The modern world depends on energy for everyday needs ranging from food production to the transport of goods and people, to heating and lighting. Not wasting it is as important as how it’s generated.
Here’s our view on various ways energy is generated, on energy efficiency and insight into our total power generation portfolio.
ING finances the generation of electricity, with more than 58% of our project financing plus other lending awarded to renewable energy (wind, solar, water and geothermal power) around the whole world in 2016.
In December 2017, ING decided to accelerate the reduction of our financing to coal power generation, reducing our exposure to close to zero by 2025. This further sharpens our coal-financing policy of as part of our efforts to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Back in 2015, we updated our coal policy ahead of the Paris Climate Conference. Then we said that we wouldn’t finance any new coal-fired power plants, excluding standing commitments (one project: Cirebon II in Indonesia). We declined multiple coal-related projects or transactions since then as a result of this policy, and lending to individual coal-fired power plants has decreased by 9% in 2016.
We took the next step in December 2017. Now we will support new clients in the utilities sector only when their reliance on coal is 10% or less and they have a strategy to reduce their coal percentage to close to zero by 2025. This is a sharp reduction from that 2015 coal policy update, when we said we’d no longer finance any new clients whose business is over 50% reliant on operating coal-fired power plants.
By the end of 2025, we’ll no longer finance new and existing 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
Furthermore, we will phase out our lending to individual coal-fired power plants by the end of 2025. Essentially, we are aiming for zero coal by 2025.
ING’s coal policy refers to the thermal coal used in power generation because it can readily be substituted by cleaner alternatives like gas or 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.
|Thermal coal category|
|Lending O/S in EUR million||Dec 2017||Dec 2016||% change|
|Mining (including coal terminals)||316||455||-31%|
|Power generation, coal fired power plants||452||551||-18%|
Nuclear energy has a small carbon footprint, but there are risks attached. What about accidents, and nuclear waste? In principle, our policy allows us to invest in nuclear energy. Yet so far, we haven’t been directly involved in financing any nuclear power stations. We have very strict standards for loan applications in this area, vetting things like relevant technology, region (whether or not it is an earthquake-prone area) and country (political and economic stability).
Geothermal power is the renewable energy that can be created by the difference in temperature between the earth’s surface and heat reservoirs deep under the ground. This is typically done in Indonesia and Iceland, but also closer to home in Belgium and the Netherlands where it’s mainly used to regulate the temperature in buildings and greenhouses. ING finances these types of projects globally.
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 business to be more energy efficient. Besides that we all can benefit from it, it´s an important step in combating climate change.
At ING, we monitor and manage our own environmental impact closely. We invest in making our operations and ways of working more energy efficient, source renewable energy whenever we can and have been offsetting our carbon emissions since 2007.
Our goals for our own direct footprint on the environment is as follows:
- We will reduce our CO₂ emissions by 50% in 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce global residual waste by 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our water footprint by 10% by 2017 and 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).