To give a concrete example of how public-private cooperation in enabling sustainable energy investments is beginning to manifest, a project supported by the European Commission’s JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) initiative had 70% of its total costs funded by a non-recourse project finance loan from ING.
The project, Nature’s Heat, is a direct use geothermal heat project comprising a 2.5km deep geothermal doublet (production well & injection well) and a heat processing and distribution network, expected to deliver 16 MWth heat to be used by its owners, a consortium of glasshouse horticulture businesses near The Hague in the Netherlands.
The growers expect to save 25% or more on heat costs compared with the current alternative supply from gas-fired boilers. Nature’s Heat will avoid the use of some 22 million m3 natural gas per year for at least 30 years, with a corresponding annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40,000 tonnes CO2 and 7,200 tonnes NOx. In addition the resulting competitive advantage and business resilience for the horticulture businesses will support job security and maintain social cohesion in the local community.
Alongside the equity investment from its owners and the project finance loan from ING, Nature’s Heat benefits from a subordinated loan from Energy Fund Den Haag (ED). ED is funded 40% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the remaining 60% comes from the Government of the Netherlands, the Province of South Holland and the Municipality of The Hague. The Nature’s Heat project financing is a fine example of public-private cooperation at all levels.