The turn of the year gives rise to new challenges and possibilites, as well as a new Chair of the Board for Nordic Energy Research. The Chair of 2024 is Marie Claesson, Program Manager of the Swedish Energy Agency. She has been on the board of Nordic Energy Research since 2021 and will now take on the role as Chair after Baldur Pétursson, Project Manager of Orkustofnun, the Icelandic National Energy Authority.

Marie has worked for a long time with research funding and funding of knowledge building through research and demonstration, with topics varying from energy efficiency in buildings to research on humans in energy systems and society. At the Swedish Energy Agency, Marie organizes the work with the agency’s government assignment to coordinate a national mobilisation to secure skills provision for the electrification of society. The increased electrification generates a broad and extensive need for relevant skills for everything from permit processing to the construction and operation of various types of power plants, infrastructure and industrial plants. The short term need of these skills are great and is an urgent challenge that needs to be tackled.

With this significant background in the energy sector, we asked Marie how she envisions the upcoming year as Chair of Nordic Energy Research.

Marie Claesson, Program Manager of the Swedish Energy Agency and Chair of the Board of Nordic Energy Research in 2024.

What are your key goals for Chair of Nordic Energy Research in 2024, encompassing the board and institution?

As Chair of Nordic Energy Research in 2024, I see that continuity, collaboration, and strategic renewal are key goals. I’d like to see how we can set new standards, emphasizing Nordic priorities while fostering international collaboration. We enter a year with challenges, such as increasing energy security concerns in the global and regional context, intricate dynamics in the electricity market, surging demand of electricity, and an uncertain global political landscape.

I am looking forward to contributing to the constructive development of the institution and the board as we continue to build an integrated Nordic region. Currently the Nordic region is more united than ever, with a growing demand for Nordic solutions globally. In our international collaboration, we’ll share experiences of the Nordic model, regional cooperation, and actively learn from other countries. Committed to democratic values, peacebuilding, and human rights, we aim to strengthen connections with like-minded partners for a safer, more sustainable, fairer, and more democratic world.

What major themes do you see as crucial in the upcoming year and how do you plan to address them?

An inclusive green transition remains a priority, with a nuanced focus on building competencies for the evolving energy landscape. Active support for key areas—Nordic grand solutions, hydrogen, research mobility, and the Clean Energy Transition Partnership—will be in our focus. Navigating these themes becomes even more critical in the face of emerging challenges in energy security, the electricity market, demand surges, and political shifts.

Aligned with the Nordic Council’s vision, we recognize the importance of being an internationally known actor. Our international activities are grounded in shared values, citizen welfare, and regional security. The goal for the Nordics is to be the world’s most integrated region, ready to collectively address international challenges. As we collaborate, greater cost-effectiveness and impactful results can be realised.

Based on your perspective and experience, what are Nordic Energy Research’s strengths and areas for improvement?

Our strengths lie in coordination, knowledge-building, -sharing and networking. In 2024 our work to renew our strategy will spotlight international collaboration and address the opportunities with Nordic energy research and innovation. We always need to follow our time, to be one step ahead to stay relevant and further develop our methods. Strong networks in the research community as well as in the policy development is one of NERs most important strengths. The platform can be evolved further, and I see there is a potential to reach even more impact.

By the end of 2024, I hope that we achieve tangible progress in our focus areas, increased external impact, and a successful renewal of our strategy.