The launch of the Groningen Energy and Sustainability Programme got off to an inspiring start, last Thursday 7 July. Various experts addressed the importance of energy transition to mark the start of this new network at the University of Groningen. Prof. Harro Meijer, Scientific Director, proudly chaired the first GESP scientific event. ‘Energy transition requires both depth and breadth of expertise, which is present across the different faculties of our University. This meeting is indicative of the breadth of our University. GESP will play a major role in involving all kinds of partners in our energy and sustainability research.’
Prof. Sibrand Poppema, President of the Board of the University of Groningen, stressed the importance of continuing research on energy transition. ‘We have to address these issues in the short term. We must do it now, we must do it today. And it’s good to see that our research is having a great impact.’
The President also mentioned plans for developing an Energy Academy in Groningen. ‘This initiative is broadly supported by business partners, by education institutions and by regional and national authorities. We plan to have a new building before 2014, and hope to create a flourishing Energy Campus. I promise you: the Energy Academy will be realised.’
Kees Hummelen, professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, one of the other speakers, gave attendees an inspiring glimpse of his research on solar cells: ‘I have good news: all energy problems can and will be resolved. Grid parity for solar cells will be achieved in 2015. Solar cells will dominate electricity production within 20 to 25 years.’
Prof. Martha Roggenkamp, Scientific Director of the Groningen Centre of Energy Law, called energy law ‘the law of transition’. ‘The interplay between energy law and new techniques leads to new legislation, as we can see from the recent development of offshore wind turbines, for example. Our group conducts research on such issues, particularly with regard to the goals of Brussels, Kyoto and Moscow.’
Bert Scholtens added historical depth to the discussion with a historic and economic overview of energy transition. ‘Transition is not new’, stated the Scientific Director of the Energy and Sustainability Centre of the Faculty of Economics and Business. ‘And that’s why we know that energy transition hurts. Energy and energy transition is not just about technology. Social acceptance, markets and politics are of at least equal importance.’
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