System transition

The energy transition is a complex social issue in which TNO combines a variety of expertise. It involves much more than just technological solutions, because the economic consequences and social aspects play at least as large a role. We therefore provide knowledge to public authorities, industry and other interested parties on how to switch to a CO2-free energy system as well as conduct research into how this can be fairly formulated.

That is why we carry out both scenario studies, in which we identify the consequences of various choices for a future energy system, and research into how the energy transition can remain affordable and how we can prevent and combat energy poverty.

After all, the success of the transition to a sustainable energy supply depends on public support. If the energy transition is to be a success, the entire population must be involved, not just the pioneers.

Predicting the success of plans

In our research, we consider the role of public authorities, businesses and consumers. On the basis of the results, the government can choose the right instruments to promote initiatives for sustainable energy. Many analyses assume that people make rational decisions motivated by the desire to keep costs as low as possible.

Nevertheless, people's decision-making behaviour appears to be considerably more complicated. Investigating the factors that play a role in making sustainable energy decisions makes it easier to predict which plans or measures will be effective.

In the Gridmaster project TNO and partners develop a new method for adequate, solid and formost future proof investment decisions for energy infrastructure in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Future scenarios

In scenario and system studies we outline relevant developments and provide scientifically validated insights to stimulate thinking about the energy transition and facilitate the debate. These are not blueprints but exploratory studies. For example, in a white paper entitled 'Scenarios for a climate-neutral energy system' we have elaborated two visions of the future for the period 2030-2050. Studies such as these provide points of departure for the energy policy to be pursued.

Drivers and barriers

For example, we have investigated what drivers and barriers there are for homeowners to make their homes natural gas-free. The results are important for municipalities that are making plans to make their neighbourhoods free of natural gas in the near future.

Partly on the basis of interviews with residents and civil servants in the municipalities of Purmerend and Zwijndrecht, we made an analysis of what makes residents enthusiastic or holds them back. This revealed, among other things, that providing clarity about the chosen approach, including the financial consequences, relieving worries and personal attention are decisive for the success of making homes free of natural gas.

Insight into the entire energy system

Within TNO, technologists, behavioural scientists and energy experts work together to make neighbourhoods free of natural gas in a way that is acceptable to everyone. Thanks to their broad knowledge, they also have insight into the total energy system and can relate making neighbourhoods gas-free to other available energy sources. By making knowledge available in a municipality or neighbourhood, other parties can learn from successes or mistakes.

In the report 'All existing homes gas-free in 2050. Who should do what, when and how?' we give very concrete guidelines for the parties involved. We also include new business models and the desired legislation and regulations.

Energy portal with independent information

With the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, energy experts from TNO have built the energy transition portal Here, energy professionals can find reliable and independent information about the energy transition.

People who have to shape this transition need to be able to make well-founded decisions. In addition to policymakers, the website also offers useful information for teachers, students or, for example, homeowners who are taking sustainable initiatives locally.


Possible breakthrough for geothermal production with steel shot drilling technique

01 March 2021
Improve robust and safe geothermal production at lower costs with advanced directional drilling technology is the goal in the DEPLOI project: DEmonstrate Production enhancement with LOw cost side track... Read more

New EU project funded to develop cost-effective sustainable aviation fuel

25 February 2021
Aviation is one of the most challenging sectors when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions. One of the reasons is that common alternatives such as electrification or hydrogen propulsion, are not expected... Read more

Rijswijk research centre for geothermal energy can continue to make important contribution to energy transition

12 February 2021
With the recent signing of contracts to extend their commitment until 2024, the initiators of the 'Rijswijk Centre for Sustainable Geo-Energy' (RCSG) have once again underlined the importance of the centre. ... Read more

European project HEREWEAR to develop biobased circular textiles

26 January 2021
Within the newly approved Horizon 2020 project HEREWEAR, TNO will, as part of a European consortium, aim to develop biobased circular textiles. Read more

Gridmaster cooperation for future-proof investments in energy infrastructure in the port of Rotterdam

12 January 2021
Recently, a consortium of cooperating parties covering the whole spectrum of the energy infrastructure market signed an agreement for the Gridmaster Haven Industrieel Cluster (HIC) Rotterdam project. Gridmaster... Read more

TNO to study geology for underground Einstein Telescope

26 November 2020
The Dutch Black Hole Consortium will receive 4.9 million euros from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) within the framework of the Dutch Research Agenda. The new interdisciplinary consortium will further... Read more


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