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Special sessions

Special academic sessions

Please check the detailed parallel sessions programme for more information, including presenters.

1.     Integrated Urban Energy Planning (hosted by EU project - Making City)

Kim van Dam (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands)
Christian Zuidema (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
Marijn van Geet (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

This session is hosted by the Making City Project, which is a Horizon 2020 project that aims to address and demonstrate the transformation of the urban energy system towards smart and low-carbon cities, based on supporting long-term energy planning, with a key focus on the Positive Energy District (PED) concept.

This session targets Integrated Urban Energy Planning as a strategy that unites an inclusive community-based approach to energy transition to seeing energy transition as integrated with other urban plans and policies. During this session, we hope to host participants eager to present and share innovations on urban energy planning. We specifically invite contributions from researchers and/or practitioners from different disciplines. Conveners are interested in insights that offer different interdisciplinary perspectives on the multitude of aspects involved in the development and delivery of integrated energy planning, e.g. by discussing technical aspects; business models; legal barriers and opportunities; citizen and stakeholder engagement; policy integration; and social issues such as energy poverty. Conveners are particularly interested in papers that offer an integrated approach e.g. by offering insights on the development of long-term urban vision, and papers that discuss the role of energy planning within city and town planning.

2.     Energy nexus issues and solutions in the Global South

Aamina Teladia (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
Thomas Van Huyssteen (University of Groningen/ University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Rebeka Béres (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Countries in the Global South are at the cusp of accelerated growth and opportunity. In recent years, countries in the Global South have been experiencing rising population growth, rapid urbanization, expanding economies, an increasing middle class and corresponding lifestyle changes. This series will provide a platform to academic works that are focused on nexus issues and solutions in the Global South with the aim of collectively developing a Global South Energy Transition Research Agenda. During this session, we hope to host participants eager to present and share their research, ideas and inputs on Global South nexus issues and solutions. We specifically invite contributions from researchers and/or practitioners from different disciplines and the Global South.

3. Smart use of the energy infrastructure: from neighbourhood to industrial park

Esther van der Waal (Grunneger Power, the Netherlands)
Rosa Kappert (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands)

This session is a joint collaboration of Grunneger Power and Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Cooperative Grunneger Power is working on the projects RVO LOCAL4LOCAL and Horizon EU Communitas. The Hanze University of Applied Sciences is working on the projects Groningen Stroomt Door (GSD) and FLEXible energy POSitivity districTS (FLEXPOSTS).

Smart use of existing and new energy infrastructure is of great importance in the energy transition. We generate our energy increasingly locally and from intermittent sources. This causes moments with high peak loads and deficits. Additionally, the use of electricity increases, amongst others because of electrification of the heat sector. In large parts of the Netherlands and other countries, the grid is congested. Hence, the potential for timely grid connection is increasingly dictating where energy production technologies are placed and, also, where users, like businesses, locate. Grid reinforcement is often not an affordable or long-term solution. How do we make sure that we make the most out of the existing grid capacity? How do we ensure that supply and demand of sustainably generated energy are better balanced? These questions are important from an techno-economic as well as societal point of view. Making smart use of electricity production and transport infrastructure helps to create access to the grid and can make energy more affordable.

We encourage contributions on smart use of energy infrastructure on multiple scales and for various user types. Examples include, but are not limited to, demand side response, aggregation, p2p and p2g trading, blockchain solutions, storage, heat solutions, and conversion of energy. During our session, we will start with the speaker presentations, and consecutively have a longer discussion session where we discuss the main themes of interest. Discussion topics can be proposed by speakers and audience.

4. The promises and pitfalls for geothermal energy as part of a just and inclusive energy transition

Rozanne Spijkerboer (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

List of Speakers:
Tentative list is prepared

Harnessing the energies of steaming hot waters pumped from deep underground aquifers with high pressure, geothermal energy is one of the much-lauded forms of sustainable energy in a time of climate crisis. Often praised concerning its 'untapped' potential, the promise of geothermal resources is to provide high quality, climate-friendly, reliable and cheap energy for societies on their 'green growth' pathways. Transnational initiatives such as the Global Geothermal Alliance as well as other regional strategies such as the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan also indicate the crucial role geothermal plays towards global decarbonization. Nonetheless, this enthusiasm in harnessing the heat below our feet through geothermal investments is not shared equally and unequivocally. Moreover, there is a clear lack of social science and humanities studies that critically engage with the sustainability of geothermal energy as a source of renewable electricity or heat, particularly when considering the values of a just and inclusive energy transition. Following geothermal energy as a socio-technical regime, an assemblage of objects, infrastructures, and material-discursive practices, we suggest organizing a session that focuses on the promises, pitfalls and spatialization of geothermal energy as part of a just and inclusive energy transition. We already have speakers for three papers focusing on geothermal energy development in three distinct contexts: Sweden, Chile, and Turkey. However, we would welcome additional papers that align with this topic to enable a broader discussion on this understudied topic.

5. Multi-commodity energy systems

Ewoud Vos (Hanze School of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands)

The increasing share of renewable production like wind and PV poses new challenges to our energy system. The intermittent behavior and lack of controllability on these sources requires flexibility measures like storage and conversion. Production, consumption, transportation, storage and conversion systems become more intertwined. The increasing complexity of the system requires new control strategies to fulfil existing requirements

The SynergyS project addresses the main question how to operate increasingly complex energy systems in a controllable, robust, safe, affordable, and reliable way. Goal of the project is to develop and test a smart control system for a multi-commodity energy system (MCES), with electricity, hydrogen and heat. In scope are an industrial cluster (Chemistry Park Delfzijl) and a residential cluster (Leeuwarden) and their mutual interaction. Results are experimentally tested in two real-life demo-sites scale models: Centre of Expertise Energy (EnTranCe) and The Green Village (TU Delft) represent respectively the industrial and residential cluster.

The result will be a market-driven control system to operate a multi-commodity energy system, integrating the industrial and residential cluster. The experimental setup is a combination of physical demo-site assets complemented with (digital) asset models. Experimental validation is based on a demo-scenario including real time data, simulated data and several stress tests.

In this session we’ll elaborate more on the project and present (preliminary) results on the testing criteria, scenarios and experimental setup.

6. Citizens and energy cooperatives, substantial factors in energy transition

Henny van der Windt (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Worldwide, citizens and their organizations play a role in the energy transition. However, this role may differ substantially across countries and regions. In this session or series of sessions, we would like to explore different roles for citizens, their organizations, and their relevance for the energy transition.

Clearly, citizens play a role as consumers of energy. Some may want to become prosumers. Access to energy production is a serious problem in large parts of the world. Ownership and control of energy production and supply is a second challenge. Although some early cooperative have existed for about a century, this did not change the division of capital, responsibilities, and resources that are related to energy.

The new wave of citizens’ involvement that started in the last decades of the last century in Europe and other continents had a strong ideological basis, including values concerning sustainability, democracy, autonomy, and gender. Large-scale initiatives, such as nuclear energy or coals plants and later large-scale wind parks faced opposition of concerned citizens. Along with the protests, new types of initiatives arose, mostly cooperatives, to design new environmentally friendly and democratic type of energy system. The words to express this trend include participation, innovation, and social business models as part of new, fair, and sustainable energy systems.

Still, important questions remain. Which modes of participation have been used and have been successful, in terms of democratic governance and technology development? What is meant by social business models and how can they be operationalized? How can less concerned citizens be involved in the new energy systems? How to influence or work together with incumbents? What conditions influence a more substantial and stable role of citizens, and what types of the new energy cooperatives and comparable initiatives are likely to sustain? What are the answers so far after a decade on research on citizens and citizens’ organisations in the energy transition?

These questions will be explored during the session(s) by making use of empirical studies and relevant theoretical concepts.

Panel discussion

1.       Overcoming challenges in local green H2 economies


Dr Beata Kviatek
Jean Monnet Chair in Sustainable EU Economy, Centre of Expertise Energy / International Business School / Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, the Netherlands

One of the main pathways of the current energy transition includes development of regional green hydrogen economy, usually based in the so-called hydrogen valleys. The development of regional green hydrogen economies enables to green up regional industry and mobility, brings new business opportunities for local and regional businesses, redirects regional investments and financial streams, and proposes new avenues for regional education, knowledge, and research institutions. However, the complexity of regional transformation towards green hydrogen economy, poses challenges that require a close cooperation between different local and regional stakeholders at multiple levels, including national and European. What are these challenges in developing regional green hydrogen economies here, in the northern part of the Netherlands, and in other regions of Europe and what are the new pathways to overcome challenges in regional green hydrogen economies? – is the main question of the proposed panel discussion that will involve academics, policy makers, and practitioners from the northern part of the Netherlands as well as some European regions.

The members of the panel are:

  • Dr Ir Jan-jaap Aué, Professor Application of Hydrogen within the Energy Transition, EnTranCe / Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen
  • Prof Lorenzo Squintani, Professor of Energy Law, University of Groningen
  • Dr Kim van Dam, Senior Researcher Spatial Transformation at EnTranCe / Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen
  • Dr Beata Kviatek, Jean Monnet Chair in Sustainable EU Economy, EnTranCe / Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen
  • Representative from the Province of Friesland
  • Representative from the Province of Groningen
  • Representative from the Province of Drenthe
  • Representatives from regional business association

Roundtable discussion

1. Challenges and policy recommendations for Just Energy Transition in EU

Alessandro Sciullo (UNITO, Italy)
Joint Programme e3s (clean Energy tranSition for Sustainable Society) of the European Energy Research Alliance - EERA

Panel members:

  1. Ganna Gadlkyh (European Energy Research Alliance, EERA, Belgium)
  2. Witold Poganietz, (Karlsrhue Institute of Technology, KIT, Germany)
  3. Giuseppe Pellegrini (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Norway)
  4. Rita Vasconcellos D'Oliveira Bouman (SINTEF, Norway)
  5. Ramazan Sari (Technical University of Denmark, DTU, Denmark)

You can register for this roundtable by sending us an email at ICNP2023

For JET to be fostered in the EU context, it needs to be supported by adequate policies that should be able to address the many diverse dimensions of justice and the many diverse social and institutional contexts resulting from the heterogeneity of the EU landscape and the historical evolution of the context themselves

Energy system transformations in fact are complex socio-technical processes involving not only changes to energy technologies but also to the broader social and economic aspects of energy production and consumption. These energy transformations could negatively affect the people that they pursue to serve, exacerbating current vulnerabilities and creating new ones. Therefore, striving for a more equitable distribution of benefits and burdens and ensuring that vulnerable groups are not disproportionately harmed is increasingly seen as a crucial success factor for a just transition. On these premises, the Joint Programme EERA - e3s (clean Energy tranSition for a Sustainable Society) released a white paper on Just Energy Transition (JET) addressing both theoretical and policy challenges for the justice dimension to be properly considered and implemented in the EU energy transition pathways. Within the white paper, JET is intended in the exclusive sense of the European socioeconomic and environmental consequences and their ethical implications of transitioning from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources.

The white paper (and the proposed round table) is structured in four sections aimed at answering to as many questions.

  • Question 1: what is JET and why is needed?
  • Question 2: What are the main challenges towards achieving a JET in Europe?
  • Question 3: What are the current EU policies addressing JET?
  • Question 4: Which policies to steer the JET in EU?


Session proposal

Creating a roadmap for sustainable biofuel production: Accounting for different values and capabilities

Susan van der Veen (TU Delft, the Netherlands)
Sivaramakrishnan Chandrasekaran (TU Delft, the Netherlands)
Participants: You can register to participate by sending an email to ICNP2023

Purpose of the workshop (session of 90 minutes) :

Interactive session where you will get the chance to brainstorm on a specific case for the creation of inclusive and sustainable value chains for shipping biofuel production. We will discuss bottlenecks and possible solutions based on 1 concrete case study on biofuel production based on waste biomass. As an end result, we will together create a roadmap for the realization of that value chain, with some concrete actions and solutions.

Introduction and background:

There is an urgent need to replace fossil-based energy with more sustainable alternatives. One of the sectors that are heavily relying on fossil fuels is the shipping sector. The shipping sector aims to reduce their emissions and to reach those targets, biofuels are among the most viable alternatives in the short to medium term. At the same time, a lot of biomass is available worldwide that is currently being underutilized, mismanaged, or causing environmental issues. This underutilized biomass could be used as the basis for new value chains to produce biofuels. Creating new bio-based value chains not only holds the potential to contribute to energy transition but also to local socio-economic and environmental development in the regions where biomass is sourced. Setting up new value chains means linking actors in different contexts, with different perspectives, capabilities and needs with each other. This offers new opportunities, but also uncertainties and risks.

In order to create bio-based value chains that are inclusive and sustainable, all stakeholders need to be involved in the decision-making from early stages on. The design of bio-based value chains should be sensitive to the realities of biomass producers, who in many cases are smallholders, and to the end-user point of view, who needs to respond to market demands. This can give rise to conflicts related to questions of responsibilities, choice of technology, efficiency and the distribution of risk and benefit. Collaborations between industry, civil society and academia in different geographical locations are needed to overcome these challenges.

Set-up of the session:

In this session, we will work on one concrete case study on the design of a new value chain for the production of marine biofuels, based on encroacher bush in Namibia. In Namibia, about 45 million hectares are bush encroached, which has negative impact on the environment and threatens livelihoods due to reduced grazing capacity. A field study is carried out by a multi-disciplinary team, to understand the context and the possibilities and challenges of creating a new value chain based on the bush. The field study consisted of interviews with relevant stakeholders and a multi-stakeholder workshop. As a result, design requirement have been formulated and a roadmap is created. The purpose of this workshop is to complement the roadmap that is created in the field, with input from experts at the conference. The audience will be divided into smaller groups, and each group will work on a roadmap together.

Concrete bottlenecks will be presented and discussed with the panel. Questions that will be addressed are: What is needed to realise this roadmap? What type of support is needed from the European side?

Targeted audience:

Researchers and practitioners working on energy transition, multi-disciplinary work, sustainability sciences, public participation/participatory processes, international development, energy policy.

Last modified:19 June 2023 5.31 p.m.