Towards a sustainable Amsterdam

Monday May 26, 2014 20:45

Greater energy efficiency in Amsterdam, with less consumption and more sustainable generation. Those are the investment goals of AKEF, the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund. Businesses, housing corporations and non-profit organisations in the Dutch capital can all qualify for support. Since April 2014, ECN has been helping AKEF to assess the sustainability aspects of applications for investment. Is the proposed reduction in carbon emissions feasible? Are the risks involved in a cleantech scheme acceptable? By providing so-called technology due diligence, ECN is mitigating the uncertainties surrounding major investments.

“My ideal Amsterdam is a city at the forefront of the energy transition we want to achieve in the Netherlands,” explains Jeroen Meinders of AKEF. “That means that we stimulate new technologies and really do cut carbon emissions here.” By investing in promising projects, AKEF hopes to help the city government fulfil its ambitions. But before any money is awarded, ECN first conducts a technical feasibility study.

Unique projects
The new partnership combines AKEF’s financial know-how with ECN’s technical capabilities in pursuit of a common goal: a sustainable capital city. Unique projects that have already attracted investment include the installation of solar panels at the Amsterdam ArenA stadium and an initiative to open green gas filling stations in and around the city.

Due diligence
ECN has now completed its first due diligence assignments for AKEF. These involve assessing the technical feasibility of projects seeking its backing. And they have to be completed quickly. “That short turnaround time is asking quite a lot of our researchers,” admits Bart de Vries. “But they are independent and flexible, and they do have the ability to evaluate and assess the risks associated with new technologies fast. Whether it be solar energy or industrial processes, a project for the construction of a new sustainable power station or an investment in software to optimise wind farm performance, we have the technical know-how in house.” The new partnership with AKEF has struck a chord, prompting ECN to start talks with other similar local and regional funds. “There are some great energy ambitions at the local level,” says De Vries. “We want to help guide investment choices towards projects which really can make a difference.”

Facts and figures


  • AKEF wants to reduce carbon emissions by at least 1.35 million tonnes, equivalent to the amount produced annually by about 550,000 cars.


  • AKEF is a revolving fund with a capital of €45 million.
  • Projects receive an investment of up €5 million each and must generate a return of at least 7 per cent.
  • Every euro invested has to reduce carbon emissions by at least 2 kilograms a year.

Are you interested in our partnership with AKEF or due diligence? Bart de Vries is happy to bring you up to date.

Category: Mei, Technology Due Diligence