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Energy valley in transition

By Barbara Verwayen

Abstract

The Energy Valley foundation was born in 2004. It functions as a catalyst and platform for private and public organisations. It has a supporting and facilitating role in realising projects on energy conservation and sustainable energy. The Energy Valley area covers the provinces of Groningen, Fryslãn, Drenthe and the upper part of Noord Holland. Energy Valley’s main goal is to enhance the regional economic structure by expansion and concentration of energy business, energy knowledge and sustainable energy developments. The Energy Valley organisation has entered the second phase of their existence and finds itself in a transition phase, while the province of Noord Holland has just joined the table. During the first phase numerous projects and activities have developed in the Energy Valley area and with the prospect of the Waddenfonds grants, the organisation is in need for an overview. This research study aimed to: • Develop an information tool; to be able to perform a project inventory • Perform a project inventory; to create better overview • Perform a management study; comparing theory with practical experience (see fig 1) Information tool In order to execute a project inventory, this research study has developed an information tool. This information tool should make the process of inventory completely automated and it has a built-in updating system. The information tool consists of: • An online project form, will be accessible through the Energy Valley website • A professional database • A project map, on which all projects will appear as icons and project information is available behind these icons (still being developed) Project inventory The organisation has received numerous requests for a project inventory; through this research study she has tried to facilitate this inventory. With the information tool, a project inventory was set in motion. While the representatives from the Energy Valley guidance group had requested the inventory and had also offered their cooperation, it was decided to ask all representatives to fill in project forms on all the projects they were involved with. Meetings were set up and during these meetings the use of the forms was explained and projects forms were filled in. Afterwards the representatives were kindly requested to fill out the remaining projects themselves. Several kind requests to do so were not complied with. Deadlines were exceeded every time. Only 30 of the 76 projects that were submitted to the database during this study were supplied by the representatives. Management study To find out how Energy Valley could optimise their facilitating and supporting role in the process of energy transition and economic growth in the Northern region of the Netherlands a management study was done. The Energy Valley philosophy is based on Porters Cluster theory and the theory on energy transition & transition management. These theories were compared with the practical experience, gained while performing the inventory, reading into the organisations Plan of Action 2006 and by comparing current Dutch policy papers on these issues. Conclusions • Energy Valley has facilitated inventory: The information tool is in place, including an updating system • The Energy Valley inventory was not high on the priority list within local governments • The inventory is therefore not complete • Energy Valley is a very successful initiative; many projects initiated in the region • Many fte’s generated • Energy Valley has become a well known brand name Energy Valley from a transition management perspective: • Limited long term view • Many projects initiated in region, but few actual transition experiments • Transition arena should contain more end-users • Societal pressure needs to be generated in order for it not to be dependant on ever changing governments • Because of lack of/limited long term view transition experiments can not be measured Good initiatives: • Energy Café • Energy Underground/Energy portal Good transition experiments: • Grounds for Change • MicroCHP in Meerstad • Smart Power System • All sustainable mobility projects, while they all focus on the end-users. Policies The Dutch government recognises the presence of specific economic regions (i.e. the Northern energy cluster), can contribute to the competitiveness of Holland in an innovative Europe. It is willing to stimulate developments in these areas. Unfortunately these policies are mainly focussing on short term results. Energy transition is a long term process. Dutch policies are mostly implemented for a four year period. To surpass this incremental policy behaviour, a long term vision needs to be mapped out. (A process that was being undertaken by the taskforce Energy transition at the end of this research study) Unfortunately an energy strategy/vision in not yet sufficiently incorporated in regional policy papers. The provinces are unaware of the possibilities their region has in the field of energy. The policy plans are mainly focussed on small scale energy developments. Recommendations: Energy Valley Region: • Create necessary capacity (fte’s) for successful inventory in every province • Develop a long term view on energy transition • Embed the energy vision in an integral policy plan Energy Valley Organisation • A complete inventory is necessary for overview, with Waddenfonds grants in prospect • Develop a management strategy based on information tool and management study Final remark Energy transition is still in the pre-development phase; Energy Valley could be the breakthrough in realizing the take-off phase, while they could be the leader.

Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:ub.rug.nl:dbi/4aa50a2f6ab06
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