Triodos, the European ethical savings bank, has made our pages many times before, and there's a reason it is so popular with the green crowd. Triodos annual meetings are far from the usual bank fodder, seeing experts convene to discuss everything from food security to 'ethical consumption', and their recycled credit cards with carbon offsets built in and savings accounts that promise to reinvest your money in specific good-for-the-world industries are a great reassurance to folks who want to know what their money is doing. Now Triodos are offering another great opportunity for would-be green investors, with an UK£8.5 million (US$17 million) share issue dedicated to promoting renewable energy projects:
"Ethical bank Triodos is offering people the chance to become shareholders in Triodos Renewables, a public limited company which came into being 13 years ago as the Wind Fund. This is its fourth share issue - the last was in 2005. Triodos Renewables invests mainly in small and medium-sized wind farms, hydroelectric schemes and emerging renewable energy technology companies in the UK. It owns and operates two wind farms, Caton Moor in Lancashire and Haverigg II in Cumbria, and two single turbines, Gulliver in Lowestoft, Suffolk, (recently out of action for a few months following lightning strikes) and Sigurd in the Orkney Islands. It also owns the Beochlich hydroelectric project in Argyll, Scotland, and it has a stake in Marine Current Turbines, a tidal energy company whose first commercial turbine will begin operating off the coast of Northern Ireland later this year, and is a partner in Connective Energy, which is developing ways to capture and re-use waste heat from industry."
The Guardian article points out that investment in a similar previous share issue from Triodos would have delivered 22.9% return since 2005 (an average of over 7% a year), and that the directors of Triodos believe they can reasonably expect to "achieve or exceed this performance." Having said that, the article also points out that there are many risks involved in long-term investment in a single share, and while UK renewables targets would suggest that generating capacity can only grow, there are many issues from planning decisions to rising steel prices that could put a dampener on predicted returns.