Zuid-Holland sets €35 million fund for innovation in energy




Zuid-Holland Province proposes to speed up the transition to clean energy by allocating € 35 million to a planned new Energy Innovation Fund. The plan stems from the Energy Agenda adopted by the provincial executive on 5 July. The Provincial Council is scheduled to handle the Energy Agenda and proposed investment strategy for the Energy Innovation Fund on 12 October.

Regional minister Han Weber: "The establishment of the Energy Innovation Fund is one of the first moves towards implementing the Zuid-Holland’s Energy Agenda. The fund is intended to accelerate the move towards sustainable energy with lower CO2 emissions and to strengthen the provincial economy. Reducing CO2 emissions and building up sustainable energy requires new technologies as well as those that are currently available - wind turbines, solar and tidal. Our aim with the fund is to help get these new technologies off the ground.

Fund terms and conditions

Initiatives must meet three requirements to qualify for financing by the fund. First, the project must be innovative to a greater or lesser degree. The technology must also be demonstrably feasible in practice. The key issue is the stage at which the technology is scaled up or brought to market.

Second, it is important that the initiative either leads to lower CO2 emissions in Zuid-Holland province or contributes to the provincial energy system of the future. That could mean developing smart grid, energy storage and energy conversion technologies. Where the reduction in CO2 emissions is not specifically attributable to Zuid-Holland, a funding application may still be taken into consideration if the applicant has a head office, research & development department or production unit located in the province. A third condition is that the necessary financing cannot or cannot readily be raised on the open market.

Scaling up and commercialisation

Research has revealed market inadequacy in the area of scaling up production and bringing new and demonstrably feasible technology to market. As well as production lines, marketing and so on, advancing towards large scale practical application requires continuing technological development - fewer components, better design, different materials, for example. To support such development the province is allocating € 35 million to a revolving fund. That is to say the financing of loans that in principle must be redeemed. This fund is intended as a multiplier and also to draw third parties over the threshold towards co-financing or lower yield requirements.

€ 100 million for energy

An allocation of € 100 million to a fund for energy transition was already announced in the EnergyAgenda for 2016 - 2020 - 2050. That sum breaks down into € 50 million for heat infrastructure, € 15 million for heat generation and € 35 million for innovation in energy. The allocation of € 65 million for heat is currently still being examined together with other parties in Zuid-Holland. The investment strategy for setting up the Energy Innovation Fund is based on a market survey on the allocation of fund resources conducted by the province.

Zuid-Holland Energy Agenda

The Energy Agenda sets out five strategies, aspirations and actions for the transition to clean, sustainable energy, thus building on the province's future economy. Together with its partners the province is taking action on these five strategies: innovation, utilizing residual and geothermal heat, sustainable investment and purchasing, making energy transition possible in terms of spatial planning and active partnership with other regions.