Energiefonds Overijssel (EFO) has signed a €50 million finance contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The signing ceremony took place in Enschede, marking the tenth anniversary of the fund. The EIB investment brings the fund’s resources to €330 million from now until the end of 2027, enabling it to grant more favourable loans for green energy and sustainability projects in the region.
Energiefonds Overijssel Director Anouk Blüm said: “Support for the Enschede Energie cooperation project is a good example of how EIB resources enable us to intensify financing provision. As part of a local cooperation programme bringing together volunteers and residents of Enschede and based on the expertise of the fund, Energiefonds Overijssel facilitated the financing of a solar photovoltaic energy project. In this way, and with the support of the local population, we are gradually making the whole province more sustainable.”
The energy fund targets projects aiming to save energy and/or generate renewable energy locally, for example by installing solar panels on the roofs of businesses. It thereby contributes to meeting the new energy use goals of the province of Overijssel and the Netherlands’ general objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. All of the projects supported by this financing must have energy impact (they must promote a reduction in energy use, the production of renewable energy or the green transition).
EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters said: “Energiefonds Overijssel supports the Netherlands’ goal of making the country climate neutral by 2050. After backing the Limburg energy fund, the EIB is pleased to be able to support a similarly important initiative in the province of Overijssel. Sustainability works, not only for the environment, but also from a financial perspective. We are therefore on the lookout for other provinces that have similar funds or wish to set up such a structure.”
The finance contract — implemented in partnership with the province of Overijssel — is born of the provincial authorities’ longstanding desire to use EU resources to support businesses in the region. Eddy van Hijum, member of the council of the province of Overijssel responsible for the economy, said: “Energiefonds Overijssel has been supporting the energy transition and helping to cut CO2 emissions for ten years. The need to ensure an independent, green and affordable energy supply is more pressing than ever. It requires smarter and ultimately lower energy use and a strong commitment to green energy production. Especially at a time when energy prices are skyrocketing, Energiefonds Overijssel can make a difference by financing local energy cooperatives, civil society organisations and innovative companies and mid-caps. The fund can use the additional EIB resources to provide the impetus that is so urgently needed. And we are proud of it!”
In addition to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, Energiefonds Overijssel finances district heating networks and innovative sustainable energy projects. The investments supported by the fund are expected to result in significant savings and a major reduction in CO2 emissions, in line with the EIB’s objectives as the EU climate bank. Final investment decisions are made by the fund, which is managed by StartGreen Capital, a large impact finance fund manager.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term financing institution of the European Union. Its shareholders are the EU Member States (the Netherlands holds just over 5%), which enables the EIB to borrow money on the capital markets at very favourable rates. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards key EU policy goals related to sustainable growth, job creation and climate action. Last year, the EIB allocated over €2 billion to projects in the Netherlands in the areas of healthcare, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and energy efficiency.
Energiefonds Overijssel is the first and largest regional energy fund in the Netherlands. It was created in 2012 by the province of Overijssel. It is helping to speed up the energy transition by financing new sustainable energy projects in the province. It does not intervene in a traditional way with grants, but rather via equity stakes, loans and guarantees. The fund mainly contributes to the achievement of the province’s new energy goals, as well as the Netherlands’ target of climate neutrality by 2050 (national target: 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030). Energiefonds Overijssel aims to reach a cumulative CO2 emissions reduction of 2 million tonnes by 2027. Overall, the fund contributes to employment, cutting carbon emissions, entrepreneurship and innovation in the province. It is managed by StartGreen Capital.
To date, Energiefonds Overijssel has mobilised over €280 million in financing for renewable energy projects in the region, focusing on sustainability, renewable production and local participation. As this is a revolving fund, the recovered resources can be redeployed in support of the same objectives. This has led to a 4 576 terajoule reduction in energy use and a 260 000 tonne CO2 emissions cut in the province of Overijssel so far. This is equivalent to the energy use of 71 755 households.
Photo: Flo Scheepers