By using our website you agree that we can place cookies on your device. More information including how to disable cookies is available in our Cookie Statement

Renewable energy – Header image (photo)

Renewable energy

Impact measures

Triodos Bank finances enterprises that augment the use of renewable resources in particular, and supports projects that reduce the demand for energy and encourage cleaner use of fossil fuels.

By the end of 2013, Triodos Group and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 376 projects across Europe (2012: 346), contributing to a generating capacity of 2,280 MW of energy (2012: 2,038 MW), or enough energy to meet the electricity needs of the equivalent of 1,480,000 European households during the year (2012: 1,300,000).

So for each Triodos Bank customer, we financed the electricity needs of 2.8 homes.

Renewable energy – Impact measures (graphic)

Methodology

The calculation of CO2 emission reduction, is produced using conversion rates (kWh gram CO2) from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, based on the 2007 (International Panel for Climate Change) IPCC Assessment report. The conversion rates indicate the grams of CO2 avoided in the mix of all power plants in a country where we are active per kWh green energy produced in 2006 (the most recent date available to us). 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.

We make a calculation based on the average energy use per kWh per household to extrapolate to the figure opposite. We recognise that other methodologies are available in some countries like the UK (such as the Renewables UK).

The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are made on the basis of the average deposit per customer across its five branches. This is then matched with the same proportion of Triodos Bank’s total impact in a given sector. There were a total of 517,000 customers at the end of 2013.

Our vision and activities

Renewable energy lending

Percentage of our loans to the renewable energy sector

Renewable energy – 33.0% of our loans to the renewable energy sector (pie chart)

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

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 over 20 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

Udny Community Turbine – Community renewables in Scotland
 

Renewable energy – Case study Udny Community Turbine (photo)

Empowered communities

“The wind turbine is going to transform Fetterangus. We have been looking for a regular, sustainable income that will help us fund projects in our village and the turbine is the perfect solution.”

Colin Wood, Fetterangus Community Turbine

Communities across Scotland have been among the first in the UK to reap the benefits of the abundant resources nature provides to them. They’ve pioneered community renewable energy projects, collectively developed and owned by local people. Generating green energy and a long-term source of income for their community, renewables projects represent a way to contribute to our energy security and ensure the sustainable future of neighbourhoods, putting power and profits back in the hands of the people.

An abundance of wind, combined with a strong community ownership movement made the Scottish highlands and islands a natural incubator for community renewables. Some of the first projects, such as the hydro-electric schemes at Assynt and Knoydart, have been running for the best part of 15 years now, and the communities of the islands of Eigg, Gigha and Westray have all taken pioneering steps in their own way. Ten years ago Gigha found a new home for three turbines from Cumbria after they were replaced with newer models, Eigg switched to 100% renewable power in February 2008 after decades of reliance on diesel generators, and the following year Westray was the first community to develop its own large-scale turbine from scratch. The most recent community turbine to be developed, on the Isle of Barra, was commissioned in February 2014.

Reaping the rewards

Udny Community Turbine in Aberdeenshire demonstrates the potential impact of community renewables. From buying an iPad for a playgroup and floodlights for a tennis club to helping respond to medical emergencies, the income generated from the community wind turbine already benefits hundreds of local residents.

The turbine, which is financed by Triodos Bank, was the first wholly community-owned and operated wind turbine of its kind on the Scottish mainland. Commissioned in 2011, Udny Community Turbine generated more than £120,000 in income in its first year. Over the project’s 20 year life span up to £5m in profit is expected to be generated – equivalent to £2,000 for every resident of the Udny Green and Pitmedden villages.

During its first year the trust was able to fund a wide range of organisations benefitting the local community. £40,000 was distributed to local causes with a further £80,000 kept in a reserve fund. Among other projects, they’ve financed the leasing of a vehicle for the Pitmedden First Responders, part of a rural service where volunteers attend incidents ahead of the ambulance service, is also being paid for.

Secrets of success

One of the barriers to more communities realising their renewable ambitions is the huge amount of time and effort needed to get a project off the ground. Successful projects tend to have a committed core team of individuals with the time to put into the project. Often they’re retired with experience of relevant skills in areas such as management and civil engineering. Unlike professional renewable energy developers, communities haven’t normally been through the process before and each step is a steep learning curve. But community renewables organisations and committed lenders like Triodos can help support them on the journey.

With support from Triodos Bank, Fetterangus in Aberdeenshire developed its community wind turbine last year. Project leader Colin Wood, says “Out of all the banks, Triodos Bank was the most sympathetic to the project, understanding our aims, and supporting us throughout. It has been a long journey, involving dozens of local people and lots of hurdles but it has definitely been worth it.”

Environment

Read more from this chapter