ADVIES: Hansa Energy Corridor (HEC)
In the coming decades various European regions will increasingly be facing a challenge to make the energy system more sustainable, while keeping energy affordable, available and accessible (triple A conditions). This requires the large-scale development and integration of big and small renewable energy options within the existing energy system. Energy of different geographical origin, reversed flow and different production-supply patterns will be inserted into an increasingly interconnected system. Cost-effective balancing of this complex integrated energy system will, therefore, not only be a key instrument to maintain network integrity but it will also serve as facilitator for the development and deployment of renewables (e.g. wind, solar-pv, bio-gas, and solar- and geothermal options) that have differing balancing needs. The current HEC region has a very strong position as far as several renewable (primarily gas-based) options deriving from a flexible energy system are concerned ,– which, relatively –speaking, is highly cost-effective and competitive in terms of system balancing.
The required strategies to tackle this energy system challenge effectively (triple A conditions) goes far beyond the scope of one single country or sub-set of provinces. In fact, intensified cross-border cooperation, coordination and collaboration can be seen as necessary basic ingredients of effective energy system strategies.
The current Hansa Energy Corridor (HEC) initiative, in terms of organization and structure, successfully integrates the triple-helix stakeholders via a strong bottom-up oriented approach. However, the HEC initiative will run up to the end of 2012, which requires careful consideration of the need for (why?) and structure of (how?) a possible successor of the HEC in light of the formidable energy challenge.
- Increasing share of renewables, with strong focus on biomass, (offshore) wind and hydro in North Sea region,
- Ongoing interconnection and integration of national energy systems,
- The need for cost-effective (gas-based) balancing to keep energy ‘triple A’,
- Cross border triple helix collaboration creates critical mass for R&D, innovation, employment and technology/service export to other regions,
- Scope for synergies and complementarity with other North Sea countries in trying to tackle the energy challenge,
Cost-effective energy system balancing services provide ideal ground for early development and deployment of renewable energy.
- By extending the HEC in order to cover the entire Energy Valley and Niedersachsen-Bremen region in the short-term, while also taking the initial steps to scale-up to the North Sea energy region on specific R&D themes or specific private sector stakeholder groups, all for the sake of a full-scale extension over the North Sea region in the medium-term, aiming at improving the chances of European recognition,
- Via a more structured and joint lobby in Brussels on behalf of the HEC stakeholders,
- Through an R&D and education structure and program, which is better aligned with the ‘quadruple helix’ within the HEC region (e.g. embed the HEC strategic priorities Energy Academy Europe program),
- By assuming a continuation of the prime focus on energy in order not to dilute the efforts, and within the energy theme focus HEC efforts only on those key strategic issues that are not sufficiently addressed within the scope of other (inter)national platforms (e.g. address system barriers for specific renewable energies, and/or finance, policy and competitiveness issues),
- By taking a position that would not rule out that the HEC concept acts as a precursor of serious international political collaboration and actual joint institutions with decision making powers on various energy issues,
- With the help of an organizational structure that intelligently combines the current bottom-up strength of the HEC with a more strategy oriented, top-down executive board,
- By creating a situation in which the HEC organization not only focuses on research and training at various levels and forms, but also seeks a coordinating role for joint commercial energy activities,
By developing a structure in which the HEC grows into a legal entity capable of independently contracting various project activities conducive of joint energy activity.
In order to seriously strengthen HEC governance, the SER NN advises that the HEC Advisory Committee (HEC-AC) carefully assesses its current tasks and responsibilities within the future of HEC (as sketched in this report). In this respect, the SER NN stimulates the HEC-AC to claim a role and position as an executive rather than advisory body that governs and stimulates cross-border quadruple helix initiatives. Such an executive board – in the view of the SER Noord-Nederland – would need to be able to initiate new activities and carry a number of executive responsibilities (e.g. decision power), should be supported by a professional international secretariat, and should be able to initiate and delegate specific tasks to specialist thematic groups active within the extended HEC region.
In de adviescommissie van dit adviestraject waren zowel Nederlandse als Duitse deskundigen vertegenwoordigd. Om die reden is dit advies in het Engels opgesteld.