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Amsterdam launches Climate and Energy Fund

The City of Amsterdam has announced plans to invest €45 million in financially viable and sustainable energy projects. On 3 October 2013, Alderperson Maarten van Poelgeest launched the Amsterdam Climate & Energy Fund at the Amsterdam ArenA. The fund will invest in large-scale projects that make a demonstrable contribution to saving energy, the generation of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. An external body will be responsible for operating the fund.

Banks often deem sustainable investments as being too high-risk, especially in the initial stages of the project. As such, the new fund will be able to perform an important function, allowing the city authorities to boost investment in sustainability while retaining returns in line with the prevailing market. Alderperson Van Poelgeest: It is important that plans of entrepreneurs that try to make our city more sustainable get a fair chance. But this is not a subsidy, the projects have to be financially viable so the investment will be recouped.’

Independent watchdog
An independent investment committee comprised of experts in the field will review all investment decisions and perform a watchdog function. A decision will be taken in advance regarding the conditions applied to how the fund administrator operates, the type of projects the fund can invest in and the requirements linked to administration of the fund. The first 30 potential projects have already presented themselves and financing for several projects is expected to be announced by the end of the year. The revolving character of the fund means that any profits will be reinvested in the coming 15 years.

Investment in sustainable initiatives in the city
In addition to the external fund, the Amsterdam Investment Fund also has €4.75 million available for sustainable initiatives in the city. For example, Amsterdammers interested in saving or generating energy in their neighbourhood or launching a project to help reduce air pollution in the city can apply to the City of Amsterdam for a loan. They will benefit from a low, fixed interest rate of 1.99% on a loan with a maximum duration of 15 years. The City of Amsterdam recently selected eight city initiatives, representing a total investment of €1 million. Alderperson Van Poelgeest officially granted the loans on 3 October, with projects including the installation of solar panels on housing complexes, a football clubhouse, a school, a shop and a historical institute. Amsterdam has also granted a loan to facilitate the installation of double glazing in houses. Applications for the next round of loans will be accepted from 3 October.

The Amsterdam city council established the Amsterdam Investment Fund in 2011, facilitated by the sale of shares in NUON. The fund makes a total of €70 million available for investment in projects linked to sustainability, improving the environment and addressing air pollution. The money is destined for investment in projects devised by residents, businesses, knowledge institutions and community organisations aimed at saving energy, generating renewable energy or improving air quality in Amsterdam. Investment is targeted at projects that offer strong social returns and contribute to the transition of energy or CO2 savings.