Co-operative Bank triples renewable energy lending

The Co-operative Bank has announced a significant increase in the number of new renewable energy projects it has funded, which in turn has led a tripling in lending to the sector.

The Bank says it lent £232m to 17 completed projects in the first half of 2012 and is on track to lend a similar amount by the end of the year. In the same period in 2011 the Bank lent £79m to completed projects.

Lending to the renewables industry is a key part of the The Co-operative Group’s Ethical Plan and in 2007 it pledged to lend £1bn to renewable energy initiatives.

James Sutcliffe, renewable energy manager at The Co-operative Bank, said: “Undoubtedly, demand for renewable projects – especially wind energy schemes – is at an all time high.

“We have seen the UK public begin to embrace renewable energy as a viable alternative to traditional energy sources and nowadays it is not only companies who are investing in renewable energy projects.”

Recent projects funded by the bank include an £8m loan to the residents in the Western Isles of Scotland to develop a 7MW, three wind turbine project on the island of South Uist.

James added: “The Co-operative Bank continues to fund a large number of community renewable energy schemes, where profits are invested back into the communities that own them, in some cases with projected incomes of millions of pounds over 20 years. At a time when many communities are fighting for survival from the wider economic challenges, small to medium renewable energy schemes provide them an opportunity for communities to become sustainable, creating local jobs and diversifying local economies.”