EDI Course Essays – a deep dive into an energy world in transition.

There are two courses in EDI’s executive education portfolio for which course participants write essays. These are the ‘Executive Programme New Energy Realities’, and the ‘Executive Programme Energy Transition and Innovation’. The essays reflect from a great and fascinating variety of perspectives on the rapidly changing energy world. 

We at EDI are now proud to present some of these essays to you, packed as they are with valuable insights and careful considerations. We expect that this EDI portfolio of published essays will grow as we move through the years. Enjoy!

Bert Stuij
EDI, Vice President Innovation
Course Director Executive Education New Energy Realities
Course Director Executive Programme Energy Transition and Innovation.

Generation Y - the salesmen of the energy transition
An essay by Talitha Muusse

The energy transition means in essence that the energy system is re-designed to meet the needs of the generations to come. It then makes sense to reflect on the role in this transition of the generation that now starts its career. This generation of 'Millenials', or 'Generation Y' is perhaps uniquely placed to indeed play a role as catalyst for the energy transition. Or, as it is called in this essay, as 'salesmen'. The essay reflects on the role and specific characteristics of young professionals, and comes to a hopeful conclusion. 'Many young professionals would consider sustainability and innovation projects as an ideal way to distinguish themselves within their organisations build a broad network and build their careers'                               

Where's the money coming from - Financing the energy transition
An essay by Patrick Claessen

Whether the energy transition is expensive or not is a matter of debate - it may yet prove to be very cost effective. But there is no doubt that the transition will require huge amounts of money. This essay reflects on the sources of that money, and the financing requirements that must be met to indeed liberate the funds for the good cause. This highly informative essay addresses subjects such as capital channels, financing structures and current trends.

Utilities and the energy transition - how to stay relevant in a market in turmoil
An essay by Fredrik Troost

The energy transition sometimes feels like a 'perfect storm' for utilities. Business models are under pressure, the relevance of the 'utility model' is questioned, and the competition is fierce in all parts of the value chain. This wide ranging essay first of all addresses key trends such as electrification and decentralisation, and then discusses areas where the traditional utilities could stay relevant and even thrive. The truth is that this will require a major effort, which will in effect be a business re-design. 

The Renewable Energy Revolution: how could it affect the growth opportunities for the global LNG markets
An essay by Steven Hulsman

The expectations for the global LNG market - in the light of the energy transition - vary dramatically. Investment decisions are sometimes made on the basis of rather optimistic scenarios, and that may yet prove to be a costly gamble. This essay reflects on the LNG market potential, against the background of developments such as the rapidly growing penetration of renewables in the power sector. All in all the careful conclusion is that there is certainly a lot of upside potential in the LNG market, but that LNG investments now seem to outpace even the most positive outlooks.

Towards a heat transition in the housing sector in the Netherlands
An essay by Ingrid Giebels

In the relatively brief time span of 30 years the housing sector in the Netherlands should become climate neutral, which in turn requires a dramatic reduction of the use of natural gas in buildings and households. This essay briefly reviews the technical options for such a transition, and then homes in on the roles the various actors should play. These include companies in the building sector, home owners, housing associations,  local authorities and regional or national policy makers. The essay ends with recommendations for each of them.?

Moving Mountains - the challenges for natural gas producers in the Netherlands
An essay by Ewout Pikaar

Natural gas production in the Netherlands is under pressure for various reasons, including aging of production fields, growing resistance to gas production from the giant Groningen field and a desired shift to 'non-carbon' energy resources. This obviously means a huge challenge for natural gas producers. This essay reflects on the role and ensuing (or remaining) opportunities for EBN, the state owned participant in Dutch natural gas fields. There are opportunities, but harvesting them sometimes feels like 'moving mountains'.  

Transformation of business of a company like Gazprom in New Conditions        
An essay by Genadij Zubarev

Can energy companies that act as backbones of the current energy system continue to thrive in an age of energy transition and new energy paradigms? That's an important question, no doubt also for one of these backbones - Gazprom from Russia. In this essay some elements of the transition are critically reviewed, with arguments for a perhaps even growing global gas demand. Furthermore, there are ample opportunities to optimise the position of gas in an energy system that moves to sustainability.  Based on a broad analysis of the future and of Gazprom's abilities the essay charts various avenues towards the future.  

The future of the Dutch offshore oil and gas infrastructure - Relevance and role in a carbon neutral energy system          
An essay by Matthijs Ruoff

Huge investements have been made in the North Sea energy infrastructure, mainly to produce and transport gas and oil from this region. The transition to a renewable based energy system might offer opportunities - a 'second life' if you like - to parts of this infrastructure. This essay reviews the arguments for that, and highlights some of the most promising opportunities.   

From Stability to Change - the new strategy for a Dutch gas grid operator to adapt to the changes in heating demand         
An essay by Elbert Huijzer

Gas has long been the backbone of heat provision to both buildings and the industry in the Netherlands. A huge infrastructure was realised in the past decades to make this possible and this infrastructure must be managed and maintained. In that, the role of  gas grid operators is key. With the shift to new ways of heat provision (with growing roles for electricity, heat pumps, heat distribution and so on) the strategies of gas grid operators also come under scrutiny. This essay reflects on the new realities, and provides important pointer for such a strategy.       

Transition and innovation - countries talk, cities walk?      
An essay by Evert Visser

Many global ecological boundaries are already crossed, more will be crossed soon. That's in no small part due to the fact that our energy system is fossil based. That must change, and it must change soon. Although this is widely recognised,  progress is currently slow. Some expect acceleration if 'cities' become the heart of the transition agenda. This essay discusses the potential of cities to indeed play a key role, with a specific focus on the situation in the Netherlands. The conclusion is balanced: cities may be in the forefront, but that will certainly not happen automatically.          

Fight, flight, fit or follow - an evaluation of potential survival strategies for energy incumbents in a changing world          
An essay by Killian McCarthy

The energy industry is in transition. Some of the transition is due to competitive changes, more is due to technological and regulatory changes. The energy incumbents have a number of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to dealing with this challenge. This essay considers how those features, and how the types of changes, impacts the firms strategic options. Four options are presented:  fight, flight, fit or follow. In each case the author introduces the strategy, applies the theory behind the strategy to the case of the energy incumbents, and draws conclusions about the appropriateness of that particular strategy. In doing so, a picture of the energy industry is painted, in terms of opportunities and threats for the incumbent energy firms. A version of this essay will be published as paper in the Journal of Business Strategy. 

Strategic leadership for an energy world in transition
An essay by Diana Westerwaal

That the energy world is in transition is perhaps an open door. What the role of the traditional energy companies - such as Shell - is in this transition is less obvious. They are sometimes viewed with suspicion given the huge interests they have in the 'current' energy system. At the same time they can act as catalysts for change given their vast resources and appetite for innovation. This essay reflects on Shell strategies in this landscape, with the notion that Shell strives for ongoing leadership in the energy world, even in the current era of rapid change.

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