The 21st century will go down in history as the century when man will have found an alternative to fossil energy; this is an essential transition in which everyone must be involved.
It will be a stern test for our civilization!
It's clear that the World's energy requirements are increasing, particularly in line with continuing economic growth in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). At the same time, there is a concern about the correlated increase in CO2 emissions, although the response is inconsistent, to say the least, as government and business struggle to protect the environment and their bottom line, respectively. Without doubt, some significant efforts are being made, particularly in Europe, but there are considerable challenges which each of us must endeavour to address locally.
Energy Transition is an approach that must lead to energy systems which are increasingly dependent on renewable sources (wind, solar, biomass, hydro) coupled with cleaner fossil sources and a more efficient use of energy. Such global developments, vital to ensure security of supply, require an energy transition towards a more sustainable society based on renewable energy.
There are three principal research drivers in Energy Transition:
- security of supply;
- climate change and CO2 reduction;
- liberalisation of the energy market.
Indeed, the EU’s policies, including "20:20:20", are founded on this notion and provide an important stimulus for the energy transition processes in the EU.
Clearly, any energy development will be affected to some extent by each of the above constraints and the result must always be a compromise between the three elements, which may, at least partially, be in conflict with each other. And, to achieve an optimum sustainable energy supply, we must follow three consecutive steps in any development, but strictly in priority order, as dictated by the Trias Energetica:
- reduce energy demand;
- maximise use of renewable energy;
- use traditional fossil fuels, but in the cleanest and most efficient way possible.
Hanze University of Applied Sciences (HUAS) endeavors to empower consumers to meet their energy needs in an increasingly and sustainable and socially acceptable manner and within EnTranCe, the Energy Transition Centre, these developments are considered as opportunities for new activities in the knowledge economy. The aim is always to develop, exchange and implement expertise and make a real difference in the community so students (bachelor, master and Ph. D.), lecturers, knowledge institutes and other stakeholders co-operate to enable energy transition, implementing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in the community.
The debate will address what can, and we believe should, be pursued on a local level to develop both a truly sustainable energy system and, crucially, the key skills and people to ensure that this approach becomes not only a way of life but a raison d'être.
Lambert van Nistelrooij,
MEP, Chairman of the K4I Forum Governing Board, Rapporteur of the Structural Funds 2014-2020
Max van den Berg,
Commissioner of the King, Provincie Groningen CDK
Wim van Gemert,
Chairman of the Executive Board Hanze University of Applied Sciences
Joint Research Center