Impact in Energy and Climate

The issue

Before the advent of the Industrial Revolution, in the middle of the 18th century, the global average temperature was around 13.7°C. It now stands at nearly 14.5°C.

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1, this increase is most likely the result of burning fossil fuels since the industrial revolution; activity that has created greenhouse gas emissions and higher levels of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. A consensus is emerging that the global temperature increase should be limited to 2°C, because exceeding it risks severe and lasting problems, such as ‘runaway’ climate change.

In addition major fossil energy resources, which provide most of the energy we use today, are concentrated in a limited number of countries. As fossil energy becomes scarcer, and nations secure their future energy demands, access to energy creates substantial economic and political tensions.

These problems of climate change and energy security are converging. Current patterns of energy production and consumption are unsustainable and have an increasingly negative impact on people and planet. But solutions are possible. Changing to an economy that uses far less carbon could happen within a few decades. The money and the technology required are available to make this profound change. But to do it will require a massive transformation from the way energy is used today.

1 IPCC has been criticized on their processes for developing its reports. Mistakes were found but did not fundamentally affect the accuracy of the overall conclusions.

Triodos Bank’s vision

In an era of economic recovery climate change and the energy crisis must remain a key part of the public debate. Fighting climate change, energy security, and access to energy in the developing world, will remain – next to the global food and water crises – key challenges for the next decades.

Given existing and emerging technologies, and the availability of capital despite the financial downturn, transitioning towards a low carbon economy is possible. But it requires a concerted effort from many organisations, businesses, producers and consumers. The financial sector is one and should play a central role. Investment decisions must not be guided anymore by short-term financial interests. Instead, they should combine long-term financial, environmental and social considerations. And they should be rooted in an authentic vision which is aligned with, but not dependent on, government policies.

The transition to a low carbon economic future requires an investment strategy based on three major drivers, the Trias Energetica:


Reduced demand for, and the more efficient use of, energy – preventing waste, increasing the efficiency of equipment and changing human behaviour are the cheapest and most effective ways to deliver it.

Massive installation of renewable energy systems

The augmented use of renewable energy sources is crucial. From solar and hydro to wind and tidal, renewable energy can be developed as large central power plants or small decentralized systems for villages or individual households. Solar energy has, in our view, the largest potential of all renewable energy sources. It is available everywhere on earth.

Switch to low carbon fuels

The use of remaining fossil fuels, which dominate current energy production, can be reduced by a switch to more ‘cleanly’ fuels like natural gas and using waste heat (Combined Heat and Power, abbreviation: CHP).

So what does Triodos Bank do about it?

Triodos Bank is a sustainable banking expert, with a long track record financing projects that actively benefit the environment. It has a wide portfolio of clean energy finance, in the form of loans, investments and project finance. As the market for clean energy matures, Triodos Bank aims to find new areas where leadership is required and participate in more maturing sectors and geographical areas.

More specifically, Triodos Bank lends to and invests in renewable energy generation and energy saving. It does so on a local scale where possible, and on a large scale where projects are ‘in balance’ (energy subsidiary). It chooses not to lend or invest in oil and coal because of its negative impact on human health and the environment. Nor will it finance nuclear power projects given proliferation, safety and environmental concerns.

By the end of 2011, Triodos Group and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 361 projects across Europe (306 in 2010), with a generating capacity of 2,134 MW of energy (1,624 MW in 2010), or enough energy to meet the electricity needs of the equivalent of 1,500,000 European households during the year.


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Amounts in thousands of EUR



Triodos Renewables Europe Fund

Triodos Renewables PLC

Ampere Equity







Number of projects






Total amount
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Amounts in thousands of EUR



Triodos Renewables Europe Fund

Triodos Renewables PLC

Ampere Equity







Number of projects






Total amount
(at historical cost or nominal)












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