ACES aims to facilitate and accelerate energy and sustainability transitions in the Norwegian port sector. The port sector is characterized by its connecting of different sectors and economies, and it operates in between local, regional and international levels of governance and regulation. Transitioning the port sector therefore requires strategies that allows intersectoral maneuvering and that interact with multiple levels of governance. In ACES we have therefore started to gather knowledge about particularities with transition sites characterized by intersectoral couplings and multilevel governance. We have started to collect existing academic and empirical knowledge and experience with such cases, preparing us to initiate transition processes within the Norwegian port sector.
These transition processes will be initiated by reference to Transition Management (TM), which is a theoretical and methodological approach for devising strategic, tactic, operational and reflective activities that enable transition work. TM pervades almost all ACES activities, and we have started planning how to apply this framework within the contexts of Norwegian ports. We have started to gather knowledge about existing use of TM in the port sector and similar transition sites (e.g. urban areas) and are planning knowledge transfer among R&D partner to enable ACES to apply TM in specific cases.
In ACES, TM will be applied to initiate and/or accelerate transition processes at the national level, and in the ports of Kristiansand, Borg and Bodø. We are preparing this work through desktop studies and consultancy with project partners, allowing the researchers to get acquainted with the TM cases in ACES. This work will be complemented with interviews and workshops with project partners and stakeholders surrounding each TM case. The preparation for of case-specific TM continues in close discussion with collaboration partners, as ACES builds on extensive dialogue and consultancy with the project's many collaboration partners. Among other, the project organized a formal kick-off workshop for ACES in September 2021, where some of the discussions particularly relevant to the national transition work were initiated. The first steering committee meeting of the project, where all partners are represented, was conducted in October 2021.
The project has also established a digital advisory board, with confirmed representatives from R&D in energy transitions, maritime technologies, maritime transportation and energy, as well as representatives from a selection of European ports. The digital advisory board will represent a discussion partner for the project but might also be invited to participate in specific project activities. Further specification of DAB participation will follow a planned DAB meeting in January 2022. ACES has also devised a detailed dissemination plan for the entire project period, which among other plans for the launch of the project's first newsletter January 2022. ACES has further been presented at one scientific conference and at one workshop for the Norwegian port sector.
ACES will also include a post-doc position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which is expected to be a prominent contributor in the project from 2022. Project activities and cases are also planned as part of teaching activities at NTNU (e.g. home exams).
ACES is further connected to several other research projects and centers with direct and indirect synergies, with national and international funding.
The Norwegian government has declared that all Norwegian ports should be zero-emission by 2030. Ports can move society towards zero emission through the number of functions they serve, including delivering sustainability ambitions; ensuring synergies between the different sectors that intersect in ports; and developing new governance roles. The hub position of ports represents substantial potential for sector coupling and integration of multiple energy systems. Capitalizing on this potential calls for the port sector to take an executive role in sustainability transitions. Sector-wide energy and sustainability transitions in ports further require deliberate, port-specific transition work to be coupled with intersectoral perspectives and national visions.
ACES meets these challenges by introducing Transition Management (TM) to the Norwegian port sector. TM is a prescriptive framework which enables policy makers to nurture and govern transitions through strategic, tactical, operational and reflexive activities. It recognizes that transitions emerge through interactions among a plurality of actors which foster collaboration and visions to enable and accelerate transition work.
To facilitate and accelerate sector-wide energy and sustainability transitions in Norwegian ports, ACES will therefore establish the first dedicated national transition arena which engages visionary and sustainability-oriented port actors and the key stakeholders from relevant sectors to cocreate a national transition agenda, therein laying the foundation for the future, sustainable port sector. ACES will also facilitate and accelerate transition work in individual ports and among their users. It therefore provides port-specific transition management arenas which raises the facilitatory capacity of ports and enables co-creation of transition agendas, therein allowing strategic and comprehensive transition work also beyond the project.