Rotterdam, city of energy transition

Rotterdam has big ambitions regarding the energy transition, one of the most important challenges of our time. The special composition of the Rotterdam metropolitan region features the biggest port in Europe, the industrial and petrochemical clusters based here and the related logistics. It is also a very densely populated region. This unique mix makes Rotterdam perfectly positioned to play a prominent role and be the logical centre where many innovations are taking shape.

As a delta city on the North Sea, Rotterdam is connected to the world. The port and the industrial clusters are a breeding ground for innovation, while Rotterdam’s innovativeness and DNA for hard work and experimenting are important driving factors. On the other hand, there is a very clear need: traditionally the port-industrial complex largely relies on the use of fossil fuels, which are associated with the emission of harmful gases. In line with international momentum regarding climate change, scarcity of resources, the need for energy security and in the context of international, national and local ambitions, it is crucial to make our city and port future proof. And that requires innovation.

Cooperation is key

While the Netherlands is internationally renowned for its consensus decision-making, we can certainly describe Rotterdam in terms of cooperation, enterprise and experimentation. Government, businesses and entrepreneurs, knowledge and research institutions work closely and actively together on important innovations to achieve ambitions relating to energy transition, digitalisation and circularity. The ‘triple helix’ here is not a paper model; it is the essence of progress, revealed in special facilities, hubs, programmes and partnerships which accelerate the energy transition. Concrete examples include the Rotterdam Offshore Wind Coalition, the PortXL programme, the Smart Energy Systems Programme (SES), the Human Capital Coalition Energy Transition and UP!Rotterdam.

Transition guides innovation in all sectors

The energy transition is a sector-overarching theme, which forces businesses in all sectors to think about their processes, products and services, impact, purpose and the role they want to play in the world. The energy transition thus guides innovation tasks in the energy cluster, but also in other sectors in which Rotterdam performs so well, including Maritime, Transport & Logistics, Agri & Food, Life Sciences & Health, IT & Tech. Digitalisation, circularity and renewable or clean energy are essential resources which facilitate the transition. The urgency behind the energy transition, the special ecosystem and Rotterdam’s characteristic resolve and collaborative and active approach mean that there are many opportunities in this metropolitan area for established businesses to invest in the future, and for start-ups and scale-ups working on innovative technologies and solutions.

Photo credits: Danny Cornelissen, Kunst en Vliegwerk, Gerhard van Roon | Guido Pijper | World Hydrogen Summit | Willem de Kam | Air Products

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