To have a liveable earth in 2050 and beyond, we need to make a major effort in the areas of climate and sustainability. The Paris agreements and their Dutch translation in the Climate Agreement set our country a huge task. For instance, by 2030, we need to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 - and preferably 60%. Ultimately, the Netherlands should be climate neutral by 2050. That means making the electricity grid more sustainable, getting rid of natural gas in the built environment and enabling people to live healthy and safe lives.
In addition, our industry is climate-neutral and competitive, we are working on emission-free mobility and our economy is circular (see mission Circular Economy and our agriculture is climate-neutral (see mission Agriculture, Water and Food). The transition thus partly touches on other transitions within other domains, which are also addressed in other thematic Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIAs), as well as sectoral programmes within the broader theme of Energy Transition and Circularity.
Four missions in energy transitions
The four missions for energy transition are:
- A completely carbon-free electricity system by 2050;
- A CO2-free and future-proof built environment by 2050;
- A climate-neutral industry with recycling of raw materials and products by 2050;
- Emission-free and future mobility for people and goods by 2050.
Energy Innovation NL is the driving force behind innovations that are necessary for the transition to an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system. The transition paths from the energy agenda determine the priorities of the TSE.
Role of ICT
To arrive at solutions to those missions, intensive cooperation and knowledge sharing is needed to achieve the required innovation capacity of our economy and society. ICT key technologies play a crucial role in this. For any programme, important innovations can be realised using those technologies. For example, in modelling, forecasting and optimising energy production, its transportation and cost revenue sharing. Remote control and robotics are also of great value in energy production. ICT also plays a major role in the efficient distribution of locally generated energy. Like smart charging, setting up an automated, safe and connected electric mobility system or digital twin simulation models.
Curious about the digitisation agenda for the Energy Top Sector? Read all about it here. There are also already a number of examples of collaboration in this area, such as the Energy and Sustainability working group of the Dutch AI Coalition (NLAIC). In the area of Data science, data analytics and data spaces, there is the Energy theme (of Commit2Data) and there is intensive cooperation between Energy Web Foundation and the Dutch Blockchain Coalition.
'Renewable electricity at sea'
For the short-term, the main focus of the 'Renewable Electricity at Sea' innovation programme is on getting smart innovations available for acceleration, acceptance and safety. For the medium term (results available for 2030), larger, more radical innovations will be needed for further cost reduction and energy system and environmental fit. This could include increasing the capacity factors of wind farms, new foundation technology and digitisation and robotisation of installation and maintenance. For the longer term (technology available after 2030), potential breakthroughs are being explored such as off-grid wind farms, airborne wind, offshore solar and ocean energy.
The Energy Top Sector is seeking close cooperation with other top sectors, including Topsector ICT. Together, we are committed to turning social issues into economic opportunities. To align the solutions for the aforementioned mission, specific attention is paid to system integration. This ensures efficient, high-quality and appropriate decision-making in the energy transition. To ensure that the energy system of the future is reliable, affordable, safe, equitable and properly spatially embedded, a Multi-Year Mission-Driven Innovation Programme (MMIP) 13 has been established to share and initiate knowledge and innovations needed.