Renewable energy

The energy sector is one of NEFCO’s priority areas. NEFCO supports investments in renewable energy in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and thereby mitigate climate change. In 2014, NEFCO’s climate investments reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 5.2 million tonnes.

NEFCO’s loan portfolio for renewable energy projects comprises investments in wind farms, small-scale hydro power, extraction of methane at waste disposal sites, thermal energy, wood-based bioenergy, solar panels and catchers as well as usage of agricultural residues for the production of biofuels. In most of these projects, NEFCO’s clients have managed to combine energy-efficiency measures with investments in renewable energy. NEFCO has also financed feasibility studies and reports assessing possibilities to turn waste into energy or make use of logging residues for bioenergy.

The Nordic countries are fore-runners in the production of renewable energy. By joining forces with NEFCO and the Nordic cleantech industry, your company can make a difference in greening the energy industry.

From wind energy to biogas

Serpentine roads, breathtaking views and Mother Earth’s most beautiful features greet us on the way from the airport to Kvalheim in South-western Norway. We accompany a group of investors, journalists, energy experts and municipal decision makers on the way to witness the inauguration of the Mehuken wind farm.

Rain pours down as the wind turbine blades start revolving and one speech after another is delivered in the biting wind. For a short while, we are at the mercy of the elements but soon find ourselves in Kvalheim’s warm and cosy club house being served sour cream porridge, cured meat, juice and coffee.

The new wind farm in Kvalheim boasts eight 2.3 MW units fitted with Enercon E70 turbines. Five Vestas windmills, each with an output of 859 kW, had been erected on the site earlier. The wind farm is located in the outermost archipelago of the Vågsøy municipality where excellent wind conditions ensure that the revolving rotors provide 3,000 households with electricity. Not bad for a locality with 5,996 inhabitants. One of the chief investors in the wind farm is the utility company Vardar.

“Our investment in the Mehuken wind farm here in Kvalheim is a natural extension to our operations. After all, we invest in renewable energy in accordance with the policy outlined by our shareholders, and this wind farm is a natural addition to our project portfolio,” says CEO Johannes Rauboti of Vardar.

Other investors include Kvalheim Kraft, Østfold Energi and Dong Energy of Denmark. Vardar is a utility company owned by the municipalities in the county of Buskerud. Originally called Buskeruds fylkeskraft, the company was renamed Vardar in 2002.

“In 2005, we made a decision to invest in wind power in the Baltics. Through our contacts in Pärnu – which is incidentally Buskerud’s twin town in Estonia – we got in touch with the key personnel at Eesti Energia, a company that was keen to invest in wind farms in Estonia," explains Rauboti.

Vardar seized the opportunity by setting up a subsidiary by the name of Vardar Eurus. NEFCO currently holds a ten percent interest in the company that owns wind farms in Estonia and Lithuania. Rauboti confirms that the investments in the Baltics represent an increasing chunk of Vardar’s balance sheet.

Vardar Eurus is a shareholder in Nelja Energia, an Estonian project management company that has initiated many of the projects financed by Vardar Eurus and other investors. At the time of our visit to Nelja Energia’s head office in Pirita, Tallinn, part of the staff were working on new biogas projects for the municipalities of Oisu and Vinni in Estonia.

"There’s a great deal of unharnessed potential in this sector. By producing biogas from cattle or pig dung close to large agricultural establishments, we can promote the use of local energy sources that are unaffected by world market prices as well as offer additional revenues for farmers," says Chairman of Board Martin Kruus of Nelja Energia.

The project is financed by the newly established Biofond OÜ owned by Vardar Eurus, the Estonian investment company Freenergy and Nelja Energia. NEFCO has bought 30.1 per cent of the shares of Biofond and thereby contributes to the financing of the projects.

“We’ve established that these biogas projects will reduce phosphorus discharges by close to 57 tonnes per year. And as an additional bonus in this connection, we’ll also be able to address methane emissions which will yield an annual decrease of almost 53,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions,” says Karl-Johan Lehtinen, Senior Manager responsible for environmental affairs at NEFCO.