Amsterdam’s renewable energy aspirations

Amsterdam has launched its Sustainability Agenda for renewable energy, clean air, a circular economy and a climate-resilient city. Amsterdam’s citizens and businesses spend approximately EUR 1.8 billion on electricity bills annually. The municipality is aiming to join forces with partners in the city to invest more in renewable energy and energy efficiency. This will simultaneously reinforce economic growth in Amsterdam and the wider region and contribute to an affordable residential and business environment.

Amsterdam’s renewable energy aspirations

Amsterdam is working towards a more renewable energy-based economy in which the city aims to, by 2020, generate 20 percent more renewable energy per capita and be 20 percent more energy efficient compared to 2013. The result of this will be a reduction in the city’s carbon emissions by 40 percent and 75 percent in 2025 and 2040 respectively.

Amsterdam’s renewable energy future

To achieve Amsterdam’s renewable energy aspirations, the city will increase the number of solar panels across the city from 40,000 in 2013 to around 630,000 by 2020, increasing solar production from 9MW to 160MW, which is sufficient for 80,000 households, up from 5,000 in 2013. By 2040, the city aims to reach 1,000MW of solar power that can provide electricity for approximately 450,000 households.

To increase solar energy Amsterdam will use a range of initiatives across the city including:

  • Actively informing roof-owners about the possibilities of solar energy,
  • Amending or removing local obstructive rules, for example requirements regarding building aesthetics,
  • Lobbying the national government to amend obstructive legislation,
  • Simplifying building rights on leasehold properties for solar projects,
  • Creating partnerships with housing associations and businesses regarding the utilization of roof surfaces,
  • Supporting social real estate in using their roof surfaces for solar panels.

Amsterdam will also increase its wind energy production by at least 18MW, from the current amount of 67MW to 85MW by 2020. To do so, Amsterdam will enter into discussions with provincial and central government on wind turbine sites, seek sites for wind turbines in the Amsterdam port area and offer Amsterdam inhabitants the option of purchasing locally produced, renewable energy. The municipality will also facilitate the availability of sites through spatial and legal processes.

Policies to reduce energy consumption

In addition to increasing renewable energy, Amsterdam aims to reduce energy consumption with a particular focus on housing association homes, businesses, schools, sports facilities and energy-neutral new developments. Specifically, the city is initiating a portfolio of initiatives to increase each target sector’s energy efficiency. These initiatives include:

  • The municipality collaborating with housing associations on the production of renewable energy for instance the installation of solar panels,
  • Businesses being able to call on the municipality for independent information and a free energy audit describing potential measures, required investments and the payback period,
  • Refurbishing 100 existing primary and secondary schools to meet a B standard (good) across five specific themes important to a healthy school (energy efficiency, air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort and acoustic comfort),
  • The municipality increasing the sustainability of at least 25 percent of outdoor sports clubs with a clubhouse by offering energy audits and the supervised  implementation of energy-saving measures,
  • The municipality assigning at least a 30 percent weight (in terms of significance) to sustainability when weighing the criteria in the selection of development plans and developing parties.

The take-out

Amsterdam will utilize a portfolio of tools, including fostering partnerships with businesses, to encourage investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency across the city with the overall benefit being a healthy, clean and economically prosperous environment for all.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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1 Comment

  1. Hello Robert,
    It is really encouraging to observe different governments are coming up with projects of sustainable development. Amsterdam’s initiative to have more solar panels to cut carbon emission is laudable, no doubt.


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