The aim of North Sea - SEP was to foster a future oriented development on regional level by an energy oriented approach. To tackle these problems, the project had to improve local/regional development and the decision making processes by creating tools for regional planners. Successful reorientation and creation of new profiles like energy regions had to consider all actors in a region to involve them in the processes and to create ground for interactive development. Therefore methods and tools for regional planning and decision making were developed with focus on systematic energy planning.
During the last few years, the costs for fossil energy resources have been heavily increasing. Rising energy costs are contributing to a steadily increasing financial pressure for public utilities. In addition, small and smallest towns, often situated in rural areas, have to face a decreasing number of inhabitants. This leads to a negative cycle: the public bodies have a lower budget at hand while at the same time the costs are rising, despite the lower demand. Of course policy-makers recognize the problem and are taking action, however another difficulty appears: there is no available model showing how to link energy policies with the regional and/or local development.