The Anonymous Widower

Is Zopa Losing Its Attraction As A Platform To Go For A Loan?

Over the last month or so, I have been getting bigger amounts of money moved to my holding amount on Zopa,.

It appears to me, that borrowers could be repaying loans early.

This could be for one of several reasons.

  • People are fed up with non-Brexit and are being prudent, by repaying loans.
  • The economy seems to be picking up and borrowers can afford to pay loans off.
  • There are some good offers out there and borrowers are consolidating their loans elsewhere.

As Zopa don’t charge anything to pay off a loan, so if you have spare money, it must be top of the list for a loan to pay off.

A Worrying Trend On Lending

Perhaps more worrying is that at the moment the money I have made available to borrowers, seems to take a long time to be allocated.

Is this due to a shortage of would-be borrowers?

Conclusion

I have decided to increase my spending and visit some of the places on my bucket list.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance | | Leave a comment

Where Have All The Cash Machines Gone?

After an excellent gluten-free breakfast in Le Pain Quotidien at Monument, I thought that my wallet needed a top-up of cash.

As I wanted to catch the DLR, I walked East to Tower Gareway station.

I didn’t see a single cash machine!

It’s not that I use much cash, but I do like to pay in chain restaurants, where tips are important to staff, and for newspapers in small shops and for taxis using cash!

I know that I can use contactless payments for most of these transactions, but I prefer cash sometimes!

I don’t trust some shops having had my card details stolen by a scam in what was a franchise of a well-known chain. As I walked through the door at home an hour later, my phone rung and it was the credit card company, asking if I’d spent a lot of money in the last couple of hours in Las Vegas. They said, that someone had and they’d refused all payments and stopped the card.

So I didn’t lose a penny and I only had all the inconvenience of waiting for a new card and changing details on a few regular payments.

The shop closed a week or so later!

But I am naturally cautious and prefer not to get caught again, by a clever piece of what looks like contactless technology. Even beggars and buskers are now using it!

Hence, my continued use of cash!

I don’t particularly worry about the disappearance of cash machines, as living close to the centre of London, there are plenty about. But as on Saturday, when I walked  for a kilometre in a tourist area of the City, they are getting fewer and further apart.

Many stations now have cash machines and this surely should be the norm!

But with bank branches disappearing fast, it is all part of moving towards a cashless society!

 

May 6, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , | 1 Comment

UK Listed Energy Storage Fund Seeks 182MW Battery Project Pipeline

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

This is the first paragraph.

UK investment management firm Gresham House has confirmed it is to launch a fresh fund raising drive as it sets its sights on a new, 182MW pipeline of battery storage projects.

It is my belief as a Control Engineer, that if we move to renewable energy, like geothermal, hydro, solar, tidal, wave and wind, that the generating capacity must be backed up with large massive of energy storage.

  • The energy storage captures excess electricity when nobody needs to use it and feeds it back when consumption exceeds supply.
  • I suspect that the National Grid have done extensive simulations of the UK’s energy needs and that they have a model of how much energy storage is needed to support particular mixes and capacities of renewable energy.
  • Most of the storage will be lithium-ion or perhaps some of the newer developments, that are creeping into the renewable dictionary.
  • The cost of storage, its working life and performance must be well-known, which means that the investors can get a return, that satisfies their needs to fund pensions and insurance policies.

So it would appear that Gresham House have done their sums and come up with a mathematical model, where all are winners.

  • UK industry and consumers get enough electricity for their needs.
  • Insurance companies and pension funds get a return to fulfil their contractual commitments.
  • UK pensioners get a reliable pension.
  • UK taxpayers don’t have to fund the much-needed energy storage.
  • Our electricity will increasingly be generated by renewables.
  • I do suspect that Gresham House will take an appropriate fee.

There may even be an opportunity for the public to invest directly in the future.

For all these winners, there will be losers.

  • Oil companies. In Writing On The Wall For Oil Say Funds, I wrote about the opinion of fund managers on oil companies.
  • Despots, dictators and religious maniacs, who control much of the world’s oil resources.

I shall cry not one tear for the second group!

I’ll be very interested to see the way that these energy storage funds develop!

Conclusion

These funds will develop in parallel with renewable energy and the energy storage it needs.

As the demand for energy storage will grow significantly, these funds will grow as well to provide the capacity needed to keep the lights on.

 

 

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Writing On The Wall For Oil Say Funds

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on page 37 of today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Several big fund managers believe that oil companies should shut themselves down because soon they will be impossible to invest in as the world switches to tenewable energy.

A survey of 39 fund managers with $10.2 trillion under manaement found that 24 per cent wanted the oil industry “to wind down their businesses and return cash to shareholders” All but two of the funds  said that oil stocks would not be attrative investments within ten years if they failed to respond to climate risks.

It’s pretty strong stuff.

So could we see a reduction in the use of oil and gas as a fuel?

In some countries including Denmark, Iceland, the United Kingdom and the United States, renewable energy is growing at a good rate.

The UK did draw the full set, in being blessed with the full set of coal, oil, wind, wave and tidal. We also have a bit of geothermal, hydro and solar.

We will still extract coal, gas and oil, but not for fuel.

  • Very high quality coal is needed for steel-making, where carbon-capture could be used.
  • Gas and oil are used as chemical feedstock for plastics, everyday chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Hydrogen gas, produced by electrolysis for use as fuel,  a chemical feedstock and central heating.

Shell have already purchased First Energy, who are a domestic energy supplier in the UK, so are they getting out of oil?

Are fund managers and oil companies starting to go in the same direction, with a lot of the world’s drivers sticking slavishly to petrol and the dreaded diesel?

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Rip-Off Ticketing At Bremen Hauptbahnhof

I am experienced user of Deutsche Bahn and generally buy my tickets at one of their reliable machines.

Note that queuing up at a Ticket Office sometimes takes up to thirty minutes and quite frankly I have better and more important thingfs to do with my life.

This picture shows a typical German ticket.

The two stations; Buxtehude and Cuxhaven are clearly shown.

But imagine my surprise at Bremen Hauptbahnhof, when the ticket machine dispensed this.

It is about one by four centimetres and the only readable writing on the front is EErw.

  • Does it look like a ticket to you?
  • There were no notices up about the change of ticket.
  • How do you sort out today’s ticket from yesterday’s?
  • What if you’re partially sighted?

I thought the machine had failed and curt off the ticket early.

So I tried again. With the same result!

I then tried the Ticket Office for an explanation, but the guy just played stumm, as Deutsche Bahn employees always do, when they know, there’s been a customer relations failure.

I did ascertain, that I had to put the ticket in a machine to validate it before travelling.

I did think about not doing this, so that I would get arrested on the train, but in the end, I can’t remember whether I did.

However, as tickets were not checked on the train, it didn’t matter.

It is the most arrogant system of ticketing I’ve ever found.

When I got home, I found I had been charge for two tickets.

My bank;Nationwide are trying to refuse one of the psyments.

I’ll update this post, to give you the result of their argument.

 

 

 

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

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