March 2013

There is rarely one solution (but some are better than others)

What I like about the energy sector is that there is never one single solution. The challenges are complex and there are always multiple solutions. That has been my experience over the past years working as subsea marketing director for General Electric (GE) with the oil and gas industry. And this impression has only been strengthened since I joined ECN as business developer six months ago. I am truly impressed by the depth and broad range of knowledge and expertise we have at ECN on all these various challenges and their solutions.

Abu Dhabi

To be honest, I was also rather surprised to learn how little knowledge there is of the commercial value of ECN’s expertise in the world of multinationals, where I have come from myself. This needs to change and it will change. Last month I had the honour of representing ECN together with some colleagues at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Our booth in the Holland Pavilion received many interested visitors, ranging from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to starting, young entrepreneurs.

Breadth and depth

What makes ECN unique is that we can advise our partners across the board:  from the establishing of a course that takes into account realistic future scenarios and the regulations of national and supranational governments up to the testing and actually installing of a selected technology. We cover the full breadth of the energy spectrum: from efficiency via wind and solar energy to new energy concepts such as seaweed cultivation. It is this breadth and depth that makes ECN an ideal partner to assist industrial businesses in making and implementing the right decisions.


My challenge consists of entering into sustainable, strategic alliances with the major players in the energy sector on behalf of ECN. My list contains businesses such as Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Saudi Aramco, but also multinational suppliers such as GE, Rolls Royce and Heerema. Together with these businesses, I want to explore all opportunities for offering them our support. In the talks I have had so far, this wish clearly met with a response. ECN’s independent position instils confidence. Businesses are always searching for partners that can help them improve their processes and establish the lines towards the future. After all, there is seldom only one single right solution. Still, some solutions are better than others.

Vital importance

It is of vital importance that the industry strengthens its market position, including for the longer term. It is of vital importance for all of us to take many right decisions and hence enable the transition to a sustainable energy system. With and for the market, we develop knowledge and technology that enable such a transition. This is ECN’s mission and I gladly dedicate myself to it.

Rebecca Groen-Marks is business developer at ECN