Solar mortgage launched

February 25, 2008

U-TV (Ireland): A UK first was made today when a bank launched substantially discounted mortgage borrowing for those who install solar power. The `Solar Mortgage` from the Ulster Bank will do its bit for climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of householders.

It will offer a discount of 50% off the bank`s variable rate for three years, to both new and existing customers, to cover the cost of purchasing and installing the latest solar photvoltaic [PV] technology. The bank has teamed up with leading solar energy company, Solarcentury and the package includes full management of supply and installation and support of the customer through any building control, planning or grant applications.

Ulster Bank head of mortgages , Derek Wilson, said: “This new product will help make installation of solar panels much more affordable and cost effective and provides reassurance to homeowners because the whole process is managed by a pre-approved, high quality supplier and installer.”

Derry Newman, chief executive of Solarcentury, said they were delighted to be working with the bank on the new offering which made solar power more accessible and affordable. “Solar photovoltaic technology is a clean, reliable and readily available alternative to fossil fuels, which generates clean electricity, producing power directly from daylight,” he said.

Dr Andy McCrea, director of Northern Ireland`s renewable energy champion, Action Renewables, welcomed the new mortgage. “I would urge homeowners to consider the product as a convenient and cost-effective means of reducing their carbon footprint,” said Dr McCrea.

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Is the Bank’s carbon markets approach an effective way to address climate change?

February 4, 2008

The Bretton Woods Project (“Critical voices on the World Bank and the IMF”) has perceptive, worthwhile dialogue about carbon trading. The voices are Janet Redman, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies, taking the critical position. She says, “Despite promises at the outset to the contrary, by the end of 2007 only five per cent of the World Bank’s entire carbon market activities were in wind, solar and small hydropower generation. And only one fund, the Community Development Carbon Fund, focussed funding on local sustainable energy projects. If the World Bank is going to be a major player in fighting climate change it should start by ending its own fossil fuel funding. After that, public and private finance should be directed to existing clean, renewable technologies that promote local control of energy development and consumption.”

Arguing the pro-carbon-trading side is Jon Sohn of Climate Change Capital: “It is true that financing emissions reductions through the CDM in countries without a cap does not provide additional reductions beyond the agreed cap; CDM is designed to meet the caps of industrialised countries more cost-effectively while accelerating and scaling up technology diffusion globally. However, there are proposals for CDM reform that involve setting progressive baselines that would result in greater net contribution to the atmosphere, i.e. by moving beyond 1:1 offsetting. CCC supports these proposals as a desirable evolution in carbon finance for developing countries that have the technical capacity (e.g. data gathering and monitoring) to deploy these more advanced policy tools but are not yet ready to take on hard caps.”


Intercontinental Exchanbge to purchase energy derivatives platform

February 3, 2008

A lot of capital markets infrastructure — call it digital plumbing — goes into trading financial instruments. Many transactions that used to be done by an open outcry system are now fully electronic. In this vein, the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) said Thursday that it has agreed to purchase a company whose technology facilitates the trading of energy derivatives, YellowJacket Software. From securitiesindustry.com: … New York-based YellowJacket, founded in 2002, operates the YJ Energy platform, a peer-to-peer trading network for over-the-counter natural gas, power, crude oil and weather products. It has a particularly strong presence in weather derivatives, 80 percent of which are traded on YJ Energy, according to YellowJacket.

“Our proven platform supports the negotiation of any energy transaction, any complexity of contract, with any qualified counterparty,” said YellowJacket co-founder and president Jacob Pechenik. “We will continue to grow the distribution of our technology and liquidity on our network by leveraging ICE’s vast global distribution, asset-class diversity and customer base.” He added in an interview, “YellowJacket is now part of a network and we are going to get that network effect.”