UPWARDS AT THE SENSE Conference (Part 2)

How society will deal with ever increasing renewables infrastructure in landscapes, in the future is an important question that concerns policy makers and thus industry players. Speaking for WU, Helena made it very clear that the goal was to have actionable outputs come from the SENSE Conference.


[Gary] “Can you share how the event was structured to meet the action-oriented approach?”

[Helena] “The event had 2 major parts to it: identifying the obstacles involved in advancing on renewables development in the Netherlands & translating the identified obstacles into the specific research questions to answer.

The morning consisted of presentation sessions with speakers on policy who talked about current renewable energy policy for the Netherlands. The theme was energy landscapes with a number of sub-topics such as the challenges linked to spatial planning of renewable energy infrastructures,  changing land use functions that come with it and number of social and environmental aspects of renewable energy transitions in the Netherlands.

The afternoon consisted of several, parallel workshop sessions attended by policy makers, public officers and project developers.

(See previous article to see the topics covered during these workshops)

[Gary] “Clearly, the key issue is that policy makers and public officers know what the practical challenges of the Energy Transition are. Can you talk about how the conference was a podium for them to share their experiences and pose questions that science can answer?”

[Helena] “Bringing together all the key stakeholders was in fact the key point of the event so that the crucial conversations about bridging science and policy could happen.

Just to start the debate, and more so in order to have constructive dialogue that produces action, each group needs to be made aware of so much. Therefore, it was very productive to able to have a detailed and engaging dialogue about issues related to wind energy landscapes and thus how landscapes will be changing in the future. And based on all that, we discussed the relevant areas for future research in order to continue to develop wind energy.”


[Gary] “And in what capacity were you involved during this event?”

[Helena] “I was directly involved, presenting my PhD projects and UPWARDS, as I was the one leading the one of the workshops. As such I was able to actively drive the sessions towards posing questions and aggregating knowledge that were not only important for the national conversation but also valuable as input for the UPWARDS project that I and my colleague Mattijs Smits are involved in as the representatives of WU.”

[Gary] “Can you elaborate more specifically some of the actual outputs of the SENSE Conference?”

[Helena] “Of course. With all the obstacles identified per the workshops, the next step was to make a synthetic overarching statement per given obstacle.

For example, within the theme of energy landscapes 1 of the sessions’ results was on engagement of people, which became the specific research question of “What are the effective public participation processes to enable a successful implementation of the Energy Transition?” As another example, based on the obstacle of limited space, a resulting research question was “On multi-functional space for renewable energy: what were the pros and cons?” These were the kinds of for our part [WU] we were able to take away from the SENSE Conference.”


-Gary Grima

Posted 08/29/19