place. The trajectory is made up of the programme sections ‘Power-to-gas,’ ‘Energy storage,’ and ‘Smart grids.’


Discover Energy System 2.0 >>>

3. Gas in transition

This acceleration trajectory combines innovations and knowledge across the full breadth of the gas cluster in a coordinated gas programme, in close cooperation with the gas sector and in line with the gas decree. The innovation trajectory is elaborated in the following programme sections: ‘Biobased energy’ and ‘LNG in transport.’


Discover Gas in transition >>>

4. Offshore energy

This acceleration trajectory reinforces the position of wind-at-sea and energy from water by implementing the programme sections ‘Facilitating roll-out of wind-at-sea,’ ‘Wind-at-sea test locations,’ ‘Providing access to offshore wind parks,’ and ‘Energy and water.’


Read more about Offshore Energy >>>

Supporting themes

In order to optimally support the acceleration trajectories, it is necessary to have the ‘capital’ available in the region connect with the four focus areas and the activities in the

programme sections. Four supporting themes have been defined:

1. Clean Tech and SME; stimulating SME business development in the field of sustainable energy.

2. Human Capital; training sufficient and qualified (technical) personnel.

3. Knowledge, innovation and testing grounds; reinforcing the link between knowledge and business through research, innovations, and testing grounds.

4. Social support; stimulate residents and entrepreneurs to make their own contribution out of their understanding of the importance of the energy transition.


An implementation model has been set up in order to bring SWITCH to life. A task force, which draws up an implementation agenda in concrete terms and is responsible for development, coordination and monitoring, is deployed for each acceleration trajectory. The task forces consist of representatives from the business community, government, knowledge institutions, NGOs, and citizen initiatives, supported by experts from the Energy Valley Foundation. At the beginning of the process a central management team guarantees the progress, coordination, and cross pollination between acceleration trajectories.

The task forces are responsible for further reinforcement of the favourable starting position of the North. However, the Dutch government has a responsibility in this as well: by removing impediments or improving conditions. That means the objectives can only be met if an agreement can be made with the National Government on crucial points. This publication is the beginning of collaboration between northern Netherlands and the National Government focused on making the energy supply more sustainable and reinforcing the economy.

Download SWITCH - De Noordelijke Energieagenda