Has the Dutch ‘Topsector Energy’ been following the right approach in reaching their intended goals?

Trinomics, in collaboration with CE Delft (project lead partner), has evaluated the performance and future directions of the Dutch ‘Topsector Energy’ (TSE). In this TSE Programme set up by the Dutch government, public research institutions and private companies are cooperating in energy innovation. The programme is co-funded by the government and the participating private partners. When the evaluation study took place, more than 130 projects had been initiated, clustered into seven innovation areas or ‘Top Knowledge Institutes’ (TKIs).

In the evaluation, it was examined to what extent claimed interim results of the TSE as a whole and the TKIs in particular can be substantiated. It was also examined to what extent the TSE approach still fits with external energy developments on a global, European and Dutch level, and to what extent it fits with the overall economic comparative advantages of the Netherlands.

The two evaluation reports as well as the management summary are available for download (in Dutch) through the buttons below. These reports have also been published on the Topsector Energy website.

The study revealed the following main findings:

  • Projects are generally in line with the competitive strengths of the Netherlands. However,
  • The projects lack coordination, which could be provided by a clear overarching vision on the role of energy innovation in the overall transition of the Netherlands towards a post-domestic-gas society. Also,
  • A clearer division between innovation projects that can deliver CO2 reduction and employment on the short term on one hand, and more fundamental innovation projects for the longer term, could help to give more clarity to participants and the outside world in what the Topsector actually stands for.