Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ENSEA Report Summary

Project ID: 320024
Funded under: FP7-REGIONS
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - ENSEA (European North Sea Energy Alliance)

Executive Summary:
Given the various challenges North Western Europe is facing in the energy system, and the central role of the North Sea area in Europe’s energy transition, a number of parties from this area decided to collaborate on establishing a Region of Knowledge around the North Sea with a primary focus on dealing with the energy transition challenges. To that end, in October 2012, a three-year EU-funded collaborative initiative was started to establish and develop the ‘European North Sea Energy Alliance’ (ENSEA). The participating parties represent the ‘triple-helix’: organisations of the public, business and academic energy sectors from the Northern Netherlands, North West Lower-Saxony, South West Norway, and Scotland. Later the consortium was joined by triple-helix representatives from the North Denmark region a an associated partnership, in our common aim to “increase the competitiveness of research-driven energy clusters through better coordination and exploitation of research to support innovation in Energy Systems Integration”.

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 that could efficiently speeds up the energy transition in the North Sea region through effective energy system integration.

An overall impression, emerging from the inventory of activities and plans, clearly indicates that energy innovation is not only booming in all the four regions but is also 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 to big for individual regions or even countries to tackle alone. As such, 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 where regional level opportunities and bottlenecks play an important role.

The ENSEA project has made a contribution to capitalising on opportunities for exchange of best practice, learning and future further project-based cooperation on;
• programs for educational collaboration and exchange between the various energy knowledge centres around the North Sea
• accelerate innovation by facilitating increased interaction and cooperation within and between regional SME networks around the North Sea;
• setting up a joint research pool via PhD and other research staff exchange programs and by executing e.g. joint modelling work and jointly participating in North Sea pilot projects; and
• setting up frameworks for energy cluster development and associated coordination and collaboration of various energy innovation related activities at the official level and/or under the auspices of the energy triple-helix cluster organisations in the various North Sea regions.

Through these activities we have concluded that enhanced North Sea Energy Systems Integration will lead to the development of new business cases and provide employment opportunities and regional economic growth. However, it will entail coordinated development of links between the fossil- and renewable industries; covering gas and electricity markets, grid development, storage and regulation; upstream, midstream and downstream supply-chains; and addresses technological- legal and social boundaries. All these opportunities thus require integration of usually quite separate energy systems and stakeholders. These developments can only take place if supportive organisations play an active role in bringing the various stakeholders together to establish links between the various “energy worlds” and in demonstrating (by solid studies and research) what the cost savings, synergies, new business opportunities and efficiency impacts of such collaborations can be.
At this point in time, the ENSEA consortium has been formalised and will continue beyond the timeframe and funding of the current project period in order to further initiate new activities that are needed for energy systems integration. For the coming years, we will continue to organise stakeholder meetings and discussion platforms, and formulating policy advices and lobbying, to support the setup of new projects and taking responsibility for the execution of triple helix integrated energy systems projects.

Project Context and Objectives:
The energy supply system of the future will be characterized by a number of features that will make it fundamentally different from its current form. Firstly, an increasing share of energy is generated from renewable resources which are difficult to control. Secondly, more energy will be locally generated through cogeneration, biomass, green gas and local renewable sources of energy (decentralized energy production). This poses additional challenges to matching supply and demand of power. The current energy system is not capable of balancing fossil energy resources with the rising share of renewables and decentralized energy production. Currently it is not possible to store power in a cost-effective way. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on energy systems integration rather than on specific renewable energy sources to enable the efficient use of energy resources in the future. Concluding, the rising share of fluctuating and decentralized power production has to be stabilized within the electricity grid by the use of quick regulating power plants, especially gas power plants which use biogas in addition to natural gas to serve as back up. Additional storage systems will be necessary to ensure a constant supply. To manage the decentralized components an energy management system in a smart grid is required. These innovations require a holistic view of the energy system.

Through interregional cooperation between Scottish, Norwegian, German and Dutch energy clusters the ‘European North Sea Energy Alliance’ (ENSEA) focuses on supporting the development integrated energy systems within and around the North Sea. The ENSEA project goals, where the following;
• Identify regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of current approaches to research and innovation.
• Initiate joint demand driven research programs between the regional energy Academies
• Formalise a cross border framework for joint research around the North Sea
• Increase visibility, coordination and networking of actors working on the cross cutting themes of system integration
• Identify best practice measures which regional authorities can integrate into their economic development strategy
• Identify opportunities for strengthening the relationships within and between clusters through a Joint Action Plan
• Bring entrepreneurs and researchers together in regional workshops, facilitating financing opportunities and infrastructure for start ups
• Identify joint research proposals within regional, national and European RTD funding programs
• Establish regional single points of contact to facilitate matchmaking
• Build on international ties with the energy cluster Sichuan in China and other potential international clusters
• Explore business and export opportunities in global markets, particularly for SMEs

The broad scope of our project goals are indicative of our holistic approach that not only focuses on the technological and policy related aspects but also takes into account enabling and interrelated aspects like economic, regulatory and social acceptance issues currently driving and hampering energy system integration within the North Sea region. After several thorough analyses investigating the status of system integration in the the ENSEA regions and the North Sea region as a whole, the consortium can sate that Energy and climate change policies, aimed at supporting energy transition, are important drivers of changing energy market and investment conditions. However, many other factors cause the energy system to be in a continuous state of flux. Examples of the these factors include rapidly developing energy technologies such as; the increase in unconventional gas exploration (especially in North America); the rapid increase in decentralised energy production; changing geopolitical conditions; the efforts to create a truly integrated European energy market, and various policy measures related to nuclear energy and non-climate change environmental issues.
Coupled with various changes that the European energy system is facing, climate change targets have inspired the rapid energy transition. This has resulted in serious problems arising through attempts to reconcile the multiple goals of delivering energy in sustainable, secure and affordable ways.

The following provides examples of new problems that have emerged in the European energy system during the last decade:
• the increasing difficulty of balancing the power grid and preventing extreme power price volatility;
• the organisation of sufficient back-up energy sources with a solid business-case is becoming a growing concern in Europe;
• the considerably weakened financial position of traditional large energy producers in the EU has reduced their energy investment and innovation potential;
• the increasing prominence of public or community opposition in relation to many new forms of energy investment;
• the subsidy schemes, which have been levelled-off on the retail energy users, can cause energy prices to rise to sometimes unaffordable levels; and
• the increasing distances between energy supply and demand require formidable additional grid investment for which it is not easy to find funding.

Many of the challenges the EU energy system is facing are strongly felt in North Western Europe (United Kingdom, Scandinavia (Finland excluded), Germany, Benelux and France) and the North Sea area in particular. Firstly, 70-75% of all primary EU (plus Norway) energy production and production from other fossil and renewable sources, comes from North Western Europe. This is the equivalent of some 760 million tons of oil p.a. (as of 2011). Just over 60% of the energy demand of the EU and Norway, comes from the same region2. Thus, the energy system of North Western Europe represents some two thirds of Europe’s and 6% of the world’s energy system.
Secondly, North Western Europe can be viewed as a hotspot of energy transition as few regions deal with such rapid changes in energy policy-setting, energy technology development and the energy mix. For instance, North Western Europe faces a rapid decline in nuclear capacity, on one hand, and a rapid build-up of renewable capacity on the other. A striking energy transition development is taking place in the North Sea where, during the next few decades, some 600 oil and gas platforms will have to be dismantled because exploration and production of fossils is ending. In addition, during the same period, renewable offshore wind capacity, of the order of 50-100GW, is scheduled to be installed in the same area. This constitutes a massive demonstration of energy transition and energy innovation. Similarly, in the regions around the North Sea innovative renewable and traditional energy production capacity is extending rapidly.

Project Results:
The ambition of the ENSEA consortium was to facilitate and initiate demand driven knowledge development around the topic of Energy System Integration in the North Sea region; leading to the identification of new economic opportunities through the build-up of stronger and aligned research capacities within the involved regions. ENSEA objectives with respect to promoting and securing scientific and technical excellence within this process where defined as follows;

1. Increase societal awareness for the potential impact of energy system integration research and valorisation opportunities.
2. Channel existing funding and attract new (joint) funding sources in the clusters involved, assuring increased critical mass and further increased impact of important ESI topics.
3. Achieve higher levels of excellence, through better coordination of complex ESI projects and a better exchange of results will allow interregional comparisons that can give better insight in how to smartly integrate several components of the energy system to enable the use of renewable energy resources.
4. Promote valorisation through interregional learning measures to be implemented in the project; assure better transfer of research results to industry (entrepreneurs, SMEs and larger companies) and thereby create new opportunities for exploitation:
The following will summarize the outputs linked to the individual objectives. Please note that the insights presented directly build upon the formal project deliverables as developed under work-packages 2, 3, 4 and 5. For more detailed information we refer to these extensive reports.
1. Energy system integration research and valorisation
ENSEA links system integration as a key driver in energy efficient policies, to regional measures for the development of strong research-driven clusters. In general, research on energy is relatively fragmented in terms of policy setting and existing programmes, and not as prominently a point of focus nor as well-coordinated as could be expected from its high societal and economic relevance.
The challenge in becoming a resource-efficient and low-carbon society and the opportunities for innovation in system integration are often treated in different policy areas: the first in energy policy and the second in the field of RTD and innovation policy. Through the coordination proposed in ENSEA, strong synergies will be achieved between (national and EU) energy policy and (regional) innovation policy.
The North Sea Commission was founded in 1989 to facilitate and enhance partnerships between regions which manage the challenges and opportunities presented by the North Sea. Furthermore, to promote the North Sea Basin as a major economic entity within Europe, by encouraging joint development initiatives and political lobbying at European Union level. In relation to the North Sea Declaration several initiatives are already established between the ENSEA regions and relevant companies in these regions. ENSEA has proactively contributed to the dissemination and uptake of these initiatives by providing a cross border framework for exchange of results and insights.

In the ENSEA work also a beginning has been made of identifying cluster activities which are of common interest, provide opportunities for exchange of best practice, learning and future cooperation. Such cluster activities will in the following be indicated as the enabling ENSEA ‘lighthouse’ themes. With ‘enabling’ we mean that such joint activities typically relate to triple-helix conditions for integrated joint investment activity in and around the North Sea area. Examples, to be worked out later in greater detail, are:
• programs for educational collaboration and exchange between the various energy knowledge centres around the North Sea (estimated number in the ENSEA regions about 50);
• accelerate innovation by facilitating increased interaction and cooperation within and between regional SME networks around the North Sea;
• setting up networks of sustainable communities around the North Sea aiming at participation and consumer engagement;
• setting up a joint research pool via PhD and other research staff exchange programs and by executing e.g. joint modelling work and jointly participating in North Sea pilot projects; and
• setting up frameworks for energy cluster development and associated coordination and collaboration of various energy innovation related activities at the official level and/or under the auspices of the energy triple-helix cluster organisations in the various North Sea regions.
Collectively such enabling ‘lighthouse’ themes, if implemented successfully, are expected to set a stage for true energy systems integration joint investment programs (see the so-called technological ‘lighthouse’ themes) both public and private.

The ENSEA analysis, however, also has learned that a number of energy innovation challenges are so complex that without interregional and international collaboration, and without good collaboration not only within regional triple helix structures but also between various regional triple-helix structures, they simply cannot effectively be dealt with. Clear examples are:
• how to optimally integrate hydro storage facilities and options into the overall North Sea energy system;
• how to reconcile the anticipated decommissioning of the about 600 oil and gas platforms and related grids with the potential to use at least part of such infrastructure for modern renewable based energy and chemical activity in the relatively safe offshore area;
• how to resolve the increasing power grid balancing challenge due to intermittent sources with the help of new storage options based on power-to-gas and related technology development;
• how to optimally design - both in terms of spatial planning and of economics - the North Sea area power and gas grid, as well as wind farms and other energy related installations, taking into account differentials in national energy policies, public acceptance issues, legal boundaries, etc.
The structures that will need to be set up to face the above mentioned challenges are the subject of the four technological ‘lighthouse’ themes of the ENSEA program. Although the list may not be exhaustive, collectively these four themes, if properly combined with the enabling themes mentioned earlier, are expected to make a serious contribution to better safeguarding affordable, sustainable and secure energy supply for a considerable part of the future European energy system. The choice of the four technological ‘lighthouse’ themes is related to the results of the ENSEA regional and interregional analyses. These are illustrated on the subsequent pages.

With respect to R&D activities within our regions, ENSEA has taken steps to inventarize ongoing research streams linked to the above mentioned topics. This resulted in over 160 possible cooperation / synergy opportunities that would lead to significant knowledge spill-overs. For a detailed overview of these results we refer to the project reports of work-package 2. Here we will limit our discussion to a brief introduction of important the overarching research concepts that resulted from this extensive analyses work.

A. Hydropower
Rogaland provides the bulk of the hydropower capacity in Norway both from run-off river plants or conventional hydro electric plants. Moreover, Norway has almost fifty percent of total storage capacity in Europe (circa 80 TWh). Also Norway already has DC interconnectors from its South Western part leading to Denmark and the Netherlands enabling for power arbitrage with hydro energy thus contributing to grid balancing. There are plans for another interconnector to Denmark partly reserved for balancing services; interconnectors with Germany and the United Kingdom are foreseen to be constructed during the next five years. Like Norway, also Scotland has a mature and well-established hydropower industry with high capabilities and potential for expansion. Given the important role of hydro energy in balancing the power grid it is extremely important to utilize this potential in the best manner. Obviously power grid development across the North Sea linking hydro capacity with other energy sources will therefore need to be carefully coordinated with the various other energy and grid investments in the regions.

B. Green decommissioning
The financial reservations for decommissioning the various oil and gas platforms and related infrastructure in the North Sea are currently estimated at some €30-50 billion, but experience has learned that such amounts could easily be exceeded as time passes by. At the same time investments in offshore wind and related grid in the North Sea area are estimated to be a multitude of that amount. In other words in the North Sea area during the next few decades investments are likely to be in the order of a few hundreds of billions of Euros. At the same time public acceptance issues of all kind of new energy activity seem to rapidly increase, which may support the request for offshore rather than onshore new energy activity. This raises the issue if the decommissioning activity on the one hand and the green energy investment on the other hand can be intelligently combined for innovative energy production, conversion (power-to-gas) and large-scale storage activity. This could involve existing infrastructure that otherwise would be dismantled for new green energy activity like: combining available CO2 and H2 flows into synthetic/green methane, chemical conversion (methanol), storage of gases and chemicals for optimal application at the suitable market conditions, turning residual heat into biomass production (e.g. algae), using tidal and wave energy, combining large-scale chemical storage with hydro storage options and optimal grid management, economic and societal assessment of large-scale chemical storage. This way, traditional platforms for oil and gas exploration could be transformed into modern green energy conversion and storage facilities giving the old platforms a new life. Given the potential savings of such smart combinations it seems logical to investigate the potential of this green decommissioning option with one or a few North Sea international pilots that can be used for not only public illustration, but also for all kinds of joint research and training in which the ENSEA regions collectively have been demonstrated to excel.

C. North Sea power ring system
There is increasing recognition that intermittent energy sources can only play a leading role in the European energy system if the grid balancing challenge they contribute to can be resolved. The development of storage technologies, for renewable energy, are likely to play a crucial role in solving that challenge. Except from the hydro option already mentioned, promising new storage options are power-to-gas, compressed air and batteries, which could be developed to complement existing storage technologies, such as for heat. If power-to-gas technology is to play a substantial role in storing renewable energy, the renewable-based electric system and (green) gas-based system will increasingly be integrated, both technically and economically, and will need to be increasingly coordinated with the heat-based systems and other storage options. This can be considered as a Smart Energy System4 (combination of Smart Electricity, Smart Gas and Smart Heat Grids). A major challenge will then be to optimise the system in terms of production, storage and transport, taking into account the costs and benefits of using electric, gas or heat related forms of energy. So far, pilots on power-to-gas or other storage options, have only been based on small-scale and regional pilots (an estimated 15 in the ENSEA region). However, if such storage options are to develop into a full blown component of our energy system, at some stage there will be a need for an interconnected North Sea electricity/gas/heat grid, (essentially, a North Sea Energy Ring/Smart Energy System), demonstrating grid connections and large-scale energy storage to balance power supply and demand. Therefore, North Sea pilots will have to be designed through joint action. Again given the expertise in the ENSEA region, the ENSEA programme is an appropriate framework to set the stage for such pilots.

D. Energy systems integration modelling and governance
All kinds of regional and national activities are currently initiated in the North Sea area. To illustrate, almost all North Sea countries have ambitious plans for initiating or extending offshore wind capacities such that the current about 4GW installed capacity is likely to grow at least tenfold within the next 15 years. The same applies for various initiatives for interconnectors, harbour facilities, etc. Because much of regulation, subsidies, licenses and other public conditions are still organized at the national level, there is at least a risk if not a threat that at the end of the day the resulting design will turn out to be sub-optimal both business wise, from the public acceptance perspective and in terms of spatial planning. In fact what seems to be lacking is not only a good public infrastructure for coordination, but also collaboration between the relevant private actors including SMEs. What also seems to be lacking is a good modelling base, that is to say a system of intelligent tools – either existing or newly developed ones – that models the actor interdependencies, can be used for simulation and find optimal solutions from various perspectives. Key issues that could then be addressed are, for instance, how particular energy technology mixes affect the energy system, the economy and the environment; or what the impact could be of specific market or technology energy transition policies and measures. Given the ENSEA specializations, it stands to reason that initiatives are designed that will support conditions for organizing such optimal decision-making.

2. Channelling of funding opportunities to develop critical mass on complex ESI topics
Partners in the European North Sea Energy Alliance (ENSEA) project share a common aim to address the challenges of the changing energy mix and transition to increased energy system integration for renewable and low carbon energy sources. The ENSEA project demonstrates a clear commitment to the “triple-helix” principle of industry-public-academic collaboration. Furthermore, ENSEA advocates and promotes involvement and consideration of community and societal needs throughout all aspects and scales of energy sector activity. Work package 4 focused on internationalisation strategy, identification & definition of projects and setting up joint demand driven research program on system integration. To enhance the focus on various prioritised research areas identified within WP3, several working group were established, knowledge gaps and financing sources were identified, European partners with complementary competences were contacted and layouts for project proposals were prepared.
To accelerate innovation performance, ENSEA elaborates a Joint Action Plan for improving framework conditions and access to finance for demand driven RTD by creating synergies between regional, national and European funding. All ENSEA partners have a strong track record within several energy research themes and a common understanding of the need for system integration. The balancing function of the ENSEA regions is not only a crucial precondition for sufficient and affordable sustainable energy, but also contributes to the development of a competitive and innovative economy. Given the 160 project ideas deriving from the 4 regional JAPs and subdivided by the strategic objectives (economic growth through R&D, smart specialization, internationalization), the following lighthouse projects were determined:

A. Educational North Sea Networks
The lighthouse project "Educational North Sea Networks" aims at developing a strategy for professionalization and institutionalization of educational aspects on energy system integration in the North Sea area. This strategy includes operational tasks such as the setting up of online programs (e-learning), qualification strategies, academic exchange and knowledge alliances as well as the establishment of energy industry professorship programs within a North Sea Energy Academy.

B. SME Networks around the North Sea
The lighthouse project "SME Networks around the North Sea" aims at developing a technology transfer database to increase energy systems related R&D with a direct feedback slope to SME in order to boost the commercialization of innovation activities. It furthermore aims at raising internal capabilities and resources of smaller firms to access and assimilate technology relevant to support energy system integration and to increase demand-driven education for SMEs around the North Sea.

C. Hydro Power - balancing and storage for the North Sea region
The lighthouse project "Hydro Power" aims at a demonstration of hydro power as green balancing and backup power for the European energy system integration and to demonstrate hydro power as a green large scale storage capacity option for Europe's energy supply stability. It also takes into consideration the current and future interconnector capacities.
Depending on the scale of the project approach, different H2020 funding calls are relevant.

D. North Sea Power Ring System
The lighthouse project „North Sea Power Ring System" aims at demonstrating large scale energy storage to balance the production and consumption of high quantities of electricity and during longer time periods. Demonstration activities in this project aim to progress large scale energy storage and reduce the barriers associated with new storage concepts. An important market uptake challenge is to reduce the barriers (technological, economic, regulatory, environmental, social and other acceptance, etc.) associated with the deployment of existing or new storage concepts.
A relevant funding program is within the H2020 LCE-09-2015 (large scale energy storage).

E. Sustainable communities around the North Sea
The lighthouse project „sustainable communities around the North Sea" aims at participation and consumer engagement for sustainable energy, esp. for homes, schools and businesses.
A relevant funding program is within the H2020 SCC-2015: Smart cities and communities

F. Green decommissioning: Exploring the potential for optimal (re-)use of existing Oil & Gas infrastructure in the North Sea
The lighthouse project " green decommissioning" aims at a science-based essay for EU policy-makers and a broad group of North Sea (energy) stakeholders which aims to open a discussion on system integration of energy infrastructure in the North Sea region in general and re-use of Oil & Gas infrastructure in specific. The output will be a roadmap including the following aspects:
• Further explore options for reuse of existing energy infrastructure and for system integration of energy infrastructures and assess feasibility; develop criteria & conditions, business cases & pilot options.
• Further explore the effect of decommissioning options, incl. liability, on business case for reuse.
• Organize stakeholder dialogue including O&G operators, renewables & decommissioning & waste handling sector to better understand drivers and barriers to change.
• Build a powerful North Sea coalition, cooperating with related initiatives.
• Develop pilots projects to show potential.
• Develop vision for alternative employment of decommissioning cost savings, enhancing societal gains.
G. Energy System Integration Doctoral Training Network
The lighthouse project "Energy System Integration Doctoral Training Network" aims at implementing cross-cutting aspects of the JAP having in mind the enhancement of energy system integration competences and capabilities of PhD students. The training program will be in line with the "EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training" and focus on research excellence, attractive institutional environment, interdisciplinary research options, exposure to industry, international networking, transferable skills training, quality assurance within the field of energy system integration.

The potential areas for action deriving from the action list are not exclusively covered by the ENSEA lighthouse projects. Further collaboration between ENSEA partners will be realized by bilateral or trilateral projects (e.g. two or three ENSEA regions) or on a purely national level. Hence, a wide range of funding sources at local, regional, national or EU levels can be made available. The potential areas for action may be funded by a range of sources at local, regional, UK or EU levels. A number of relevant EU calls for proposals (e.g. within the Horizon 2020/ INTERREG programmes) which may have synergies with the areas for Scottish strategic focus in energy, training and innovation, are summarised below. The list below is not comprehensive and serves to illustrate potential opportunities.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Low Carbon Energy (LCE):
• LCE1 2014: New knowledge and technologies. Size: approx €2-4 million. Deadline: 01.04.14. Stage 2: 23.09.14 – Type of Action: Research and Innovation Action. Focus on accelerating the development of transformative energy technologies or enabling technologies that have reached TRL2. Innovative solutions and their supply chains such as materials and advanced manufacturing will also be supported as long as the application is clearly energy. New approaches to existing technologies with potential for significant improvements in the overall performance are also allowed.
• LCE 6 2015: Transmission grid and wholesale market. Size: approx €12-15 million. Deadline: 03/03/2015 – Type of Action: Innovation Actions/Research and Innovation Actions. Integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges, concentrating on field demonstration of system integration, up-scaling at industrial scale and supporting R&D. Preparing first replication of the solutions in different contexts and/or countries. Appropriate market models, business cases, user and general public acceptance, regulatory, market up-take (e.g. regulatory issues, capacity building and access to finance), social, environmental and resource efficiency aspects should be included. Opening up demonstration facilities for targeted practice-oriented education and training is encouraged.
• LCE 7 -2014: Distribution grid and retail market. Size: €2,5 – 3m. for limited proposals; €20 – 25 m. for large- scale demonstration proposals. Deadlines 07/05/14 & 03/03/2015. - Type of Action: Innovation Actions/Coordination and Support Action. Projects could focus on integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges concentrating on field demonstrations of: energy systems integration; distribution level validation of renewable energy and demand response; advanced solutions to medium-high voltage network monitoring and control; flexible architecture for smart metering decoupling metrology from user functionalities; etc.
• LCE 8: Local small-scale storage. Size: €8 - 12 million. Deadline 07/05/2014. Type of Action: Innovation Actions. Project proposals have to deal with interaction between: grid district heating-cooling, CHP, micro generation, local renewable generation and ICT optimization. Demonstration proposals will only focus on market uptake measures, performance verification, electrochemical and other storage.
• LCE 9 – 2015: Large scale storage. Size: €22 – 25 million. Deadline 03/03/2015. Proposals under this call will deal with storage to balance large-scale production and consumption during longer periods of time. Demonstration levels should range from Technology Readiness Level TRL5 to at least TRL6/7. Technologies such as hydro, power-to-gas, seawater storage opportunities can be included in the proposals. Action: Innovation Actions
• LCE 10 – 2014: Next generation technologies for energy storage. Size: €6 – 9 million. Deadlines 07/05/14 & 03/03/2015. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions. This call relates to life-cycle assessment and economic modelling for improved storage technologies, based on grid interactions, synergy possibilities etc.
• LCE 19 – 2014/2015: Supporting coordination of national R&D activities. Size: €0.1 – 0.5 million. Deadline: 10/09/14.- Type of Actions: Coordination and Support Actions
Focus is on the areas and challenges targeted in this 'Competitive low-carbon energy' call. Research and Innovation activities in the proposals should focus on bringing technology solutions from TRL 3 to TRL 5. Activities should focus on supporting the transfer of knowledge among participants and other dissemination activities, activities to foster the use of research outcomes by industry of a project resulting from synchronised funding processes of at least three Member States,. The coordination of call for proposals of at least three Member States, for instance, through support to networking activities of public funding bodies, leading to the promotion of the use of single peer-reviewed evaluations, development and use of harmonised monitoring and review methodologies, support to the preparation of high risk, high cost large scale pilots for joint actions with or without EC funding, linking national research programmes and other funding mechanisms and building partnerships with the necessary scale and scope etc.
• LCE 18 – 2014/2015: Supporting Joint Actions on demonstration and validation of innovative energy solutions. Size: €10 – 20 million. Deadline: 07/05/14. Type of Actions: ERA-NET Co-Fund. The focus of the call is coordinating the research efforts of the participating Member States, Associated States and Regions in the areas and challenges targeted in this 'Competitive low-carbon energy' call or in the ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ call and implementing a joint transnational call for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding to fund multinational innovative research initiatives in this domain. Proposers are encouraged to implement other joint activities including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.
• SIE 1 – 2014/2015: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system Size: €0.2 – 0.5 million for Phase 1 projects towards successful implementation of Phase 2. Deadline: 17/12/14. The SME instrument consists of three separate phases and a coaching and mentoring service for beneficiaries. Participants can apply to phase 1 with a view to applying to phase 2 at a later date, or directly to phase 2. In phase 1, a feasibility study shall be developed verifying the technological/practical as well as economic viability of an innovation idea/concept with considerable novelty to the industry sector in which it is presented. In phase 2, innovation projects will be supported that address the specific challenges outlined in the legal base of the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’ and that demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan. Activities should focus on innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturisation, design, market replication and the like aiming to bring an innovation idea (product, process, service etc) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction, but may also include some research.
• LCE 20 – 2014: The human factor in the energy system. Size: €2 – 4 million. Deadline 10/09/2014. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions, Coordination and Support Actions. This call focuses on awareness, perception and behaviour related to energy relevant technologies. It may involve development and support for vocational education and training networks, and providing new or updated competences where shortage exists.
• LCE21 - 2015: Modelling & Analysing the energy system, its transformation & impacts. Size: €2 – 4 million. Deadline: 03/03/15. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions. Call’s focus areas are: - Comparative assessment of the impacts and the sustainability performance of all relevant energy technologies, including renewable, fossil, and nuclear technologies; - Comparative assessment of transformation paths towards a sustainable energy system and the related impacts on environment, society and economy; - Analysing and modelling the impacts of technological development and innovation on the energy-system and its dynamics; - Analysing and modelling of technology policy measures in the framework of the SET-Plan to promote the transition towards a sustainable energy system, assessment of the impact of these measures on society, environment and economy, including safety and access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Energy Efficiency (EE):
• EE 6 – 2015: Demand response in blocks of buildings. Size: €3 – 5 million. Deadline: 10/06/15. Type of Actions: Innovation Actions. At the level of a block of buildings, the focus should be on real time optimisation of energy demand, storage and supply (including self-production when applicable) using intelligent energy management systems with the objective of reducing the difference between peak power demand and minimum night time demand, thus reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
• EE10: Consumer engagement for sustainable energy. Size: €1 – 1.5 million. Deadline 05/06/14. Type of Actions: Coordination and Support Actions. Project proposals should focus on changing the behaviour of consumers in their everyday life (e.g. at home, at work, at school), using market segmentation and focussing on 'action', the last step of the AIDA (Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action) framework. Equipment responsible for main energy consumption (e.g. heating and cooling, lighting, domestic appliances, and consumer electronics), as well as products from the small scale renewable energy market, should be addressed in priority.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Other Actions (Public Procurement Calls):
• B2.7 Energy Storage Mapping & Planning. Deadline: 4th Quarter 2014
• B2.3 Support to Research & Innovation Policy in the areas of Renewable Energy, CCS and clean coal. Framework Contract (for 20 contracts) Deadlines 2014 & 2015
• B2.15 support to key activities of the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TP Wind). Deadline: 2nd Quarter 2014.
• B2.16 Support to R&D Strategy in the area of SET Plan activities in smart grids and energy storage. Deadline: 2nd & 4th Quarters 2014
• B4.2 Modelling and analysing energy policy system transformation & climate change measures. Deadline: 2nd quarter 2014 & 2015.

Horizon 2020: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA):
• MSCA-ITN-2014. Innovative Training Networks (European Training Network and European Industrial Doctorate). Deadline 13/01/15.
The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) supports competitively selected joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by partnerships of universities, research institutions, research infrastructures, businesses, SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond.

Other EU:
• Call: INNOSUP 1 – 2015: Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains. Size: €2.5 – 5 m. Deadline 30/04/15. Projects could be initiated to develop approaches to support new SME value chains where mutually reinforcing competences support development of emerging industries. Also on changing behaviour of consumers in their everyday life. Educational activities or tools may be necessary; innovative technologies and social innovation should be considered.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Low Carbon Energy (LCE):
• LCE1 2014: New knowledge and technologies. Size: approx €2-4 million. Deadline: 01.04.14. Stage 2: 23.09.14 – Type of Action: Research and Innovation Action. Focus on accelerating the development of transformative energy technologies or enabling technologies that have reached TRL2. Innovative solutions and their supply chains such as materials and advanced manufacturing will also be supported as long as the application is clearly energy. New approaches to existing technologies with potential for significant improvements in the overall performance are also allowed.
• LCE 6 2015: Transmission grid and wholesale market. Size: approx €12-15 million. Deadline: 03/03/2015 – Type of Action: Innovation Actions/Research and Innovation Actions. Integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges, concentrating on field demonstration of system integration, up-scaling at industrial scale and supporting R&D. Preparing first replication of the solutions in different contexts and/or countries. Appropriate market models, business cases, user and general public acceptance, regulatory, market up-take (e.g. regulatory issues, capacity building and access to finance), social, environmental and resource efficiency aspects should be included. Opening up demonstration facilities for targeted practice-oriented education and training is encouraged.
• LCE 7 -2014: Distribution grid and retail market. Size: €2,5 – 3m. for limited proposals; €20 – 25 m. for large- scale demonstration proposals. Deadlines 07/05/14 & 03/03/2015. - Type of Action: Innovation Actions/Coordination and Support Action. Projects could focus on integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges concentrating on field demonstrations of: energy systems integration; distribution level validation of renewable energy and demand response; advanced solutions to medium-high voltage network monitoring and control; flexible architecture for smart metering decoupling metrology from user functionalities; etc.
• LCE 8: Local small-scale storage. Size: €8 - 12 million. Deadline 07/05/2014. Type of Action: Innovation Actions. Project proposals have to deal with interaction between: grid district heating-cooling, CHP, micro generation, local renewable generation and ICT optimization. Demonstration proposals will only focus on market uptake measures, performance verification, electrochemical and other storage.
• LCE 9 – 2015: Large scale storage. Size: €22 – 25 million. Deadline 03/03/2015. Proposals under this call will deal with storage to balance large-scale production and consumption during longer periods of time. Demonstration levels should range from Technology Readiness Level TRL5 to at least TRL6/7. Technologies such as hydro, power-to-gas, seawater storage opportunities can be included in the proposals. Action: Innovation Actions
• LCE 10 – 2014: Next generation technologies for energy storage. Size: €6 – 9 million. Deadlines 07/05/14 & 03/03/2015. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions. This call relates to life-cycle assessment and economic modelling for improved storage technologies, based on grid interactions, synergy possibilities etc.
• LCE 19 – 2014/2015: Supporting coordination of national R&D activities. Size: €0.1 – 0.5 million. Deadline: 10/09/14.- Type of Actions: Coordination and Support Actions. Focus is on the areas and challenges targeted in this 'Competitive low-carbon energy' call. Research and Innovation activities in the proposals should focus on bringing technology solutions from TRL 3 to TRL 5. Activities should focus on supporting either: The transfer of knowledge among participants and other dissemination activities, activities to foster the use of research outcomes by industry of a project resulting from synchronised funding processes of at least three Member States, or The coordination of call for proposals of at least three Member States, for instance, through support to networking activities of public funding bodies, leading to the promotion of the use of single peer-reviewed evaluations, development and use of harmonised monitoring and review methodologies, support to the preparation of high risk, high cost large scale pilots for joint actions with or without EC funding, linking national research programmes and other funding mechanisms and building partnerships with the necessary scale and scope etc.
• LCE 18 – 2014/2015: Supporting Joint Actions on demonstration and validation of innovative energy solutions. Size: €10 – 20 million. Deadline: 07/05/14. Type of Actions: ERA-NET Co-Fund. The focus of the call is coordinating the research efforts of the participating Member States, Associated States and Regions in the areas and challenges targeted in this 'Competitive low-carbon energy' call or in the ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ call and implementing a joint transnational call for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding to fund multinational innovative research initiatives in this domain. Proposers are encouraged to implement other joint activities including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.
• SIE 1 – 2014/2015: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system Size: €0.2 – 0.5 million for Phase 1 projects towards successful implementation of Phase 2. Deadline: 17/12/14. The SME instrument consists of three separate phases and a coaching and mentoring service for beneficiaries. Participants can apply to phase 1 with a view to applying to phase 2 at a later date, or directly to phase 2. In phase 1, a feasibility study shall be developed verifying the technological/practical as well as economic viability of an innovation idea/concept with considerable novelty to the industry sector in which it is presented. In phase 2, innovation projects will be supported that address the specific challenges outlined in the legal base of the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’ and that demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan. Activities should focus on innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturisation, design, market replication and the like aiming to bring an innovation idea (product, process, service etc) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction, but may also include some research.
• LCE 20 – 2014: The human factor in the energy system. Size: €2 – 4 million. Deadline 10/09/2014. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions, Coordination and Support Actions. This call focuses on awareness, perception and behaviour related to energy relevant technologies. It may involve development and support for vocational education and training networks, and providing new or updated competences where shortage exists.
• LCE21 - 2015: Modelling & Analysing the energy system, its transformation & impacts. Size: €2 – 4 million. Deadline: 03/03/15. Type of Actions: Research and Innovation Actions. Call’s focus areas are: - Comparative assessment of the impacts and the sustainability performance of all relevant energy technologies, including renewable, fossil, and nuclear technologies; - Comparative assessment of transformation paths towards a sustainable energy system and the related impacts on environment, society and economy; - Analysing and modelling the impacts of technological development and innovation on the energy-system and its dynamics; - Analysing and modelling of technology policy measures in the framework of the SET-Plan to promote the transition towards a sustainable energy system, assessment of the impact of these measures on society, environment and economy, including safety and access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Energy Efficiency (EE):
• EE 6 – 2015: Demand response in blocks of buildings. Size: €3 – 5 million. Deadline: 10/06/15. Type of Actions: Innovation Actions. At the level of a block of buildings, the focus should be on real time optimisation of energy demand, storage and supply (including self-production when applicable) using intelligent energy management systems with the objective of reducing the difference between peak power demand and minimum night time demand, thus reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
• EE10: Consumer engagement for sustainable energy. Size: €1 – 1.5 million. Deadline 05/06/14. Type of Actions: Coordination and Support Actions. Project proposals should focus on changing the behaviour of consumers in their everyday life (e.g. at home, at work, at school), using market segmentation and focussing on 'action', the last step of the AIDA (Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action) framework. Equipment responsible for main energy consumption (e.g. heating and cooling, lighting, domestic appliances, and consumer electronics), as well as products from the small scale renewable energy market, should be addressed in priority.

Horizon 2020: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy- Other Actions (Public Procurement Calls):
• B2.7 Energy Storage Mapping & Planning. Deadline: 4th Quarter 2014
• B2.3 Support to Research & Innovation Policy in the areas of Renewable

Energy, CCS and clean coal. Framework Contract (for 20 contracts) Deadlines 2014 & 2015
• B2.15 support to key activities of the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TP Wind). Deadline: 2nd Quarter 2014.
• B2.16 Support to R&D Strategy in the area of SET Plan activities in smart grids and energy storage. Deadline: 2nd & 4th Quarters 2014
• B4.2 Modelling and analysing energy policy system transformation & climate change measures. Deadline: 2nd quarter 2014 & 2015.

Horizon 2020: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA):
• MSCA-ITN-2014. Innovative Training Networks (European Training Network and European Industrial Doctorate). Deadline 13/01/15.
The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) supports competitively selected joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by partnerships of universities, research institutions, research infrastructures, businesses, SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond.

Other EU:
• Call: INNOSUP 1 – 2015: Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains. Size: €2.5 – 5 m. Deadline 30/04/15.
Projects could be initiated to develop approaches to support new SME value chains where mutually reinforcing competences support development of emerging industries. Also on changing behaviour of consumers in their everyday life. Educational activities or tools may be necessary; innovative technologies and social innovation should be considered

3. Enhanced coordination
In various countries around the North Sea local-, regional- and state-level organisations have been set up that bring together public-, private sectors and academia able to support complex renewable energy projects contributing to Energy System Integration, they have primarily remained concentrated on a specific country or region. However, in order to capitalize on new potential business opportunities resulting form enhanced Energy System Integration within the North Sea region, a strong interregional organisation structure based on triple-helix stakeholder involved, is urgently needed. Currently, it seems that many challenges related to investment, governance, regulation, research, etcetera would require an organisation overseeing the complete energy system and able to play a strategic information role, coordinating role, and possibly advisory or, ultimately, even decision making role. Dealing with the main energy and energy transition challenges of the North Sea region this cooperation structure or platform would be able to effectively address the complexity of energy system developments and capitalize on the strategic role of the region in wider European energy system.

Existing structures
ENSEA analyses shows that various cooperation structures already exist with a clear focus on the North Sea area, covering a multitude of energy themes and perspectives. Currently, industry seeks to work together on North Sea energy issues, generally without strong links with the research community and (regional) public authorities. The consultancy and research community initiatives seem to lack good connections with the public authorities and sometimes also industry. Finally, regional and national authorities are becoming increasingly connected but cooperation is still lacking with private sector and academia on a interregional level.
• Public: At the official level there is the North Sea Commission, which is a cooperation platform for regions around the North Sea. Another example of a formal initiative is the ‘North Sea Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) which aims to facilitate the development of offshore and onshore power grids and to maximize the potential of renewable energy in the North Sea area. Under guidance of the Benelux secretariat three working groups discuss various aspects of offshore infrastructure, market and regulation, and planning and permitting. At the intergovernmental level the Pentalateral Energy Forum covering the Benelux countries Germany and France has been initiated as a temporary initiative to enhance the cooperation between all relevant parties in order to create a regional Northwest-European electricity and gas market as a step towards one common European energy market.
• Private: At the industry level also a number of initiatives have been taken to support information, coordination and collaboration on North Sea energy issues. A first example is the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), although with, again, a much wider regional scope than the North Sea area alone. This organisation is essentially an industrial lobby organisation to support onshore and offshore wind energy activity. Another industrial lobby organisation that could also deal with North Sea energy is ‘Friends of the Supergrid’ (FOSG). This group sets out to promote and influence the policy and regulatory framework to enable large scale interconnection in Europe. Another organisation with a strong industrial base is NORSTEC. This is a network that brings together a wide range of key players in the offshore renewables sector (mainly industrial but also including research, consultancy and other stakeholders) who recognise the enormous opportunities offered by the northern seas’ offshore wind and marine potential.
• Knowledge: The research and consultancy world meanwhile also initiated their own North Sea energy related networks, usually in a rather informal manner, and often also meant to interest the industry for involvement in the hope to enhance procurement chances and research contracting. Examples are the North Sea Offshore and Storage Network with a strong focus on renewable energy research; the North Sea Grid, a consortium of six consultancy organisations collaborating on research and studies on the offshore electricity grid implementation (endorsed by NSCOGI); or the North Sea Power to Gas Platform, a joint body of some ten organisations (consultancy, network organisations and industry) aiming to explore the viability of power-to-gas in the countries surrounding the North Sea.
The above initiatives are examples of increasing interest in North Sea energy issues and collectively show that awareness about the need to work together on the complex North Sea energy issues seems to be growing. These examples also illustrate that current cooperation’s are fragmented and organised according to traditional roles and value chains.

Towards a North Sea triple-helix energy platform
Enhanced North Sea Energy Systems Integration will lead to the development of new business cases and provide employment opportunities and regional economic growth. However, it will entail coordinated development of links between the fossil- and renewable industries; covering gas and electricity markets, grid development, storage and regulation; upstream, midstream and downstream supply-chains; and addresses technological- legal and social boundaries. All these opportunities thus require integration of usually quite separate energy systems and stakeholders. These developments can only take place if supportive organisations play an active role in bringing the various stakeholders together to establish links between the various “energy worlds” and in demonstrating (by solid studies and research) what the cost savings, synergies, new business opportunities and efficiency impacts of such collaborations can be.
The European North Energy Alliance (ENSEA) has developed a Joint Action Plan, identifying integrated joint project- and investment opportunities within and around the North Sea basin. Additionally, the ENSEA consortium has outlined a work plan that will lead to the formulation of a Roadmap intended to build he foundation of a formalized triple-helix cooperation structure. The strategy outlines an approach until the end of 2016 after which the roadmap should be finished and ready to follow up on the proposed work and structures. The work will be done by a working group, to which all the in ENSEA participating organizations can contribute. The process is governed by a Steering Committee, consisting of the ENSEA PMB until the end of the first ENSEA project timeline (end 2015) and consisting of all paying members continuing after the first ENSEA project period has ended. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses of the existing ENSEA activities, this time will be used to strengthen desired contacts with industry players active in the North Sea region; building up active involvement from private sector, creating and strengthening a network with and among the industry players active in the North Sea region in order to gain trust and strengthen the legitimacy of possible future actions.
With regard to the organisational set-up on the medium and longer term, the target could be to turn the ENSEA organisation into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) in accordance with EU regulations. Such partnerships are industry driven and based on a contractual agreement between the European Commission and the partners involved. Such a contract sets out: objectives, commitments, key performance indicators and outputs to be delivered. a fully earmarked budget etc. These options provide great opportunities for developing and capitlising on interregion business opportunities currently but require a lenghty preparatory process.

A first next step
In order to investigate if and to what extent the key representatives of the main North Sea initiatives as mentioned above are willing to collaborate and under what conditions, ENSEA would need to take the initiative to set up e.g. round table sessions for which key stakeholders as referenced earlier should be invited. An ENSEA working group will prepare the session based on the extensive analysis undertaken within the ENSEA project and continue these activities beyond the scope, timeline and funding of the project. These activities will lead to the development of a broadly supported and pragmatic Roadmap for enhanced Energy System Integration within and around the North Sea.

4. Interregional learning for effective ESI
Energy Systems Integration (ESI) describes the optimisation of the design and performance of the supply of all forms of energy (electricity, heat, biofuels and other fuels) at all scales (end user, local community and regional levels). It incorporates consideration of the interactions and interdependencies between the energy system and other systems; such as economic, data, regulatory and social dimensions. Energy systems are currently undergoing considerable change as the European Union (and other regions and countries) seeks to transition away from fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. ENSEA seeks to better understand, and make use of, potential co-benefits that increase reliability and performance, reduce cost, and minimise environmental impacts.
Energy activity in and around the North Sea is growing rapidly for a number of reasons and considerable innovation can be found in this region which is related to all kinds of technologies and energy carriers. However, a clear vision about how all this energy innovation hangs together, how it could be coordinated and what would be required in terms of organisation and collaboration, is simply absent. In order to get solid North Sea energy system integration machinery off the ground that is robust enough to provide the EU industrial heart with sustainable and renewable energy, formidable organisational effort and challenges still lie ahead, such as:
• Balancing the future grid, given the substantial increase of intermittent resources;
• Developing sufficient new storage technology and capacity;
• Organizing sufficient backup facilities;
• Managing demand;
• Lining up the various grid systems connecting the various sources of supply and demand of energy;
• Dealing with the decommissioning challenges and turning this into new opportunities for sustainable energy production and storage;
• Involving smaller companies in energy transition activity; and
• Organizing, not only supporting research and development, but also training activity.

Interregional Dynamics
None of these challenges can be tackled without good professional triple-helix support and international cooperation, collaboration and co-investment and design. In the ENSEA project, the partner organisations are comprised from the leading energy triple helix (industry-government-academic research and development) organisations in each of the four partner regions; North Netherlands, Lower Saxony (North West Germany), Rogaland (South West Norway) and Scotland. Together, the ENSEA partners are estimated to cover and represent about half of the innovative energy research and development capacity around the North Sea.
In order to be able to initiate new joint initiatives, a review was undertaken to identify regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Summary) in relation to Energy Systems Integration, and illustrate the capabilities of the partner regions. In the following sections, an overview is provided for each of the four regions of their activities in relation to Energy Systems Integration. It covers aspects such as; the main organisations involved in research and its exploitation, the drivers of innovation, key policies, and support mechanisms. The work illustrates, not only what is going on in the regions, but also assesses in which aspects are considered to be relatively strong or weak.

In comparing the four regional reports, it became clear that there are a number of clear similarities between the regions, such as: the general difficulties of involving small and medium sized enterprises in the triple-helix innovation process; the challenges of linking academic research to business activity; the lack of communication and coordination between the traditional fossil fuel based companies (and related stakeholders) and the newer, renewable ones; the lack of a sense of urgency to change thinking along the lines of energy system integration; or the generic lack of a collaborative vision on how to develop the North Sea area as an energy region. On the other hand, the regional overviews revealed quite distinct differences between the regions, as described below:
The Energy Valley region, for instance, has a very strong focus on gas based on natural gas reserves and related production, transport, storage and research services. More recently, modern gas-related activity (e.g. based on green gas, small scale application of LNG, power-to-gas, gas and mobility)is increasingly a topic of innovative activity.
The North West of Germany turned out to be especially strong in renewables and technology development in, for instance; wind turbines, offshore technologies, biogas production, and energy storage. The Energy Valley and the North West Germany regions, both share a rapid power production capacity increase, as well as a rapidly growing offshore activity related to North Sea offshore wind.
The Rogaland region has substantial offshore oil and gas activity and is particularly strong in hydropower (flexible generation).It is interesting to note that the hydro capacity of Norway is, or will be, linked with the other regions in the ENSEA project through interconnectors in order to help with grid balancing. Carbon capture and storage was identified as another area of particular focus and strength.
Scotland, like Rogaland, also has a strong oil and gas cluster which shows good collaboration between business and innovative researchers. Of significance to energy systems integration, power networks and smart grid development along with systems integration methods (such as data management, information communication technologies and power electronics) are clear areas of focus. In terms of renewables, the large potential resources of offshore wind and marine energy mean these areas are of particular importance for the region. Onshore wind was seen as an area of particularly high industrial activity.
In very general terms, the ENSEA regions taken together show strong coverage of all of the key thematic areas identified as being important for Energy Systems Integration (with the exception of demand side flexibility – however even here there was activity). All of the regions were very focused on renewable energy technology development, with particular specialization being indicated for biomass and onshore wind. Almost every renewable technology was identified as an area of strength in at least one of the regions (with the exception of solar and geothermal technologies).
The various similarities and differences between the four regions cannot take away the overall impression that the scope for collaboration between these four important North Sea energy regions, so far has remained grossly underutilized. If the North Sea area further develops as planned, (i.e. offshore wind, marine power and other renewable capacities grow manifold during the next few decades) and if the North Sea energy system is to develop into an integrated energy system, fuelling a substantial part of EU industry and services, then there is still much to be done to make this happen.

Out studies provide a first step, by sketching the scope for collaboration between the four regions linked together in the ENSEA project. Clearly, the networks need to be strengthened, not only the physical ones, but also the organisational ones. Based on the inventories made, the next step in the ENSEA project is to define a number of concrete common initiatives that will serve to strengthen and expand these networks.
Main findings
Before summarising the main conclusions drawn from the review of activities, capabilities and SWOT analysis related to Energy Systems Integration, some caveats should be highlighted:
Firstly, although the four regions in the ENSEA project cover a substantial part of North Sea area energy and energy research activity, they do not provide a complete picture of all activity in and around the North Sea. In other words, the ENSEA regions are representing the interests of the North Sea region, with a view to expanding the Alliance around other regions of the North Sea.
Secondly, although substantial quantitative and qualitative data and information was gathered in relation to ongoing innovation activity in the regions, not all the data was verifiable and/or available at appropriate regional scales from official statistics and sources. Consultation and contributions from expert energy sector stakeholders, and perspectives from literature and other qualitative information, were used to complete the overview and the SWOT analysis. The review of available data helped ENSEA identify the key data gaps crucial to supporting increased energy systems integration. Nonetheless, the ENSEA team are confident that the broad picture, as provided in the regional analyses, is a fair and proportionate representation of the ENSEA regions.
Thirdly, while available quantitative data was collated for comparative assessment, the overall scores provided by the regions are a reflection of individual region’s areas of focus and strength. Each region used different data for this and as such, it provides a guide of relative strengths within regions rather than an absolute comparison between regions.
Fourthly, innovation processes are inherently difficult to predict. New policy regimes, new inventions, new industry players, or new coalitions, can fundamentally alter choices of technology for the future. Also, public acceptance issues can play an unexpected role, as for instance, has become clear with respect to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), but increasingly with onshore wind. Possible future public acceptance issues may arise with hydrogen production, transport and storage. Technological developments for which once had great potential, can therefore be slowed down or even ruled out. When assessing opportunities and threats for energy systems integration, one therefore, has to recognize the position that innovation processes and outcomes may well turn out to be quite different in the future, from those anticipated now.

Keeping the above caveats in mind, a number of general observations drawn from the regional data are summarised below (paragraphs A-M):

A: Energy Economy in North Sea Region.
The energy industry makes up a substantial part of the economy of all of the ENSEA regions. They are net energy exporters, often of both fossil and renewable energy. On the whole, the energy activity in the regions is a very high proportion of economic and research activity and is rapidly growing. In all regions, one clearly sees a shift of energy production and storage towards the coastal regions, which considerably enhances economic activity in those regions. In short, energy activity acts as an economic and innovation elixir for the regions bordering the North Sea.

B: Energy Transition Activity in the North Sea Region.
The shift of energy activity towards coastal regions is strongest, as far as energy transition activity (the shift from fossil to renewable energy) is concerned. What is striking in the ENSEA review, is that both traditional, fossil, and renewable energy activity, is rapidly growing in the regions. On the one hand, various fossil power plants are situated in the regions, with significant natural gas production, transport and storage taking place, as well as oil exploration and production. On the other hand, there is a massive extension of wind capacity, bio-based activity, hydro-power production and, to a lesser extent, solar activity taking place in the same regions. In fact, renewable generation is considered to be a strong point in all four regions.

C: Energy System Integration in the North Sea Region.
Another general impression from most of the regional reviews is that fossil and renewable energy activities,, suffer from a lack of integration. Not only are most of the fossil and renewable investment and innovation activities in the hands of many different organisations, but also in research and innovation activities there appear to be some barriers between fossil and renewable energy activity. If, in the future development of energy system integration, both worlds will have to integrate, then there is likely to be a significant integration and coordination challenge. In Germany, the situation is somewhat different because of the “Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz” (German renewable energy law). There is no strict separation of fossil fuels and renewable energy. Usually energy providers operate both forms of energy generation and research investigations are issue-related, meaning researchers can be concerned with both areas.

D: Triple Helix Collaboration in the Energy Sector.
The triple helix concept is generally seen as a precondition for innovation success. All the regions do have a well-established triple helix partner collaboration dedicated to supporting industry, research and public energy perspectives and innovation. On the whole, collaboration between the various stakeholders within the regions is rapidly improving, but even so, still requires much improvement. Initiatives for new technological development often come from the research community rather than the industry, while local governments, on the whole, play a positive role in supporting such activity. Increasingly, public-private collaboration is used a precondition for public funding. However, linking industry and research activity, and translating it into successful innovation activity is often one of the greatest challenges.

E: SMEs and their Role in the Energy Sector.
On the whole, the large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the regions, play an important role in the energy innovation process, but mostly in their capacity of sub-contractors to the larger companies. This is especially the case in the oil and gas exploration sector, where huge multinational firms tend to play the leading role, and sub-contract a wide range of activity to smaller enterprises (often but not always, located in the region). In the renewable energy sector, SMEs tend to play a larger role, but on average, collaboration between smaller enterprises and the research community are relatively weak.

F: Interregional Cooperation & Collaboration in the North Sea Region.
As a general impression the institutional setting for furthering interregional cooperation and collaboration on energy system integration, around the North Sea, was considered to be indispensable for further progress, but also as still being fairly weak. Triple helix organisations do exist in the regions, and function on average relatively well, but still have too little international focus. A triple helix organisation, or at least organisational framework, for energy covering the whole North Sea area is not in existence, but seems a logical next step in modernising the North West European energy system. One of the key challenges is not only to combine the various research resources in the regions, but also to make better links between official decision-making bodies. Above all, it would be most beneficial to unite the key players from the North Sea region’s private sector, both from the fossil and renewable world. The latter challenge seems the most demanding of the three, and may therefore require prior research and public authorities’ North Sea network- building.

G: Regional Innovation Bench-Marking against EU Member States
The innovation characteristics of the four regions, compared with those of all EU regions together, have been analysed using the variables covered by the EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS). This approach developed an approximate Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) for the ENSEA regions which broadly enabled comparison of the regions (or wider regions where data was not available) considered against a benchmark of all the EU 27 member states. A few of the main findings in comparing the ENSEA regions’ innovation potential, with that of the EU average are:
• a relatively highly educated population (except for Lower Saxony scoring about EU average);
• a relatively high level of public R&D expenditures (some 25-50% higher than EU regional average);
• a relatively high level of R&D expenditure in the business sector (especially in Lower Saxony and Rogaland); and
• SMEs with a strong focus on innovation and collaboration with others, in order to strengthen such innovation are clearly over-represented in the regions (except for Scotland, where commercialisation activity is around EU average).
All in all, the four regions, if compared to the EU average, show above average innovation and R&D activity and collaboration along with a population with a relatively high level of education.

H: Energy Activity Overview for the ENSEA Regions.
The various regions all have clearly different areas of focus. The main results from the various regional reports above have been translated into a simple set of tables in which the relative strengths and weaknesses of the four regions are represented through relative scoring (see tables below). If one takes the ways to try to deal with the balancing constraints as a starting point for differentiation, that is to say: supply flexibility, storage, demand flexibility, grid/infrastructure, integration methods, integration boundary conditions, some regions have a strong focus on one element and other regions on others. Together, however, the regions cover all of the thematic areas that are seen as important for delivering Energy Systems Integration.
All regions have significant innovation activity concentrated on renewable generation. This illustrates the strong focus on energy transition in the regions, and a high perception of the future potential for renewable energy. Less innovation was focused on demand flexibility, although there is activity in this area in Germany and Scotland. Grid/ infrastructure development was, on average, slightly less high on the innovation agenda, apart from in Scotland where there is a clear focus on Smart Grids. Clear differences in emphasis could be seen in integration methods (data management, ICT and modelling, etc.), which was considered one of the specialisations in Scotland, boundary conditions (economic, legal and social aspects), which were considered to have a strong focus in the Energy Valley region, and Carbon Capture and Storage, mainly in Rogaland with potential in Scotland.

I: Renewable Energy Activity in the ENSEA Regions.
As far as renewable energy activity is concerned, the summary table below provides a broad picture. Almost all the regions considered themselves strong in the areas of onshore wind - for example two global industrial players are situated in the Ems-Achse region. Furthermore, all regions, apart from Scotland, are relatively strong in biomass. Offshore wind is relatively strong in Scotland, Rogaland and Ems-Achse; hydropower in Rogaland and Scotland; marine power and offshore wind in Scotland; and energy-from-waste in the Energy Valley region.

J: Fossil Energy Activity in the ENSEA Regions.
As far as fossil energy is concerned, the very strong gas sector, based in the Groningen field in the Energy Valley region, is outstanding. Norway and Scotland also have a very considerable oil and gas exploration sector, mainly onshore. Even so, innovation seems to be much more focused on renewable energy, system integration and the various boundary conditions. It is likely that a considerable part of the innovation activity in the fossil energy sector is covered by in-company research and innovation activity,(rather than the more public-private oriented innovation activity in the renewables sector) and is therefore, less easily quantifiable.

K: Regional Innovation in the ENSEA Regions.
In terms of innovation there are some clear differences between the four regions; on average the RIS results suggested that Energy Valley and the Lower Saxony region had characteristics of innovation leaders whereas, Scotland and Rogaland were classed as innovation followers. The RIS metrics also suggested that, on average, higher activity in the private sector is needed to generate tangible benefits from innovation. For example, Scotland has a relatively well educated workforce, good research base and public spending levels, but is not sufficiently benefiting from this (in the way that Lower Saxony is) because of its weaker private sector activities. In particular, Ems-Achse is characterized by intense cooperation of the 400 cluster members within the triple helix structure. Rogaland has above average EU metrics for human resources, research and private sector innovation but below average for SME innovation. Energy Valley, scores well on SME involvement, but the linkages between the research community and private activity could be improved.

L: Opportunities & Threats in the ENSEA Regions.
As far as the opportunities and threats are concerned (see the table below), all regions show a great optimism towards the further extension of the role of renewable generation in the energy system, and in these regions, playing a vital role in the ongoing energy transition. On average, innovative energy activity is seen as a promising and booming area of economic performance. At the same time, the regions clearly indicated that such levels of optimism would be lowered, if the national and European policy regimes towards renewables should alter or slow down. All regions see great benefits in further collaboration within the region between triple helix partners, but above all, increased collaboration is critical between the regions around the North Sea.

Potential Impact:
The strategic impacts foreseen at the beginning of the project:
In the initial proposal ENSEA had foreseen to achieve a multitude of impacts to be realized during and at the end of the project. In this part the main impacts as were indicated in the proposal are described and an explanation is provided on how and to what extent these impacts have been achieved. Subsequently an elaboration on the specific impacts is provided.
ENSEA boosting Global Competitiveness of research-driven clusters
At the start of the project ENSEA has aimed to boost the global competitiveness of research-driven clusters in the domain of resource efficient technologies Europe-wide and globally, unlocking new business opportunities for participating SMEs.
Rapidly developing sectors like “renewables” are characterised by high-growth potential. However, they also present the risk of fragmentation between the various technologies producers. This may result in an additional gap between state-of-the art research and the capacity of translating it into new products and services and actually represent a barrier for the full growth and global competitiveness potential of the clusters. The approach proposed by the ENSEA project was designed to contribute to overcome such fragmentation and unlock business opportunities for industry and SMEs. Several analyses at the beginning of the project have been carried out. First of all, each region has developed a regional report describing their activities in relation to Energy Systems Integration. Covering aspects like drivers for innovation, key policies, R&D activities and descriptions of the regional energy systems it identifies (relative) strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each region. Combined, the regional analyses have resulted into an overall analysis of the ENSEA region. In addition to, and to complement the work performed for the overall analysis report, several activities have been carried out. A directory of innovation capacity within regions has been constructed to provide metrics and hard data for the separate regions. Also regional and interregional workshops were organized to provide input for the overall analysis from a triple-helix perspective. The resulted impact of these activities is that the participating regions have an in depth understanding and are able to respond to the opportunities for high growth within each cluster; where and what adaptations are needed in light of the new innovation and technology demand; and what the markets demand are and how the sector can respond.
A social network survey has been conducted at the beginning, middle and end of the project in order to identify different businesses that are included in the formal network of ENSEA both within the consortium and from other European regions, thus enhancing the project impact at a wider European level. The first Social Network Analysis established the basis for the subsequent analyses which followed after that one. The first identified social connections between ENSEA partners in the domain of energy, related to the North Sea and system integration on the one hand, it also analysed the social networks among the different regions. The second analysis shows that there is a strong establishment of research connections around the North Sea and with the region of Sichuan. The third analysis shows that social networks between the different regions have intensified and have been extended. This has provided valuable input for the formation of research driven clusters in order to form excellent consortia for project development related to systems integration around the North Sea. Another key result of the activities carried out by the ENSEA partners, in which the SNA’s have contributed, are the associated partners form Belgium and Denmark who have joined the ENSEA consortium.

ENSEA accelerating the implementation of a resource efficient Europe:
ENSEA has contributed to the realisation of the Europe 2020 objectives by accelerating the energy transition proces underpinning the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth in line with the Communication on 'A resource-efficient Europe’.
Because the current energy system is not capable of balancing fossil energy resources with the rising share of renewables and decentralised energy production, it is key that skills and knowledge from the upcoming renewable industry are combined with the fossil industry. One of the (potential) impacts following the ENSEA project has been the increased awareness that cooperation and coordination amongst key stakeholders in this regard is required and that an integrated energy system approach is needed. The North Sea and the surrounding coastal areas is where a great deal of energy activities are already taking place and it is expected to increase even more in the future playing a significant role in the energy transition of Europe. ENSEA has brought together energy research clusters, stakeholders from both renewable and the fossil industry and public authorities in multiple conferences and workshops. As a result ENSEA impacted perspectives on the role of the North Sea and energy system integration and thereby contributing to accelerating the implementation of a resource efficient Europe. The first steps have been taken into new project development which target activities to further enhance and promote energy system integration and to engage all relevant stakeholders that are needed to realize this.

The specific impacts as outlined in the ENSEA proposal:
ENSEA has committed itself at the start of the project to target a number of specific impacts which have been realized (to great extent) through a multitude of activities. The specific impacts are explained via several success indicators.
• Boosting the competiveness of research-driven clusters in the domain of resource efficient technologies Europe-wide and globally, unlocking new business opportunities for participating SMEs
o An international collaboration with the Sichuan region in China has been established via a Memorandum of Understanding.
• Build sustainable partnerships between academia and business within clusters and trans-nationally across clusters and regions, facilitating the knowledge transfer from academia to business in order to develop novel services, products and processes
o An expression of interest was signed between EFZN, the University of Stavanger, the Energy Technology Partnership and the Energy Academy Europe in which plans for future cooperation on energy systems integration have been established.
o An expression of interest between the Energy Valley Foundation, Wachstumsregion Ems-Achse, Rogaland County Council and Scottish Enterprise was also singed to further cooperation across the North Sea.
o New partnerships have been set up for a joint PHD research programme between four universities and twelve companies in the ENSEA region focusing on Energy Systems Integration in and around the North Sea (including Denmark).
• Contribute to the development of smart specialisation strategies of regions through R&D and Innovation in the field of digital agenda and resource-efficient technologies.
o An analysis has been carried out by Technopolis for Regional Innovation benchmarking against EU member states based on the EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard (UIS) in order to compare the regions with other European countries. And, in combination with other analyses carried out in WP2, providing input for recommendations relating to smart specialisation strategies for R&D and innovation in the field of resource efficient technologies.
o One of the results of the extensive analyses has been the identification of more than 160 topics for possible collaborative projects on energy and resource efficient technologies to contribute to smart specialisation strategies.
• Attract new private and public investments in R&D and Innovation at regional level driven by regional strategies based on business needs and an integrated Joint Action Plan, access to finance facilitated for SMEs, synergies created with other EU and national funding sources
o During the implementation phase of the regional and joint action plans several project applications with regional SME’s have been prepared and submitted: sustainable Islands (Sign Up); Power to gas offshore and re-use of offshore infrastructure (RESPONSE); and an Innosup application within the Horizon 2020 programme in which many regional SME’s are envisioned to be attracted.
o Furthermore a Cluster project was submitted within the Interreg VB programme North Sea (Northern Connection), together with additional regions (a.o. Sweden and Denmark) around the North Sea.

• Create an innovation friendly ecosystem in the regions through close and sustainable collaboration and networking between universities, research centres, business, local policy makers and other stakeholders.
o A new research cooperation has been set up between the Energy Academy Europe, the University of Stavanger, Schleswig Holstein (as a new partner) and Scotland for a PHD project proposal in the Marie curie Programme on energy systems integration.

• Include more European regions into the European Research Area (ERA) while involving relevant regional stakeholder for the design of research agendas.
o The ENSEA partnership is formally extended with the region of Aalborg and the Aalborg University as well asthe region of West Flanders in Belgium. They have been included in the ENSEA consortium as associated partners.

Socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far:
The North Sea Region has all the important variables in place to speed up the ongoing north-western European energy transition and become an example region (Region of Energy Excellence) for a truly effective energy transition, unparalleled in the world. Effective cooperation between government, the private sector and academia (so-called ‘triple-helix cooperation’), supported by pragmatic EU policy, can reduce costs, bring out new opportunities, achieve emission reductions and at the same time help make a contribution towards realising the goal of a European Energy Union.
For three years, from 2012-2015, ENSEA – the European North Sea Energy Alliance – has been the main carrier of this complex process of system integration in the North Sea region. Under the flag of ENSEA, new ways have been found of regional energy cooperation, regional projects have been started up, knowledge has been deepened, and obstacles to future integration have been identified.
One crucial takeaway is that the potential of the North Sea region is still largely there to be developed. Renewable energy production has taken off, but the real energy transition has yet to start. Plans for future projects are impressive: huge capacity additions of offshore wind, new solar parks, district heating initiatives, biomass facilities, green gas and power-to-gas projects, community initiatives. They are all helping to turn the North Sea region into a giant New Energy Valley. But they first have to be turned into reality.
The renewal of the ENSEA consortium could make a key contribution to making this happen: to finally realise a genuine energy systems integration in the region, which will release the economic and environmental benefits promised by the energy transition.
Much has been done in the past three years to enhance cooperation among government, business and academia around the North Sea. But the energy transition is only just getting started and the risks – as well as the opportunities – remain formidable. A new organisation, along the lines of ENSEA, is needed to reap the huge potential benefits of the transition.
Many people and organisations are working to create new initiatives, such as offshore wind farms, in the North Sea region. What is lacking, however, is an overall plan for the region. Energy markets are organised along national lines. Electricity is an international product, delivered and traded across Europe, but the way of making money with it, the regulations and the taxes, all that is still very much national. This leads to huge inefficiencies, for example in unnecessary subsidies or overbuilding of infrastructure, and creates great uncertainty in the market.
The problem is not just political. Various parts of the energy sector, for example gas and wind, are also not aligned. These are very different networks which do not communicate on a natural basis. This is where ENSEA has tried to play a key role in bringing together large companies, fossil fuel producers, with SME’s, communities, renewable energy producers, and network companies like TSOs and DSOs.

Main dissemination activities and exploitation of results

Stakeholders targeted in the course of the project:
ENSEA has actively involved stakeholders from the scientific, business and political communities in order to get the results of the project endorsed by multiple stakeholders throughout Europe. ENSEA aimed to target the following key types of stakeholders:
• Policy makers: Local authorities, national, regional and EC public bodies are key players as policy makers, favourable legislative framework creation
• Scientific community: research entities across Europe that are engaged in research in Energy Transition and System Integration who would benefit from the exploitation and valorisation of research results;
• Companies (large and SMEs): who can extract value from the applications addressed by ENSEA and increase their competitiveness through solid, active participation in a research-driven cluster.
• Professional Networks and Associations with strong connection to ENSEA objectives
• Broader public and media: as a dissemination channel to promote the project and its participants towards the stakeholders.

Dissemination activities undertaken during the project:
• Dissemination Plan
o Drafted at the beginning of the project and updated later in accordance with the Joint Action Plans in which thematic focus areas related to energy systems integration were identified.
• ENSEA website
o www.ensea.biz set up at the start of the project on which all relevant news about ENSEA’s development, key conferences and workshops, videos, relevant newsitems, interviews and deliverables of the project have been communicated.
• Organising a project conference
o At the mid-term conference in Stavanger the Joint Action Plan of ENSEA has been presented to stakeholders from academia, industry and government.
• Joint Action Plans
o Drafted for each individual region included in the ENSEA project based on SWOT-analyses and identified areas for potential growth in relation to energy system integration.
• Press releases
o Press releases for ENSEA have been publicised in the popular press as well as EU policy press. Especially after the key conferences organised.
• Meetings and networking events
• Final conference and regional workshops
o A final conference was organised in Edinburgh presenting the results achieved by ENSEA and providing perspectives on the future of energy systems integration on and around the North Sea. Approximately 150 participants from industry, government and knowledge institutions were present.
• Liaison with relevant projects
o The ENSEA Partnership has a strong liaison with structural funds project on biogas and LNG as well as with Horizon projects as Store-to-go (on methanation). Furthermore some partners are involved in a new project: the German Project ENERA on net stability and energy storage of wind electricity.
• Thematic webcasts and online videos
o On the YouTube channel of ENSEA as well as the website a video explaining the ENSEA project and one of the lighthouse projects regarding Green Decommissioning were placed.

List of Websites:
W: www.ensea.biz
E: klinge@energyvalley.nl
T: 0031 50 789 0010

Related information

Contact

dr. Koos Lok, (Head of employability and education)
Tel.: +31507890010
E-mail
Record Number: 188130 / Last updated on: 2016-08-11