Dutch pension fund asset manager APG has said it is now ready to invest in offshore wind farms after overcoming initial reservations about the risks involved.
After considering new data – in part provided by energy companies – the €396bn investor was able to make a risk assessment that met its investment criteria.
In addition, last year’s Energy Agreement assured APG that the government’s subsidy rules for investments in offshore windpower would remain in place, according to spokesman Harmen Geers.
As part of the accord – brokered by the Social and Economic Council (SER) – the Dutch government has committed itself to subsidising 3,450 megawatts of offshore windpower for the 2015-19 period.
APG’s announcement that it was ready to invest in local windfarm Borssele I coincided with the presentation of a petition urging the asset manager to divest its stakes in coal, shale gas and tar sands within two years.
The petition was signed by 10,000 participants of the €344bn civil service scheme ABP, APG’s largest client, and was presented to José Meijer, ABP’s vice-chair, by the ABP fossil-free organisation.
Currently, ABP has a €30bn stake in energy and energy infrastructure, and €1bn invested in sustainable energy, including onshore windfarms.
Geers said ABP wanted to double its share in renewable energy to €2bn.
“However, finding the right investments is not easy, as the investment must be at least €100m, and our investment criteria prevent us from owning more than 50% of any project,” he said.
He that investments must also match APG’s risk/return criteria.
That said, APG’s participation in the planned windfarm Borssele I would in part be subject to the outcome of a survey into the expected interaction with a Belgian windfarm nearby, Geers said.
According to the spokesman, the project is expected to be tendered at the end of this year, and APG intends to join one of the subscribing consortia.
Geers added that APG also supported a sustainable climate policy, but one enacted through gradual changes.
“Divesting all our stakes in coal within two years, for example, is too sudden,” he said.
“And what is more, as an investor, we wouldn’t be able to engage with those companies about their policies any longer.”