Lessons learned from CCS development in the North of the Netherlands

2015-02-16 11:02 by Anja Reitz

The planning processes for developing and implementing new, innovative technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) take place in complex political, societal, economic and technical environments. Such planning processes can easily become intangible and complex due to their multi-level, multi-stakeholder and multi-issue characteristics. Gaining insight into the complexity and dynamics of these processes can help future developers, decision makers and other key stakeholders involved in developing new CCS (or other innovative energy) projects.


The planning process for CCS in the North of the Netherlands formally started in 2007 due to a political decision in the province of Groningen. The Government planned to connect the preparation of the two new coal fired power stations to CCS technology. The planning process more or less ended on the 14th of February 2011, after a decision by the Dutch Government to indefinitely postpone onshore carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in the Netherlands, mainly due to a lack of public support.

Goal: gaining insight into complexity

The focus of our research was to unravel and understand the planning process, including the roles, interests and interactions of the different stakeholders given the political and societal dynamics at that time. The aim of the project was to provide lessons to support future developers, decision makers and other key stakeholders for CCS projects, in order to improve the ability of developers to cope with the complex context in which the new technology has to be implemented. Moreover, these results are thought to be applicable for other innovative energy projects that have to be implemented in politically and socially complex environments, like wind energy or biomass projects.


The CATO2 Executive Board was keen on learning lessons from the CCS case in the North of the Netherlands, by composing a reconstruction of the planning process. However, some of the directly involved stakeholders were somewhat reluctant to participate in the proposed research project. Therefore, the CATO2 Executive Board agreed to support a confidential case study. According to the condition of confidentiality, the contributions of both the interviewees and the external experts have been processed anonymously.


Source: Global CCS Institute Insights, Barend Van Engelenburg & Hanneke Puts, 4 Feb 2015

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