The North Sea has the potential to play a pivotal role in the energy transition, but it is also a busy area with important ecological, societal and economic functions. As a partner of the North Sea Energy Program, MSG Sustainable Strategies performed an extensive analysis of Dutch stakeholders’ views, concerns, needs and potential benefits related to North Sea system integration and specific integration options, such as reuse, CCS and hydrogen.
The energy transition is a social transition; possibly even more than merely a technical or economic transition. Implementation of new technologies for a climate-neutral energy system – such as wind energy, carbon capture and storage and (green) hydrogen production,– requires insight into societal support and concern surrounding these technologies, on land and at sea. Stakeholders’ response to new technologies can be an important stimulus or barrier to offshore system integration.
Stakeholder perceptions and support
Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives – societal embeddedness – of energy system integration on the North Sea is an important element in the North Sea Energy (NSE) program which investigates the potential benefits of energy system integration for the surrounding countries of the North Sea. Improved understanding may aid the implementation of technologies and help leverage synergies, saving society money and time, enabling effective use of space and considerably reducing carbon emissions.
In 2021 MSG Sustainable Strategies, as a partner in the NSE Program, performed an analysis of Dutch stakeholders’ views, concerns, needs and potential benefits related to North Sea system integration and specific integration options, such as reuse, CCS and hydrogen.
Based on sessions with over thirty NSE public and private partners, interviews with other stakeholders and desk research, this study reports on North Sea stakeholders in three parts. It provides a fact sheet for each of the major stakeholder groups, detailing their key interests, needs and concerns, views on system integration options and information needs. It also provides an overview of six common perspectives on offshore energy system integration, helping to understand stakeholder backgrounds and motivation. Finally, it provides stakeholder aspects that are relevant for the three energy hubs studied as part of the NSE Program.
Common grounds and disputed topics
Overall, the stakeholder views show common ground regarding the need for large-scale offshore wind, the need to reduce spatial pressure and the importance of a common knowledge base.
Disputed topics are the need for national energy self-sufficiency, the speed of the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, the importance of (especially blue) hydrogen, the societal value of reuse of existing infrastructure and the relevance of CCS to system integration.
Engaging relevant stakeholders will be key to unlocking the energy potential of the North Sea. The researchers recommend incorporating the knowledge needs that were expressed by the stakeholders into current and future research programmes. They also recommend that a vision-based roadmap for energy system integration – which is part of NSE – should seek to incorporate the different perspectives on North Sea energy.
The report on this stakeholder analysis was published in mid-October 2021.
You can read/download the full report here [link to report]