The Road to a Climate Neutral Amsterdam by 2050

Adapted from City of Amsterdam website:

We are eagerly awaiting the official release of the City’s “Climate Neutral Road Map 2050” that has been in the works for some time.  Amsterdam’s goal is to set irreversible movement toward having the city move away from coal, oil and gas to clean energy.  The city has made an appeal to its constituents to offer up ideas and suggested initiatives.

In general, the 2050 goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 95% as compared to 1990 levels, and by 2040 have the city completely free of natural gas. The intermediate goal is to have 55% less CO2 emissions by 2030.  

The City is “practicing what they preach” and has committed to having their offices and business operations climate neutral and free of natural gas by 2030.  Transitioning all buildings, metro and tram, and municipal vehicles is included in the plan, as well as requiring that purchases made by the municipality through tenders be climate neutral.  The City has reduced its CO2 emissions drastically by transitioning from 50 decentralised data centres to two central energy-efficient data centres.  Amsterdam has also transitioned to LED lighting in public spaces.

For the greater city-wide plan, five sectors have been identified: Buildings, Traffic, Electricity, Industry, and Port.  Below are the stated goals and what is underway in each category.

Buildings Goal:  All buildings (homes, offices, business premises, hospitals, schools, etc.) in Amsterdam will be CO2 neutral in 2050 and natural gas free by 2040.

Progress:

  • The municipality is taking the lead on switching from natural gas to sustainable energy through changes with district heating.  Gas consumption has fallen by 16% since 2010.
  • The Amsterdam natural gas-free subsidy makes it more attractive for home-owners to take steps toward becoming natural gas free on their own.
  • New construction must be almost energy neutral starting in 2019.

Traffic Goal:  By 2030 (hopefully as early as 2025) motorised traffic will be emission-free.

Progress: The City is working to reach this goal by adjusting parking policies; promoting cycling, shared cars, and electric cars; and by making car-free or emission-free zones.  There are currently more than 2800 vehicle charging points in public space in Amsterdam.

Electricity Goal:  By 2022, the City wants to install at least 250 megawatts of solar energy and approximately 17 megawatts of wind energy.  This is approximately 1 million solar panels and 6 wind turbines.

Progress: The City Sustainability Fund provides loans for the purpose of financing sustainability projects such as insulating buildings or installing solar panels.  The municipality has also committed to having windmills at the port by 2022 that will produce the 17 megawatts of wind energy.

Industry & Port Goal:  Industry and port operations are climate neutral and circular by 2050. 

Progress: Currently, 80-90% of CO2 emissions come from industrial processes and fuels used for shipping.  The City asked Nuon/Vattenfall and the government to close the Hemweg power station four years earlier than the original plan.  The plant was then scheduled for closure in December of 2019.  The municipality also promotes the construction of a hydrogen cluster and sets frameworks for data centres that can supply their heat to residential areas.

More information can be found on the City of Amsterdam website

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