Background:Changing the energy systems to climate friendly and sustainable systems is one of the largest challenges facing society today. The characteristics of the innovation systems with respect to new and renewable energy technologies are central for how well countries perform and are able to contribute to the needed changes, in a strong international competition. In the future, Danish economy cannot rely on oil and gas exports, but will be highly dependent on innovation in energy technology, equipment and know-how – an area that has been growing very fast in the latest decade. The understanding and the analytically-based knowledge of the energy innovation systems are however still scattered and limited on many points.The purpose of the strategic research alliance for energy innovation systems is to connect leading Danish and international researchers on the issue and analyse the nature of the energy innovation systems in Denmark seen as part of an international context. Through the analyses the alliance will critically assess the characteristics of the innovation systems and the innovation dynamics with respect to individual areas of energy technology. The alliance activities will feed into the strategic planning in individual areas of energy technologies as well as to development of policies and institutionalisations in the energy area and within innovation and research policy. In addition, the alliance will assess to what extent the ambitious visions and plans about green growth, competitiveness and innovation for sustainability are realistic. ZEW is mainly involved in workshops on the question of energy systems innovation.