Tell us how you came to be working for Triodos Bank

Stirling Habbitts

I started my career working for KPMG in Australia, moving across to Amsterdam with the company in the early 2000s. It was while I was living in the Netherlands that I first learned about Triodos Bank – I was impressed with its unique purpose and how different it was from other banks.

A few years later – when I was working in banking in London – I discovered that Triodos had a UK branch and decided to pursue an opportunity here. I have always had a sustainability focus to my work – spending a substantial part of my career in renewables and maintaining an interest in climate change since university.

In 2016, I joined the bank’s London office, which is based in the heart of the City.

What does a typical day in your role entail?

My role is very dynamic, meaning that no two days are ever the same.

A substantial amount of my time is spent working with existing clients, either on new projects or existing agreements – making sure that everything progresses smoothly. I also look at proposals from new clients – a key part of which is making sure they align with the bank’s mission.

I am out and about at events in London a couple of times a week, meeting with law firms or financiers in the City. I get to work with a wide variety of stakeholders as we negotiate loan agreements with solicitors and discuss specific project elements with technical advisers. 

As a team, we attend some of the largest conferences and events for the renewable energy sector, for example All Energy in Glasgow, where I recently spoke on a panel about charging infrastructure for urban mobility. Events are a great opportunity to meet current and prospective customers and spread the word about the bank.

Tell us about some of the projects that you’ve been working with recently

Until recently, Triodos has focused on funding traditional renewables, such as solar, wind and hydro. We’re still working with these sectors and are passionate about supporting them, however we’re also exploring some of the exciting new projects that are emerging from the energy market – geothermal, smart metering, building energy efficiency, electric vehicles and charging infrastructures, and battery storage.  

We’re currently working on a proposal related to electric vehicle charging points, with a plan for a nationwide roll out of publicly accessible charge ports. That’s all that I can share at the moment!

We also frequently work with other organisations to support larger funds. The UK Government’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) is a £400m investment fund focusing on electric vehicles, for which Triodos Bank supported Zouk Capital’s successful bid. Similarly, Triodos is one of five banks supporting the Mayor of London's Energy Efficiency Fund (MEEF), which will help hospitals, small businesses and universities save cash and cut carbon emissions. It will be exciting to see the projects that these funds enable.

What are the best things about working for Triodos Bank?

Everything that we finance and do at Triodos improves the world, and that’s a great feeling. With every loan we make, it feels like we’re taking a step in the right direction. The energy and the passion of the people that work here really reflects this.

What are the most exciting developments in the areas that you’re working in?

There’s so much going on within the energy transition, as we look to move away from fossil fuels in the energy and transport sectors and achieve to net zero carbon emissions.

For example, there’s lots of progress in the field of electromobility, with smaller cars, electric bike sharing and electric buses looking to transform how we move around.

One specific development within the electric vehicle field that I’m interested in is the vehicle-to-grid technology. I expect more and more projects will be coming through focusing on how vehicles can sell electricity back to the grid during surge times, as well as charge from it.

Five thought-provoking points from All Energy 2019

Stirling and the team attending the UK’s biggest renewable energy conference in May

  1. Collaboration is key to supporting renewables in a subsidy-free future
    • Developers are very keen to make subsidy-free renewables work in the UK, but the industry is struggling with uncertainty around electricity price. It was heartening, however, to hear the breadth of innovation and problem solving going on around the investment world. With collaboration across the industry, we hope we can build on our collective knowledge to crack the subsidy-free finance puzzle. 
  2. 20-year cycles are unhelpful
    • A gem from Matthew Clayton of Thrive Renewables: we need to stop thinking in 20-year cycles of planning and finance if we are going to allow renewables to thrive in a subsidy-free world.
  3. We’d like the RHI to stick around a little longer
    • Decarbonisation of heat is an area of growing interest, with many developers now looking to get into the last bit of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidy scheme. This might be too little too late in terms of making significant strides in decarbonising heat, but we hope that the government will extend the RHI deadline or put in place a different subsidy scheme to replace it.
  4. We need investment in energy efficiency
    • Improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s building stock needs to see investment at all levels, from central government to local government, from large businesses to private homes.
  5. You don’t need to plug in to charge
    • Daniel Dӧrflinger of IPT Technology GmbH described how inductive charging means that EV batteries can be topped up without the need for users to ‘plug in’. This kind of automation means, for example, that shared ownership EVs would always be charged when people looked to collect them – or that buses could be charged simply by driving into a certain parking space.

Find out more

Visit our 'Sectors we finance' page to find out more about how Triodos Bank supports projects and organisations that have a positive impact on society, culture and the environment.