This blog is designed to record the investment journey of a UK based small investor. I hope to make a modest contribution to the collective wealth of investing knowledge made freely available to ordinary people. I am the author of four books [see sidebar and books tab]
reader know, I have become interested in renewable energy investments in recent
months spurred on by a concern for climate change. I have acquired holdings in
a number of renewable infrastructure investment trusts such as Bluefield Solar
and TRIG and feel much better for this as it feels like I am bringing my
investments more into line with my values.
course this is true to an extent, but there's the nagging voice on one shoulder
saying this isn't really doing much for the environment as all you are doing is
buying the shares someone else is selling - which is true.
what about the proposition from a new start-up which seeks new money from
crowdfunding to launch a renewable energy company which combines wind farm
ownership with clean energy supply?
Energy (not to be confused with the crypto currency!)
This start-up aims to raise an initial £750,000 via Seedrs in exchange for a 23.2%
stake in the business. Investors can invest any amount, but I guess typically between
£500 and £2,000 and the proceeds will be used to launch a series of onshore
wind farms in the UK. At the time of posting, they have so far raised £500,000 (67%) in the past
3 weeks from 230 investors and still with 6 weeks to go. Here's a link to their
pitch...it's a bit like sitting in the chairs of Dragons Den like Peter Jones and
Deborah Meaden weighing up the proposition and deciding whether to invest!
plan an initial pilot, single wind turbine later this year with a capacity to
supply around 800 homes followed by a more ambitious 20 megawatt onshore wind farm
a few months later with a capacity to power 18,000 homes.
venture is headed by Sarah Merrick who's vision is of a clean energy future
which is owned by the customers rather than large utility companies. She has
much experience of this sector from her work with Vestas Wind, RenewableUK and
Renewably Energy Systems and heads a small team with considerable technical
expertise in both the renewable sector and tech start-ups.
the risk warning to all potential start-up investors.
Offer to Energy Customers
At my stage, I'm probably a little too risk-averse for an equity investment. The
other proposition from Ripple when up and running is to buy into their
community co-ownership offering.
instead of signing up with one of the big six energy suppliers such as British
Gas or SSE, you buy a one-off stake in the Ripple wind farm. The cost of joining would
depend on your likely electricity consumption, but typically £1,300 for the
average household. For that, you become a member of a co-operative called a
Community Benefit Society which entitles you to cheaper electricity from
Ripple's associated energy suppliers. The membership will continue for the
duration of the windfarm - 25 years.
expected that the electricity savings will be in the region of £85 to £175 each
year. I calculate that the expected payback period on the initial membership fee is around 10 years
is basically a cheaper way for individuals to generate their own clean
electricity. Typical saving is around 75% compared to the cost of solar panels on the
companies like Apple, Google and Amazon already operate their own renewable
energy wind and solar farms to power their operations around the world. This is
a way for ordinary people to take control of their own clean energy supply.
Operating 100% Renewable Energy since 2017
for the green-minded investors like me, you can invest some money in a new
clean energy venture. However, for equity investors, this is a risky venture and there is no guarantee it will
succeed so the usual caveats apply.
you can choose to become a member of the community scheme when the venture is
launched later this year. Pay your £1,300 membership and receive a discount on
the cost of renewable electricity for the coming 25 years. Ripple will manage
the acquisition and construction/maintenance of the wind farm and negotiate the
discount rates with suppliers for its co-operative community members.
your carbon footprint, support clean renewable energy, take control via a
community co-operative structure which cuts out the large utilities, move your
supply with you when you move house, pay for just the amount of energy you
use...what's not to like? So, this is certainly something I will go with in due course and have registered my interest with Ripple.
What do others think? Feel free to comment below.
As ever, this article is merely a record of my personal investment decisions and should not be regarded as an endorsement or recommendation - always DYOR!