The Anonymous Widower

Stadler Rail to launch IPO

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the International Rail Journal.

I feel that from an engineering point of view the company has a bright future, as they seem to have their fingers in a lot of innovative pies.

But whether that makes the company a good investment, I’ll leave to the experts.

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | | Leave a comment

Insurers Seek Rule Change To Invest In Green Power

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The mouthpiece for the insurance industry has called on the regulator to overhaul rules to make it easier to invest in green energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power.

Green energy projects are bad investments for the first few years, as they just burn money during construction. After that, the wind or solar farm, just produces electricity, which gives an adequate return fpr perhaps around thirty years.

As the rules stand, the returns in the construction phase are a dodgy investment.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, who make the rules, was setup in 2013, with probably a bunch of dinosaurs drawing up the rules, based on the past not the future.

These figures show the total energy generated by wind power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 5.4 GHh
  • 2009 – 6.3 GWh
  • 2010 – 7.9 GWh
  • 2011 – 12.7 GWh
  • 2012 – 20.7 GWh
  • 2013 – 24.5 GWh
  • 2014 – 28.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 40.4 GWh
  • 2016 – 37.4 GWh
  • 2017 – 49.6 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by wind power has doubled.
  2. In 2017, seventeen percent of our electricity was generated by wind.

These figures show the total energy generated by solar power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 0.17 GHh
  • 2009 – 0.20 GWh
  • 2010 – .0.33 GWh
  • 2011 – 2.6 GWh
  • 2012 – 1.3 GWh
  • 2013 – 2.0 GWh
  • 2014 – 4.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 7.6 GWh
  • 2016 – 10.3 GWh
  • 2017 – 11.5 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by solar power has increased fivefold.
  2. In 2017, 3.4 percent of our electricity was generated by the sun.

This paragraph from Wind Power In The UK on Wikipedia, shows the major growth in offshore wind power.

The total offshore wind power capacity installed in the United Kingdom as of February 2019 is 8,183 MW, the largest in the world. The United Kingdom became the world leader of offshore wind power generation in October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. It also has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 175-turbine London Array wind farm, located off the Kent coast.

I don’t think the Prudential Regulation Authority saw that one coming.

Conclusion

The rules should be changed

 

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Top Wealth Fund Puts Billions Into Britain

The title of this post is the same as that of a news story on the front page of today’s copy of The Times.

There is a subtitle to the article.

UK will be stronger after Brexit, Norwegians say.

Some points from the article.

  • Norway’s wealth fund is worth £740billion.
  • The fund owns £62billion of UK investments.
  • Britain is the third largest market for their investments.
  • The fund works to a thirty-year-plus investment strategy.
  • The fund is co-owner of Regent Street.
  • The fund is a top five investor in companies.

I feel a smidgen of pride, that Artemis, which was the project management software, that  I wrote; in the late 1970s, had played small part in the creation of Norway’s wealth from oil and gas.

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 1 Comment

Woodsmith Potash Mine: Showcasing The Future Of Underground Technology

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Mining Technology.

These are some points from the article.

  • Yorkshire is the world’s only source of mined polyhalite.
  • £3.2billion has been invested.
  • A 32 km. tunnel is being dug to bring the plyhalite to Wilton on Teesside.
  • At 1.5 km deep, it will be the deepest mine in Europe.
  • Sirius are saying it will reduce the UK’s trade deficit by 7%

It is a fascinating read, which lays out the financing and engineering of one the biggest projects in the UK.

 

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Institutional Investors ‘See Energy Storage As Most Interesting Renewable’ Option

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A new poll has identified energy storage as the most promising technology for institutional investors keen on renewable assets, amid plans by many to ramp up allocations.

Nearly two-thirds of all asset owners and managers quizzed by the firm chose batteries and other energy storage technologies as the renewables subsector with the greatest potential.

I suggest you read the rest.

The last paragraph talks of Arlington Energy building a portfolio of 1GW of energy storage and gas peaker projects and has raised £200million for starters.

If I was an engineer involved in the development of nuclear power, I would be seriously thinking of looking for a new challenge.

 

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Nearly Half Of Institutional Investors To increase Interest In Renewables & Energy Storage

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Windpower Engineering and Development.

To build a successful and ultimately profitable wind farm, you need the following.

  • A good location and excellent engineering.
  • A need for your electricity.
  • Access to affordable finance.

The first is down to your surveyors, analysts and engineers and the second can probably be taken as read.

If as the article suggests, institutional investors are seeing renewables as a safe investment, it would appear that finance will be more readily available.

So provided the wind blows, I can see lots more wind farms and other renewable power sources being created.

International Institutional Investors

I will add one note of caution.

Some of our infrastructure in the UK, is owned by institutional investors from countries like Australia, Canada, Norway and other countries often rich in natural resources. I am not sure, but I seem to remember that some trains, were financed by money provided by Pension Funds of Canadian teachers.

So, we must be careful how we manage the country, as if the UK is seen to be a risky investment, then the institutional investors will use their money in other countries.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Zopa: P2P Investors Outperformed The FTSE 100 In 2018

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Peer2PeerFinance News.

The title is a good summary of the article, which is a must-read.

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

The Concept Of Hybrid Banking

I have been writing about hybrid trains and locomotives recently.

In Hybrid Power On The Railways, I summarised the current state of development, with brief descriptions of the current hybrid trains and locomotives.

This was my conclusion.

Just as hybrid cars are becoming more numerous, I suspect we’ll be seeing more hybrid trains in the future.

So can hybrid principles be applied to other industries and processes?

A Standard Hybrid Process

In my opinion, one of the best hybrid systems is the transmission of London’s New Routemaster bus. This description of the drive-train is from Wikipedia.

The bus is a hybrid diesel-electric driven by a battery-powered electric motor, charged by a diesel fuelled generator and recovering energy during braking by regenerative braking.

It is a classic serial hybrid vehicle.

Energy is collected in the battery from the diesel generator and regenerative braking and the battery powers the bus.

Hybrid Banking

Could a bank account be designed on similar principles?

  • Money would be collected and stored in a deposit account, where it would earn interest.
  • There would be a wallet or current account, where sufficient money is available to pay bills expected.

I also believe that just as in the bus, there would be a clever control algorithm, that made sure money was in the right place.

  • To pay bills.
  • Earn maximum interest payments.
  • Avoid charges for going overdrawn.

Many would believe, I’m asking for the impossible.

But!

Zopa Or Another Peer-To-Peer Lender As A High Interest Deposit Account

I use Zopa to store my excess cash.

I just add money, when I have spare.

Zopa’s computer decides, who I lend it to, so it’s effectively deposit-and-forget.

Since, I started investing I have earned returns of around five per cent before tax.

Any irrecoverable debts are now allowed against earnings.

But the unique property of Zopa and probably some other peer-to-peer lenders, is that each month a certain amount of money becomes available for reinvestment or withdrawal.

These figures show the percentage of money, I’ve had available in the last few months.

  • February 2019 – 5.6%
  • January 2019 – 6.1%
  • December 2018 – 4.7%
  • November 2018 – 6.9%
  • October 2018 – 7.1%
  • September 2018 – 6.7%
  • August 2018 – 7.5%
  • July 2018 – 6.8%

So it looks like for a mature Zopa portfolio, around 6-7 percent is available for reinvestment or withdrawal.

If like me, you have tax bills to pay at various times of the year, you might sometimes take the latter option, as I do!

But if you do withdraw money, your ratio will change.

It should also be noted that a high proportion of Zopa contracts make payments on or around the first of the month. So lenders can get a sizeable payment in the first few days of a month. All very handy!

Nationwide Or Any Other Bank Account As A Wallet

I use Nationwide as my bank current account, transferring money between Nationwide and Zopa as required.

I also have a sensible agreed overdraft limit, which gives me an extra amount of flexibility. I think it’s only been used twice in the last couple of years at tax payment time.

As the overdraft limit is lower than the minimum amount of money, I’ll be able to withdraw from Zopa in a month, I know that if I use the overdrsft, I should be able to repay it quickly.

The Control Philosophy

I don’t have a computer to work through the control philosophy, but I can use the brain I was born with.

By about the twentieth of the month, I can see the state of my finances and generally know, whether my pension will cover my expenses for the next month or so, or if I need some help.

So when the Zopa payments kick in around the turn of the month, I withdraw what I think I’ll need.

If I draw out too much, then around the twelfth or so, I put any surplus back into Zopa.

A Hybrid System

I believe that what I have described works in a similar way, as a typical hybrid drive system for a bus, train or car.

  • Zopa backs up the bank account and provides extra finance when needed. This is a similar function to the traction battery in a hybrid vehicle
  • The agreed overdraft facility is there if any extra short term finance is needed. It has a function similar to capacitors in a hybrid vehicle, where they are used to provide a fast smoothing response.

Imagine an on-line banking system, which used artificial intelligence to calculate how much extra money is needed each month and transfer money to and from Zopa accordingly.

 

December 25, 2018 Posted by | Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

Aberdeen Standard Backs Controversial £1bn Bid For Crossrail Fleet

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on City AM.

This has been mooted for some time and I believe that Transport for London are taking a sensible action to help get round their funding crisis, caused by three factors.

  • The loss of Government subsidy.
  • The lateness of Crossrail.
  • Sadiq Khan’s bribe to the electorate of a fare freeze.

I also think, that this will be advantageous to London in the long term.

This is a paragraph in the article.

TfL would be able to terminate the 35-year lease in 2020, 2025 and 2030, through a break clause, with an ability to acquire the fleet for just £1 in 2044. TfL will announce the winner at the beginning of next year.

Depending on how TfL’s finance progress in the next few years, the break clause may allow them to cancel and acquire new trains, if they felt it best.

But all these trains need a rebuilding at someyime around twenty years old and this will surely be the responsibility of the leasing company.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Preparing For A No-Deal Brexit

I am doing a few things to make sure, that I survive a no-deal Brexit, as unscathed as possible.

Savings

I keep all of my spare cash in Zopa, moving it in and out as required. Effectively for about seven or eight years now, I have used the first peer-to-peer lender as a high-interest, thirty-day access deposit account.

It has probably paid around five percent before tax in that time and it has safely ridden the peaks and troughs of governments and financial instability.

Today, I calculated how much cash, I need in my current account to see me through to end of the year, and the spare money was tranferred to Zopa. It was a fast painless transaction and now it is available to lend to Zopa’s customers.

Warfarin

Warfarin stops me having another stroke.

As it only comes from Eastbourne, I suspect supply of this comment drug.

But I have enough to last me to until Summer 2019.

INR Testing

I test my own INR, which determines the Warfarin dose.

Today, I ordered enough test strips to get me through to Summer 2019.

Beer

Every time, I go walking around London, I take a large bag, that can hold up to eight bottles of my favourite beer from Marks and Spencer.

Supplies from Adnams in Suffolk seem good at the present and I usually liberate a few from a boring life on the shelves on every trip.

As with other products, I aim to have enough to last me through to Summer 2019, at a rate of three a day.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | 2 Comments