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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 promote energy efficiency.

By the end of 2014, Triodos Group and its climate and energy investment funds were financing 379 projects across Europe (2013: 376), contributing to a generating capacity of 2,100 MW of energy (2013: 2,300 MW), or enough energy to meet the electricity needs of the equivalent of 1 million European households during the year (2013: 1.3 million).

So for each Triodos Bank customer, we financed the electricity needs of 1.9 homes.

Renewable energy – Impact measures (graphic)

Our vision and activities

Renewable energy lending

Percentage of our loans to the renewable energy sector

Renewable energy – 28% 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 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

Essel-Clean Solu – Hydro power in Nepal

Renewable energy – Case study Essel-Clean Solu – Hydro power in Nepal (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

42% of the Nepali population live without access to energy, and yet the country has huge hydropower potential because of the nation’s many rivers and the steep gradient of the country's topography. Together they provide ideal conditions for hydroelectric projects.

Estimates are that Nepal has approximately 40,000 megawatts (MW) of economically feasible hydropower potential. However, at the moment no more than approximately 600 MW of hydropower has been developed. In general, energy is scarce in Nepal. Power outages of up to 18 hours a day are no exception during the dry season. These blackouts seriously affect the country’s economic development, as they prevent entrepreneurs from producing enough goods or have even forced them to close their businesses. The Essel-Clean Solu project adds additional capacity of more than 10% to the energy market, which it is hoped will reduce the average blackout time and benefit the country’s economic development.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The Essel-Clean Solu project is run-of-the-river hydropower project, which is being developed in the eastern part of Nepal, south of Mount Everest. The project has an installed capacity of 82 MW and expected annual energy production of almost 450 GWh. This is comparable to the reduction of 352 tonnes of CO2.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on the business?

Triodos Bank has a longstanding relationship with Clean Energy Development Bank, one of the project’s initiators and a Global Alliance for Banking on Values member. Essel-Clean Solu has been financed partially by a loan from Triodos Green Fund. Another trusted partner - the Dutch development bank FMO – was also involved in financing the project. Triodos Bank has been active in Nepal for several years through its Emerging Markets activities and has contributed its expertise in the Energy and Climate sector and long-standing commitment to the project.

What impact has your business had on the sector it works in?

As the first domestically and internationally financed hydroproject in the country, Essel-Clean Solu is paving the way for others to follow. The project is first of its kind and a cornerstone of the development of the energy sector in Nepal. For the first time, international lenders have joined together with Nepalese Banks. Without international investors, Essel-Clean Solu would not have seen the light of day because Nepal doesn’t have sufficient long-term funds required for projects of this size. It was crucial to gain the trust of international lenders to deliver a successful project. With the majority of the project being financed with Nepalese equity, the production of energy for domestic consumption and the involvement of a large team of foreign investors, the Essel-Clean Solu project marks a historic development in the Nepalese energy sector.

What impact has the business had on the community?

Essel-Clean Solu contributes significantly to energy poverty alleviation in the country. By providing access to energy to around three million people, Essel-Clean Solu will have a crucial long term development impact, improving quality of life for a large proportion of the population.

In addition, the project is forecast to create over 1000 jobs during its construction and operations and will contribute to the overall development of the project area. On a local scale no single household needs to relocate as a result of this work. Nationally, by adding 10% to the country’s energy capacity the project will provide significant stability in energy supply, contributing to its economic development.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

Triodos Bank shares the view that for a transition from a carbon-based economy to a sustainable one, it's essential to reduce energy demand, to use energy as efficiently as possible, and to invest massively in renewable energy systems, while switching to low carbon fuels.

Triodos Bank also understood the need for international investors in a project designed to extend access to power to excluded communities.


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 calculate the impact measure used. 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 530,000 customers at the end of 2014. Approximately 10% of this figure relates to energy generated from Triodos Investment Management renewable energy investments.

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Our impact on film

View how a Scottish island community is using wind power to secure its long-term future