New routes for the energy transition

December 21st 2020

TNO, Utrecht University (UU), and DIFFER will set up new national research communities to speed up the energy transition. NWO funded three projects aimed at spatial planning, future energy infrastructure, and the business challenge for the energy transition.

To speed up the transition to a renewable energy powered society, different disciplines will need to collaborate more. TNO, UU and DIFFER will create new communities to bring together relevant knowledge - both from science and society. The three areas they focus on are spatial planning, future energy infrastructure, and the business challenge for the energy transition.

Mix of enery carriers: infrastructure
One project will concentrate on the multi-energy carrier character of the future circular energy system. Given the transition we are in, it is as of yet still unclear what the mix of energy carriers in our future carbon neutral energy system will look like. But we cannot wait before building the necessary large-scale infrastructure (pipelines, transmission lines, etc.) Therefore, this project aims to set up the right processes and procedures to come to a system design of the future energy infrastructure, despite the current unknowns. Richard van de Sanden will be the project leader in this subproject.

Spatial planning
The importance of spatial planning in the energy transition increases rapidly. Research questions in the second project are how to deal wit competings claims, and how to improve processes and procedures to better integrate the energy transition into the environment.

Investment under uncertainty
The third topic are the business challenges for (Dutch) industry. The Klimaatakkoord (climate agreement) offers a long-term stratgic alignment on goals, but there is not yet a robust view on the path towards 2050, nor a shared vision on the 2050 portfolio of industrial activities. This leads to investment under uncertainty. Goal of this subproject is to investigate how to cope with these uncertainties and how to improve the future investment climate.

The focus of these research projects was determined by the Scientific Board of NERA – the Netherlands Energy Research Alliance. NERA brings together the Dutch research institutions working on renewable energy and oversees the NWA-route energy transition. First answers in these projects are expected to lead to new research questions and consortia that can be further developed in the context of the NWA-route energy transition.

Consortium partners
DIFFER, Utrecht University, TNO, Sustainable Industry Lab, Sustainable Finance Lab, EIRES

More information
More than 3.3 million euros for research projects within the NWA routes: news item NWO website