In early November, Groningen was the stage for the Northern Netherlands Climate Summit. The key message was: deeds rather than words. The summit attracted a large audience of around 1,200 participants. Jan Hendrik Annema was there on behalf of GasTerra.
According to Jan Hendrik (Manager Green Gas), the Northern Netherlands is a major element in energy supply developments. Over the past few decades, natural gas activities have brought a lot of business and knowledge to the area, making the Northern Netherlands an excellent testing ground and nursery for the sustainable energy supply of the future. In the light of this, Energy Valley has been working hard for years, and has organised various events to bring parties together to exchange views. But this is the first time that an event of the scale of this Northern Climate Summit has been held to discuss innovation in the energy sector. The ambitious scale of this event, bringing all initiatives together at one central point, must certainly give the energy transition an extra boost.
As an example of deeds rather than words, various parties signed agreements during the summit aimed at setting up concrete projects to promote sustainability. And of course, in addition to the plenary activities, participants could also choose from a wide range of presentations and lectures by experts in the field. Jan Hendrik: ‘The varied programme gave me a broad and up-to-date insight into the parties that are active in the energy transition and of the opportunities for cooperation. I found the new ideas very inspiring and have made many good contacts.’
Start in the region
The climate summit was not only a useful networking opportunities for a group like GasTerra. Jan Hendrik also believes that it is essential for innovations and plans to be worked out at local and regional level, and that the climate summit made a tangible contribution to this. ‘The issues are complex. The bigger the scale at which you try to address climate issues, the more difficult it is in practice. At regional level you are dealing with fewer parties, and the interests and issues are clearer. Implementation is still not easy, but it is a bit more achievable. And when you operate at local or regional level you can show that certain innovations do actually work. For instance, a sustainable heat network or hybrid heat pumps with green gas in a residential area. The next logical step is for good examples to be followed at national and European level.’
Jan Hendrik thinks that there are opportunities for the climate and sustainable energy specifically for the province of Groningen: ‘The lights for change and sustainability are on green. The province offers plenty of space for this, and invites parties to submit their ideas and plans. An event like the climate summit is a huge stimulus for this. When you see these initiatives, you just want to push on!’
The Northern Netherlands climate summit was organised by the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland and the New Energy Coalition.
To read the presentations made at the Northern Netherlands Climate Summit, go to http://www.klimaattopnoord2017.nl/presentaties (only in Dutch available).