Environmental concerns are integral to NIB’s daily activities and part of the Bank’s overall management systems. NIB’s environmental analysts and loan officers work in close cooperation to identify and assess eligible projects.

When assessing the environmental impacts of loan projects the analyses focus on:

  • improvements in resource efficiency
  • development of a competitive low carbon economy
  • protection of the environment and its ecosystem services
  • development of clean technology

In 2016, long-term loans for projects with a “good” or “excellent” environmental mandate rating amounted to an all-time high of EUR 1,567 million, or 37% of all agreed loans.

Many of these environmental loans support the transition to a low-carbon economy by financing renewable energy projects, public transportation systems and green buildings. Public transport projects with climate change mitigation effects received a total of EUR 390 million in loans from NIB in 2016.

Loans for biomass-fired power plants and hydropower investments in Sweden, Finland and Norway amounted to EUR 378 million. Loans to green buildings accounted for EUR 229 million.

Examples of NIB’s environmental loans in 2016

NIB agreed a loan to finance the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Värtan, Stockholm. The biofuel-fired CHP plant was inaugurated in May 2016, and is an important step in developing a sustainable energy supply for Stockholm. The plan is for district heating in the city to be entirely produced from renewable or recovered energy by 2030.

In Northern Norway, NIB signed a loan agreement with Helgeland Kraft for financing six hydropower plants with an estimated total generation capacity of 166 GWh annually. This amounts to about 16% of Helgeland Kraft’s total production.

In order to increase the proportion of renewable fuels in its energy production, Helsinki’s energy utility Helen signed a loan with NIB to finance the construction of a new wood pellet district heating plant for peak load production in Salmisaari. The plant will replace an already demolished heavy oil fuel plant.

The new wood pellet plant will have a fuel capacity of 100 MW and an estimated district heat output of 92 MW, or 230–280 GWh annually, enough to heat about 25,000 two-room apartments. The Salmisaari plant will become the largest of its kind in Finland.

Protection of the environment and ecosystems

Wastewater treatment

Wastewater treatment

During 2016, NIB agreed a significant number of wastewater treatment projects, eight loans totalling EUR 683 million.

The City of Stockholm decided to double the capacity at the Henriksdal underground wastewater plant to more than 500,000 cubic metres per day and to close its facility at Bromma. This will increase the capacity of Stockholm’s sewer network.

In addition, the production of biogas at Henriksdal will almost double to 35 million normal cubic meters per year. Improving the sewer network will also reduce overflows of untreated wastewater discharged into Lake Mälaren from an estimated 185,000 cubic meters annually to less than 10,000.

In addition, the use of a new membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology at Henriksdal is expected to significantly lower discharges of phosphorous and nitrogen into the Baltic Sea. The MBR will also prepare for the installation of pharmaceutical cleaning equipment.

The MBR technology will result in 40% lower discharges of phosphorus and 33% lower discharges of nitrogen into the Baltic Sea. It will also remove all micro plastics from the wastewater.

In Luleå, North Sweden, three projects were agreed upon; a second bio-waste digester and a bio-fuel upgrade, a sewage pipeline and the expansion of a drinking-water plant. The second project concerns the construction of another digester at the Uddebo wastewater treatment plant and bio-fuel production.

The bio-fuel upgrade installed at Uddebo is unique in Sweden as it uses a new membrane filtering technique with lower fugitive emissions of methane. The bio-fuel is used to fuel the municipality’s vehicles, and surplus gas is used for heating the wastewater treatment plant.

In the City of Oslo, a loan from NIB will support investments in increasing the capacity of the Bekkelaget wastewater treatment plant to handle sewage and wastewater from a population equivalent to 490,000 people. This is up from the current capacity of 270,000.

The production of biogas from wastewater sludge will double. The gas will be used for heating the plant and as fuel for buses. The remaining residue will be used as fertiliser on agricultural land.