The Estonian-Norwegian team of the RENEW project discussed the results of the final report with stakeholders. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Embassy of Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vice Rector of TalTech Green Revolution and representatives of RENEW Estonia-Norway partners, members of the research group.
The project team presented the main findings and the participants provided feedback on the report, including on the priorities and challenges for the future of renewable energy.
Following the presentations and workshop discussions, it was agreed that the key to the green transition in Estonia and Norway is the success of piloting renewable energy technologies and involving stakeholders (including communities) as equal partners. For example, offering fair compensation to local communities in the design and construction of wind farms.
The Norwegian Ambassador in Estonia, Marius Dirdal, stressed that Norway is a leader in green energy production and that energy demand and exports from Norway are increasing. Cooperation with Estonia, a small but flexible and rapidly adapting country, is seen as mutually beneficial and the Norwegian side is ready to share its experience. Ambassador Marius Dirdal: "In Norway we are convinced that energy policy is an integral part of modern defence policy and that self security is part of overall security. In achieving this, we see an important role for the public sector, academia and businesses to work together to test and implement promising innovative solutions".
Kaja Tael from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was of the opinion that TalTech is a natural and important partner in analysing the possibilities of renewable energy and the green transition between Estonia and Norway. She stressed that in a global perspective, we need to act now to slow climate change, we can only reduce the impact. Kaja Tael: "Similar vision reports have been prepared in Finland, Sweden and Latvia, and it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no more pressing foreign diplomacy goal than to develop strong Nordic-Baltic cooperation to pool our resources and be more effective as a region in the EU and beyond."
Helen Sooväli-Sepping, Vice Rector of TalTech's Green Transition, said that the report has come at a special time (momentum) - when the Ministry of Climate has been newly established and the Minister has emphasised the priority of finding renewable energy solutions and making the necessary legislative changes.
Merli Reidolf, Director of the Department of Business Administration at TalTech, pointed out, "One of the roles of our department is to help at the micro level to understand new technologies, to identify the need for new skills and to help develop workable business models.
As the head of TalTech's Circular Economy Core Lab, Allan Niidu sees that awareness of the circular economy needs to be developed, including cooperation between government agencies, businesses, local authorities and researchers.
Lecturer Ulrika Hurt, project manager from TalTech, stressed that offshore and onshore wind energy, energy storage, hydrogen, solar energy, carbon sequestration, biomass, geothermal energy, energy saving solutions for industry are all part of the energy of the future. Before innovative solutions can be tested, the space must be created for innovation to be created and tested. Skills need to be developed and knowledge-based certainty and feedback provided to entrepreneurs (e.g. that there is a market and what changes are needed for the market). Ulrika Hurt: "We need to prepare people for the emergence and uptake of new technologies. If the technology is ready, but people are not ready, it is of little use". Investment needs to be guided - what are the savings opportunities and future developments, scenarios, and this is where collaboration with research institutions has an important role to play. Estonia is flexible and small, a good 'sandbox' to pilot new technologies and encourage stakeholders to use the technology if the results are good. Intellectual property and the well-conceived channelling of funding will play an increasing role".
Rutt Hints from TalTech's Department of Geology: "We have 4 years to maximise the use of renewable energy. Wind, solar, low-temperature theothermal heating, biomass have great potential. The challenges ahead of us are related to policy design and implementation, finding energy storage options". The blue economy is evolving, with the development of solar-powered robots in agriculture as a new direction.
Allan Niidu presented the hydrogen roadmap and Researcher Margit Kull introduced carbon storage.
The results of the workshop group work identified as priority topics for the future of renewable energy:
Hybrid energy storage systems.
Working with communities, engaging communities and sharing benefits with them
Capacity building in academia, expertise in business, government and enhancing transnational cooperation.
The next steps will be the final feedback, publication and presentation of the project's final report, and the planning of further cooperation.