CEO Paul Korting looks back on 2014 and looks ahead

Monday March 2, 2015 14:02

New partnerships, impactful projects, and technical innovation. ECN’s CEO Paul Korting reviews 2014 and looks ahead.

“The National Energy Outlook was, I believe, the most impactful report for us in 2014. In it, we showed the progress we have made in the Netherlands in terms of energy transition. On the one hand, there is a noticeable shift towards more renewable energy. On the other, it is becoming painfully clear that the European objective for 2020 is beyond reach. In the Netherlands, the Energy Agreement provided a boost in 2014, especially regarding wind at sea. On the international front, turnover in clean energy technology has grown to US$320 billion.”

Highly promising initiatives launched
“I see highly promising initiatives everywhere I look. For example, we are working with industrial companies who are seeking to join forces and investigate whether a residual substance produced by one company can be used as a raw material by another. Elsewhere, sustainable innovations have been moved closer to the market in 2014. Cases in point are solar panels with a greater shadow tolerance, efficient membranes, and heat pumps. Technology is continuing to develop, and is becoming more affordable. An interesting development is the Fleet Leader model, which will enable us to significantly reduce the costs of maintaining offshore wind farms. Thanks to its working partnerships with universities, industry and SMEs, ECN made a solid contribution to sustainable innovation in 2014. We help public and private sector organisations to make effective investment decisions.”

Visible match between technology and enterprise
“For us, collaboration between the public sector, research institutes, and the private sector is crucial. It is only by investing together that we can innovate quickly enough and actually apply innovations. A good example in 2014 was the partnership between Bronswerk, IBK, Smurfit Kappa, and ECN. Together, we devised a way of making better use of residual heat through the deployment of heat pumps for paper factories. Another example was the opening of a solar panel factory in the United States that runs entirely on technology developed by ECN and a number of other companies. Again, this is a case of using our expertise to contribute to the innovation and development agenda of governments and to the commercial success of other companies.”

Climate challenges in the next few years
“In the next few years, the biggest challenge facing us is to realise international and national energy ambitions. A major concern I have is the budget for applied research made available by the government. Because the budget is too limited (in comparison with a number of neighbouring countries), and indeed is being cut back, we have noticed that vital technologies, and those with enormous potential, are not reaching the market, or not as quickly as they should be. If we want to achieve the ambitions in the Energy Agreement, then we must invest in applied research in order to bring down the costs of sustainable energy. That goes too for the international ambitions that will be determined in the 2015 Climate Agreement. Here at ECN, we will do everything we can. In 2015, we will be refocusing our strategy and placing greater emphasis on enhancing the impact we have, both in the Netherlands and abroad.” 

Category: Maart, Corporate