The modern world depends on energy for everyday needs from cooking appliances to heating, lighting and transportation.
Here’s an insight into our power generation lending activities. We provide our views on various ways energy is generated, energy efficiency and on our own power consumption.
Over 80% of energy used today is fossil-fuel based. The best way to reduce society’s use of fossil fuels is to make sure there are enough affordable green alternatives available.
When it comes to financing electricity, most of our financing goes to renewable energy sources, which account for 59% of ING’s power generation loans outstanding at year-end 2022. This includes wind, solar, water and geothermal power.
In March 2022, we announced our intention to increase the yearly amount that we lend to renewables by 50% in 2025 compared to 2021. In other words; we aim to increase lending to renewables by 10% per year, every year until 2025. At the same time we’ll stop providing dedicated finance to new oil and gas fields. This is in line with the International Energy Agency’s roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050: if renewables grow successfully soon enough the demand for oil and gas will reduce and no new oil and gas fields will be required.
Ahead of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, we decided to stop financing new coal-fired power plants (excluding a standing commitment to the project Cirebon II in Indonesia). We have since declined multiple coal-related projects and transactions.
In December 2017, ING decided to accelerate the reduction of our financing to coal power generation, committing to reduce our exposure to close to zero by 2025. As a result of these policies, lending to individual coal-fired power plants decreased by over 80% to €87 million by year-end 2021.
By the end of 2025, we will no longer finance clients in the utilities sector that are over 5% reliant on coal. We will, however, continue to finance non-coal energy projects for these clients in support of their energy transition.
ING’s coal policy refers to the thermal coal used in power generation as it can be readily substituted by gas while clients transition to renewables such as wind and solar. However, when smelting steel, a different kind of coal is used to fire up the process: coking coal. The world cannot do without this yet, which is why ING is focusing on thermal coal.
Nuclear energy has a small carbon footprint, but there are negative nuclear waste-related environmental impacts, as well as safety risks with very high impact. In principle, our policy allows us to finance nuclear energy. However, we’ve not yet been directly involved in financing individual nuclear power plants. We apply strict standards for loans to utility companies operating nuclear power plants, capturing the risks related to reactor technology, potential earthquakes and political and economic stability in the country where they’re located.
Geothermal power is renewable energy that is created by the difference in temperature between the earth’s surface and heat reservoirs deep under the ground. This type of energy is generated in Indonesia and Iceland, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands where it’s mainly used to heat buildings and greenhouses. ING finances these types of projects globally.
Sustainable hydrogen plays a significant role in the energy transition, especially for sectors that are more difficult to decarbonise, like transport/logistics and steel. However, even with investment growing, hydrogen still faces challenges. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy remains expensive, while issues remain with regards to storage and transport infrastructure, which is holding back widespread adoption.
We support a number of pilot projects in hydrogen and are closely following technology developments. We will continue to work with our clients on the development and financing of hydrogen.
Using less energy saves costs and decreases CO2, which is better for the environment. We’re committed to helping our clients in all sectors transition their businesses to be more energy efficient. Besides that we can all benefit from conserving energy, it’s an important step in combating climate change.
Our own energy footprint
We want to lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy production. To do so, we monitor and manage our own environmental impact closely. We’ve reduced our overall energy consumption and aim to source 100% renewable electricity for the buildings where we have management control using purchase agreements and renewable energy certificates (RECs). See our operations section for more info.
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Mail to: Sustainability@ing.com