ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WE FACE AS A SOCIETY IS THE ENERGY TRANSITION:
HOW ARE WE GOING TO ENSURE THAT IN 2050 AND BEYOND ALL DUTCH PEOPLE HAVE
ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE, AFFORDABLE AND RELIABLE ENERGY. PART OF THIS ANSWER MAY
BE FOUND IN THE NORTH SEA.
The North Sea has traditionally been important for energy production in the Netherlands.
A large proportion of our natural gas still comes from offshore platforms in the North Sea. This is going to change. The oil and gas industry is facing a serious decline in production, while offshore wind is emerging strongly. That offers opportunities. The presence of the extensive offshore infrastructure for conventional energy production may offer opportunities to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy sources such as offshore wind. The smart connection of offshore wind farms and gas infrastructure has the potential to seriously reduce CO2 emissions, to make a fully sustainable energy system possible in 2050 and to drastically reduce the costs of the transition in the North Sea. We call this smart connection of energy networks ‘system integration’.
There are various perspectives on the role that system integration can play in the energy transition in the North Sea. These were collected through interviews and workshops with stakeholders, including wind operators, gas operators, sector organisations, government and NGOs. The insights obtained were used to outline a possible future scenario. This has been further developed so that there is a better understanding of how system integration could possibly speed up the energy transition and what the important decisions, opportunities and turning points are in this respect.
In the first chapter we discuss the preconditions for the energy transition in the North Sea along with the climate goals and their impact on the changing use of the North Sea, the challenges this brings with it and how system integration can contribute to this. Chapter 2 deals with the different options for system integration while Chapter 3 describes the new value chains for the energy transition in the North Sea: which system integration options will help to speed up the transition and which decisions will be needed in the short term. In chapter 4 we discuss the opportunities and turning points for realising system integration.
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