Triodos Bank, a leading European sustainable bank that completed the highest number of deals over 2015, stands at the top of Clean Energy Pipeline’s ‘Renewables Infrastructure Investment in Europe 2016’ report.
With 57 clean energy loans, the Dutch bank with branches in the UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany finished ahead of Banco Santander in second, and Natixis in third.
Total lending has reached $323 million across Europe, positioning Triodos Bank as the leading lender for small to medium sized renewable energy projects seeking financing greater than £2million.
Philip Bazin, Environment Team Leader at Triodos Bank UK said: “The Clean Energy Pipeline investment report reflects a significant year for Triodos Bank where we have expanded our breadth of the clean energy market, and we are looking to grow our portfolio of lending to medium sized organisations seeking finance and have expanded our team to meet the demands of a growing sector.”
Highlights for the expanding UK team included funding its largest ground mounted solar project to date for Danish investor Nordic Solar and financing its first ground source heat pump installations.
Triodos Bank UK also arranged lending facilities totalling more than £19 million to community renewable projects. This takes the bank’s lending commitments to the community renewables sector to 11 different projects, making it one of its largest lending areas in the UK in the past three years.
Philip added: “2016 was a fantastic year for community renewable lending. As the sector, funding and regulation has changed in the past year – we have adapted our service model to be more innovative in meeting the unique needs of our clients.”
Among these lending projects was the debt financing of the 4.2MWp community solar farm at Braydon Manor near Swindon. The project launched by Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy, and initially developed by Public Power Solutions with the help of Mongoose Energy was the UK’s first split community-commercial solar farm.
Philip comments: “We funded this pioneering and award winning project where we financed a community interest company as well as a shared grid connection. We have been able to demonstrate our commitment to thinking through problems with our customers in ways which other funders are probably not prepared to do.”
It has been a growing partnership with community energy leader Mongoose Energy, and Triodos Bank has provided financing of seven different projects.
“Mongoose is a perfect partner for Triodos as they combine professionalism and expertise with a real passion for the social and ethical goals that drive Triodos’ business” Philip concluded.
Among the year’s highlight’s, Triodos Bank has successfully leant to a number of high-impact community projects including projects for Bristol Energy Cooperative, Galson Trust, Berwickshire Community Renewables LLP and with the help of Triodos Corporate Finance raised £2.75m of equity for Chelwood Energy Limited in Somerset.
Triodos Bank entered the renewables market in the mid-1980’s with a focus on wind energy and has since broadened its focus across the wider renewable and environmental sectors.
As their sector experience and commitment has expand, the bank has invested in growing the UK renewables sector team to meet the growing demand.
New to the team is Stirling Habbitts, who will lead the team’s project finance activity in the London market. Stirling is based out of Triodos Bank’s London office, located on 5 Old Bailey, EC4M 7BA, and joins the bank from Unicredit, where he specialised in Infrastructure and Power Project Finance. Stirling began working at Triodos Bank in August 2016.
Also joining the team is Chris Cullen as Assistant Relationship Manager, supporting the wider Environment Team. Chris joins the team from Eunomia Research Consulting.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!