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Renewable energy – Header image (photo)

Renewable energy

Impact measures

Triodos Bank and its investment funds, offered via Triodos Investment Management, finances enterprises that augment the use of renewable resources in particular and supports projects that reduce the demand for energy and promote energy efficiency.

By the end of 2015, Triodos Bank and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 358 projects across Europe (2014: 362 - restated figure), contributing to a generating capacity of 2,100 MW of energy (2014: 2,100 MW). During the year these projects contributed to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 reduction while generating green energy equivalent to the electricity needs of 1 million European households (2014: 0.9 million - restated figure).

So for each Triodos Bank customer, we financed the electricity needs of 1.7 homes.

Renewable energy – Impact measures (graphic)

Our vision and activities

Renewable energy lending

Percentage of our loans and investments to the renewable energy sector

Renewable energy – 25% of our loans to the renewable energy sector (pie chart)

Loans and investments by subsector

Renewable energy – Lending by subsector (pie chart)
% derived from data at the time of publication

Our vision on renewable energy

Triodos Bank considers energy to be a basic human need and therefore something that we need to ensure is being generated and used on a sustainable basis for future generations.

Why how we generate our energy matters

The increasing global demand for energy, concerns over energy security and the potential impact of global climate change have become ever-more urgent issues.

We see the potential for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures to create a more resilient, decentralised and sustainable energy system that’s equipped to deal with these challenges in the future.

European governments are supporting moves in this direction under the EU’s “20-20-20” framework calling for 20% of energy to come from renewable sources, 20% more energy efficiency and 20% less greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Worldwide agreement, was reached in 2015 requiring developed and developing countries alike to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, of 2C, with an aspiration of 1.5C.

Triodos Bank plays an important role in this effort to increase the impact of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, within this wider context.

Our priorities

By focusing our attention on the deployment of mature technologies such as wind energy and solar power, we are able to make a meaningful contribution to the necessary transition to our energy system.

Having financed renewable energy projects for 25 years, we have built up a wealth of experience and expertise that is valued by the renewable energy developers and operators who we work with.

We are also extending our impact by working with more diverse ownership structures such as community renewable energy schemes and financing energy efficiency infrastructure within the built environment.

Our activities

All of the energy projects that we finance contribute to our vision of a sustainable energy system.

Whether through the installation of new renewable energy generation capacity (from wind, solar or hydro energy) or energy savings and efficiency measures, all of our projects make a meaningful contribution to a more resilient, sustainable and cleaner energy system.

Case study

Fortech – Wase Wind
 

Renewable energy – Case study (photo)

Chris Derde, Manager at Fortech

Which challenge formed the inspiration for your project?

At the end of the last century, the renewable energy wind sector emerged in Denmark and Germany. Technological developments made wind energy an attractive option for electricity generation.

In our own region, the river Waas area in Belgium, we wanted to start harvesting wind power. We started the Wase Wind cooperative with four childhood friends by arranging finance for the wind turbines, both from ourselves and by involving as many people as possible. This also means that we are responsible for their investment.

We make sure that our business is financially healthy, but we do not need to make an excessive profit. Managing the invested money properly and continuing to pioneer are our main tasks – to producing 100% renewable energy – is our goal.

What was the innovation with which this problem was approached?

In 2000, we wanted to start up a renewable energy company with a small group of people. For years, the energy industry had been dominated by mergers and acquisitions and was in the hands of large companies. Both our company form and the technology were new. Our company structure separates ‘Fortech’ from ‘Wase Wind’, which enables us to limit the risks for the co-operators and allows us to supply profitable wind power.

We also chose the most efficient wind turbines. At their commissioning they were the largest and most powerful in the Benelux, driven by cutting-edge technology.

Since we began Wase Wind, it has become a cooperative of 2,000 people who, together, invest in wind power in their own region. The wind power is consumed by these cooperators, both in homes and in local businesses as well as in community buildings, such as sports centres and town halls.

Each customer co-invests and the profit is then also shared between them. Wind energy does sometimes meet with opposition because people have concerns about the visibility, about the shadows from the turbines or the noise they generate. But our neighbours have been our biggest fans, because we maintain close contact with them and address any inconvenience. For example, we throw parties to which everyone is invited and we host 750 students from schools in the region every year.

What effect did Triodos Bank have on the company?

When we obtained the necessary permits in 2004 for our first wind project and started its implementation, the traditional large banks stayed away from financing our project. They had no knowledge of the emerging wind sector. Triodos Bank did however and financed our project with proper conditions.

Triodos Bank also contributed knowledge about aspects including guarantees from the manufacturers that later turned out to be badly needed. Triodos Bank was therefore crucial to the start up of our projects and has remained our partner for the subsequent ones, even when other banks started queueing up to finance later projects.

What effect has the company had on the sector in which it operates?

As pioneers in the Belgian wind sector, we have played a leading role in the Flemish sustainable energy sector organisation ODE (Organisatie Duurzame Energie) and from there started up the Flemish Wind Energy Association.

We soon included all the wind companies operating in Flanders and set up cooperative initiatives with colleagues in Wallonia. VWEA has become the ’voice’ of the wind sector as a result of high-quality consultation in study groups, and is now recognised as such by the government. Thanks to patient and considered consultation within the sector and with the government, wind energy regulations could be refined incrementally, so that the necessary guarantees are provided for both the energy companies and the people they serve.

What effect has the company had on the community?

Three wind turbines alongside a major motorway in Kruibeke, Belgium, have been producing electricity from wind energy since 2005. This production corresponds to half of the household consumption of the 15,000 residents of greater Kruibeke.

The company also constructed the 'Braemland II' wind project on the opposite side of the E17 motorway in Melsele. This has produced green electricity for 2,300 families since 2009. The electricity is offered by the cvba (cooperative) Wase Wind to families and agricultural and other companies in the river Waas area.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank shares a clear long-term vision on sustainable energy with Wase Wind. In addition to building more capacity from sustainable energy sources, it is important to invest in a more resilient, socially embedded and balanced energy system. New technologies, such as the connecting of the various local players, contribute to the creation of short, efficient and decentralized chains.

The effect is increased further by local embedding in the towns, companies and communities that make use of the energy that’s generated. Sustainable models like Wase Wind’s become about more than the environment alone and also focus on wider social benefits.

Methodology

The calculation of CO2 emission reduction is produced using conversion rates (kWh gram CO2) from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, based on the (International Panel for Climate Change) IPCC Assessment report, last updated in May 2015. Per kWh green energy produced the conversion rates indicate the grams of CO2 avoided in the mix of all power plants in a country where we are active. This mix also contains installed renewable energy capacity which is not what another green kWh would wish to save. So in reality the CO2 reduction is slightly higher. The conversion rates for The Netherlands are based on the joint method of the Central Bureau of Statistics NL (CBS), Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), ECN and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment, updated in 2013, and excluding renewable energy in the mix.

To calculate the average energy use in kWh per household and per country where we are active, we used the energy efficiency indicators published by the World Energy Council (WEC), updated December 2015.

We include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project. If it is not possible to record 100% of the data required, we use estimates based on wind and solar indexes if applicable.

The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are based on a total of 607,000 customers at the end of 2015.