Pushing towards a more sustainable Amsterdam, the Dutch capital’s City Council presented a five-year-plan on March 14 to implement an energy transition plan for the Port of Amsterdam that will be completed by 2030. “In pursuing this strategy, we are deliberately and literally making room for the development of new activities and innovations,” Chief Executive Koen Overtoom said.
The plan breaks down to: increasing activity per square metre, attracting start-ups and scale-ups, ensuring diversification and innovation, for the purpose of accelerating the energy transition and – finally – cutting down on coal reliance. The Port of Amsterdam is the fourth largest port in Western Europe to find coal volumes fall 7.5% to 16 million tons in the last year. It expects a further 29% decrease over the next five years. Several European governments, significantly those of Germany and Poland, have stopped burning coal or announced phase-out plans over the next 15 years, deeming it as one of the cheapest ways to wipe out greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is sensible from an economic point of view and more sustainable,” Overtoom added. A total of 68,000 people work in the port region; be it at companies in the port or at port-related companies. The plan is set to provide more employment opportunities in the Port of Amsterdam.
The port, nicknamed the ‘city’s battery,’ also generates heat for the capital and invests heavily in the production and storage of renewable energy. By 2020, it is planned to embrace a 100,000 square-meter solar array; this will transform Port of Amsterdam into a large sustainable energy supplier for the region.
Many cities are preparing themselves for the surge in urban population growth, as two thirds of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. One way of taking care of things is by adopting a circular economy approach; a ‘circular city’ – is a city that is powered by renewable energy and circulates resources. Circle City Program, a global platform helping cities, regions and businesses apply circular economy, is currently being tested in Amsterdam, as well as Glasgow, Scotland.
Amsterdam’s port is part of the European Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt Delta cluster – one of the oldest economic trade and investment zones in the world and the largest in Europe.
This article was edited for clarity on 17 May, 2018.