Net-Zero Transition & Low Carbon

European North Sea Energy Alliance

Framework 7 Programme (FP7)

11th August 2016

The European North Sea Energy Alliance (ENSEA) aims to increase the competitiveness of research-driven energy clusters through better coordination and exploitation of research. A key driver for cluster policy definition in ENSEA will be the adoption of an energy system approach by all four partner regions, focusing on how to handle the rising share of renewable energy production in the existing energy system. ENSEA regions capitalise on the current successful collaboration between the Northern Netherlands and North Western Germany (Hansa Energy Corridor) extending this approach to Scotland and Norway.

ENSEA brings together 4 high growth potential research-driven energy clusters (>20 research institutes and > 90 billion Euro investments within the regions) combines Europe’s largest players within the field of production and distribution of natural gas and electricity (Energy Valley), fossil gas and oil exploration (Scottish region), supplier of clean energy (Rogaland) and renewables (Ems-Achse). The interaction between these activities create a highly advanced energy system.

Increased transnational coordination of efficient knowledge development is necessary to prevent inefficient resource use and speed up the implementation of a resource efficient Europe. By facilitating highly directed knowledge development ENSEA aims to:

1) align extensive research and education programs;
2) build a transnational network of large and small businesses;
3) measure and monitor our network developments through social network interaction;
4) build upon existing partnerships such as the Sichuan region in China to open up new markets.

The balancing function of the ENSEA regions combined is not only a crucial precondition for sufficient and affordable sustainable energy, it will prevent inefficient use of public and private funding while contributing to the development of a competitive and innovative energy economy throughout the North Sea region.

Lessons Learned

As a result of ENSEA activities since October 2012, the ENSEA region’s energy innovation capabilities and potential have been characterised (in terms of analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), as well as the regional and inter-regional visions and policies for a more integrated energy future. Using this as a basis, a portfolio of regional energy innovation plans has been collated and developed, including developing regional innovation implementation strategies, and outline regional action plans. The combining and analysis of these four regional reviews has produced an overall portfolio of some 160 areas of project ideas. An overall impression, emerging from the inventory of activities and plans, clearly indicated that energy innovation is not only booming in all the four regions but moreover, is growing rapidly. It also, however, has become clear that coordination of such activities around the North Sea is still poor, and that energy transition challenges are becoming big. It already affects Europe as a whole to such an extent, that substantially more collaboration between various energy players will be required to resolve the current energy issues. These issues include: resolving power grid balancing challenges due to the rapidly increasing role of intermittent power supply; energy price instability and negative prices; increasing need for grid investment; substantial gas-fired power production capacity standing idle; increasing role for coal and lignite contributing to larger emissions; energy prices undermining EU competitiveness versus United States. In fact, recent evidence has made it abundantly clear that the time for partial and regional/ national energy solutions has passed. In its place, there is a need for energy systems solutions, based on international collaboration with parties in the North Sea region.

"On this project, as well as using so many different parts of our organisation (Strategy & Economics, Scotland Europa, SEGEC, the Innovation team and EEN to name a few), Scottish Enterprise is working closely with two key stakeholders in Scotland, a University umbrella group (the Energy Technology Partnership) and Scottish Renewables, together with partners in three other EU regions. Its really great to be able to engage with such a diverse group." David Butler, Project Manager, Scottish Enterprise
  • Status
  • Completed
  • Project Launch
  • 01 April 2008
  • Project completed
  • 31 March 2012


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