From planning to actions:a concrete approach for building renovation in the Netherlands

Many actions have been planned by Dutch local governments for climate mitigation and adaptation, however implementation often lack behind. 
Local authorities in the Netherlands are aware of the need to boost energy efficiency renovation projects in order to face the current climate and energy challenges. Almost all cities in the Netherlands have developed detailed plans and city strategies including both mitigation and adaptation actions. Sectorial plans are often combined and comprehensive city plans for the whole urban system are in place. However, when it comes to implementation only few cases are successful, and many actions are still lacking adequate implementation plans.

On 27 November 2017, ,key actors from local authorities and financial institutions in the Netherlands gathered in Rotterdam to brainstorm  to analyse both the barriers and the opportunities to mobilise investments for energy efficiency projects.  

Main barriers identified were:
1) Know-how, capacity and knowledge at the municipal level 2) Admin, bureaucracy is a problem (for example the creation of a new action plan) -3) Speed, how quick can you get all the stakeholders around the table -4) Scale, how big do the projects have to be to be able to get financial support (e.g. via EIB instruments).

As possible solutions, it was mentioned that  financial schemes and instruments need to be more flexible and designed in a more flexible way to make sure civil servants understand them.  In order to increase the rate of energy efficiency investments more communication about inspiring examples is needed, especially about those examples where programme financing was applied vs project financing, and where up-scaling of existing structures is being experimented. Special funding for programmes and not only for projects in cities and regions should be developed; In silos approaches at municipal level should be overcame and the communication among the actors both internally as well as externally should be increased; The municipalities should have reliable policies that are carried out by the citizens in order to go beyond the political mandate that provides a better position towards the investors.  In order to address the issue of project size: the rate of cities participation to EU projects and funding schemes should increase: Inclusion of other municipalities that are not pioneers in EU programmes and funding should be promoted; Risk management of loans and technical solutions should be improved; Pension funds should be better included in the financing landscape for local climate and energy plans, although only bigger projects are usually financed by them.