For the first time in two years experts from research and industry met physically to discuss how bridging the gap between these two sectors can speed up innovation in Wind Energy and Energy Systems Integration. Following a series of introductory webinars in 2020-2021, the first of the six SUPEERA knowledge-generating workshops took place in hybrid format on 20 April, at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. These workshops aim to discuss how R&I and industry can get closer to accelerate innovation and uptake of new technologies. The topics discussed in this session covered research-industry cooperation practices and opportunities to increase the innovation speed in the Wind Energy and Energy Systems Integration sectors.
The workshop was joined by over 40 participants, gathering experts from the EERA community and representatives of successful Dutch implementation examples of Wind Energy and Energy Systems Integration initiatives. The session offered the chance to spur lively discussion and favoured exchanges of ideas between the experts.
Key outcomes of the discussion
The workshop was introduced by Ivan Matejak, SUPEERA Project Coordinator, who presented the two technological pathways (Wind & Energy System Integration), and highlighting their increasing significance in the EU policy agenda. The first part of the event was dedicated to sharing best practices, barriers and replicability potential of different initiatives in the two selected areas.
Particular attention was given to the fact that Wind Energy and Energy Systems Integration have different levels of interdependencies, and both sectors play a crucial role for making possible the Clean Energy Transition. Moreover, it was outlined how the SET Plan could be employed as a tool to promote EU-wide collaboration on R&I priorities of low-carbon technologies.
The session continued with the intervention of two EERA Joint Programme Coordinators, Peter Eecen for Wind Energy and Laurens de Vries for Energy Systems Integration, who presented their respective Joint Programmes. Prof. Dominic von Terzi, Chair of Wind Energy Technology at TU Delft, reinforced the need for academia and industry collaboration, especially pointing at the possibility of creating reference systems designed by academia with industry guidance, together with the option of integrating additional industry inputs in view of long-term collaborations.
Von Terzi’s intervention was followed by Davide de Jager’s one Director of GROW Offshore Wind consortium, who shared with the audience GROW’s main projects, and the resulting best practices. He highlighted that some key success factors relate both to the recognition of importance of the sector by policy makers and to a high level of commitment from industry, on top of a dedicated team and research community that supports the consortium.
The first part of the workshop was rounded up by ETIP SNET coordinator and Senior Project Manager at Zabala, Maria Laura Trifiletti, presenting the ETIP SNET Roadmap and Implementation Plans. She referred to the topic of intellectual property, and displayed some mitigation measures , such as the development of bilateral agreements or consultancy contracts to make sure confidentiality is assured. Trifiletti also stressed the relevance of fostering as much as possible industry and academia collaboration, so to enhance synergies between policy-related goals and investment capacity - necessary to transform R&D results into industrial deployment.This workshop section prompted an active Q&A and panel discussion, both on-site and online. Relevant reflections were made by European Commission's Senior Policy Officer Matthijs Soede, noting the importance of an offshore wind 'target' for the Black Sea and questioning the possibility of lowering the Levelized Cost of Hydrogen (LCoH) by offshore wind in the future. Other panelists furtherly shared the relevance of offshore wind, which is likely to become the primary source of power production in Europe in the future; a view that was also shared by JP Wind Coordinator Peter Eecen.
In the second part of the workshop, EERA Project Manager Spyridon Pantelis underlined the importance on facilitating the dialogue between stakeholders on cross-sectorial topics, relevant to system solutions toward the CET objectives. In 2021, SUPEERA, after analysing NECPs and implementation plans of the SET Plan Implementation Working Groups, created a template for identifying and categorising cross-cutting issues in the energy sector. Such template will faciliate a coordinated input to decision-makers and help improve a conceptual framework for planning technological solutions for the Clean Energy Transition.
Various projects were presented as implementation examples and reflected on upcoming challenges. These included MAGPIE project, presented by Rogier Nijssen, scientist at TNO. MAGPIE is a Dutch-based initiative with 21 partners distributed over 5 countries, and it is focused on smart green ports. MAGPIE aims at maximizing the contribution of offshore wind power to the energy system while at the same time reducing existing barriers and associated costs.
Ørsted's Senior Business Developer Daan van Hameren talked about a case study on the integration of offshore wind in the industrial cluster in North Sea Port in the Netherlands, and shared insights on the growing demand for hydrogen in the North Sea Port in Zeeland (NL) and East Flanders. .
The floor was then given to Durgesh Kawale, TNO scientist, who presented a feasibility study on , a project on large-scale hydrogen production from offshore wind to decarbonise the Dutch and German industries. Kawale explained how the green hydrogen produced from offshore wind in the North Sea will nonetheless be insufficient for meeting the projected hydrogen demand, and thus other sources of hydrogen will be needed in the future.
An interesting ecological point of view was offered by Remment ter Hofstede, a biology specialist at Van Oord. He underlined the importance of considering marine ecosystems when planning offshore wind energy systems, for example through the implementation of nature-friendly designs aiming at inducing life with innovative marine infrastructure.
Additional discussions animated the second part of the workshop. They focused on how a closer collaboration between industry players in cross-cutting topics may enable faster uptake of new technologies. There was a consensus among the panelists in the idea that closer collaboration, supported by data sharing practices can be the driving force to spur innovation in the industry. Furthermore, they recognized the crucial role of the industry towards Clean Energy Transition, highlighting that green practices are topping the corporate agendas.
Accelerating innovation and fostering the uptake of new technologies in the Wind Energy and Energy Systems Integration sectors still demands an ever-growing collaboration between the spheres of academia and industry. More particularly, the role of research is crucial to deliver on the SET Plan targets and those of the Clean Energy Transition.
As EERA, we are committed to supporting the implementation of the SET Plan through the SUPEERA project by disseminating the existing knowledge within our community and bringing together meaningful insights from experts and initiatives from all over the EU.
The following SUPEERA workshop of the series will bring EERA's community to Padova (Italy) on 10 May to discuss how to bring research and industry closer in the sectors of Energy Storage, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen.
Access the recording of April's workshop at this link.