Banking co-operative Rabobank switches to 100% green power

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Dutch banking co-operative Rabobank is to switch to electricity generated exclusively from Dutch wind farms from 2005. The power will be bought from Limburg utility Nutsbedrijven Maastricht. It owns no wind turbines, so will buy most of the required wind power from WindUnie, a co-operative of independent wind turbine owners who operate wind farms throughout the Netherlands. Rabobank has financed 70% of the turbines operated by WindUnie. Until now, the Rabobank Group has bought 25% of its power from renewables, most of which is imported and is generated from biomass and hydro installations. "We are now switching to 100% power from Dutch wind turbines. In this way we want to make a contribution to renewable energy development in the Netherlands," says Rabobank energy manager Peter Oei. The 1300 Rabobank Group offices -- which include Robeco, Lage Landen, FGH Bank and Interpolis -- use around 180 million kWh per year, about the same as 50,000 Dutch households. The three year contract is valued at about EUR 9 million, which is comparable to the price of a contract for non-renewables power, according to Oei. WindUnie was set up in 2001 with the objective of selling green power produced by independently owned turbines directly to the public rather than via power companies. Using the guarantee of origin certification systems it offers its customers the opportunity to buy (virtual) green power from individually identified turbines.

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