Green Energy Credits Can Help Your Business Profit from Being Green!

Here’s a thought: can we control pollution by building a nation-wide program that can give financial incentives to industries that can better their environmental and operational baselines? A program for carbon emissions trading, trading green energy credits, does just that. The credits, and the trading system that has evolved from them, are a unique way to control air pollution that could benefit your company on the bottom line as well.

The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments defined a new era in means of control of air pollution: provide for an overall limit on emissions, for specific pollutants for specific industries, and let the industries work together to make certain it works, by giving them a way to benefit from doing better than the permit requires. This program was the result of the recognition that we need electricity, that energy generation emits pollutants, and that simply demanding massive reductions in emissions is a certain way to make the cost of electricity very high.

Under the EPA program, a “Cap”, or a maximum permitted amount of emissions, is defined for a group of sources. Permit holders are given allowances to emit a specific quantity of pollutants (e.g., a “ton”). The total number of allowances across a target group defines the level of the cap.

Industries can meet their emissions compliance targets by technology, that is, with air pollution control equipment, or by acquiring allowances from other permit holders, at a price. So, those who do better than their permit requirements have allowances available that can be sold to other operators, which provides all the parties in the group with a market-based means of achieving compliance, since the total amount of allowances represents the maximum allowable total emissions from that industry group.

Those who have money for technology install it and reduce their emissions. They can sell their excess allowances to those who do not have the newer technology, and they will certainly sell them for as much as they can–at more than the cost of the technology-thereby eventually forcing the others to spend the capital budget to be competitive.

Further, EPA regularly removes a number of allowances from the pool to ratchet down the total amount of air pollution. This program has been overwhelmingly successful in controlling Acid Rain.

So interest has been building in finding a similar means to reduce greenhouse gases. EPA doesn’t regulate these yet in this fashion. But a financial market has developed that is willing to assign values to credits, and in Europe an already existing program provided a model.

In the US, the Chicago Climate Exchange allows its members to trade carbon financial instruments, based on caps and offsets agreed to by members and the exchange. Members trade contracts based on 100 metric tons of carbon emissions per contract. The mechanism for defining the cap is a baseline of operations for each business or member. If your operation does not directly emit carbon dioxide, other emissions can be converted to carbon dioxide equivalents, using a Greenhouse Gas Protocol from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The membership requires a legally binding commitment to a phased reduction in carbon generation.

Entities who provide and trade these credits include car makers and coal companies, forestry companies, cities, waste companies, universities, and states. The emissions sources and offset projects are found across the hemisphere and include fleet fuels, forest plantings and agricultural methane control schemes–things that benefit our air via reduction of CO2.

So, how do you control air pollution, without limiting the benefits of of the energy we use as a modern civilization? Create a way to make limiting air pollution less costly, and even profitable! If anyone tells you you can’t make money by controlling pollution, tell them there is power in green! it’s green, like money, and trades, like commodities, and traders and industries both benefit!

The Green Deal Scheme Outlook

The Green Deal is a flagship policy of the new Government and is scheduled for potential introduction in 2012. The idea behind the policy is to allow home owners, landlords and businesses access to energy efficiency improvement measures where they might previously have been unable to afford the measure or could not obtain a suitable grant.

Under the Green Initiative the consumer will get an Accredited Assessment, which will be an independent inspection of the property, such as found in an Energy Performance Certificate. This independent report will help to identify what energy improvement measures could be undertaken upon the property. These measures could potentially include upgrading insulation, changing the heating system and controls, and installing renewable technologies.

The Accredited Assessment will then pass the information onto an approved Deal Provider, who are certified installers for the improvement measures that are outlined on the report. It is expected that the Green Provider will analyse the list of improvements with a view to what would be permitted to qualify for the Green Deal Finance.

There is a Golden Rule that will be applied to any potential improvement before it can be approved for Green Deal Finance. This Golden Rule has two conditions, first, that the expected saving from the improvement must be equal to or greater than the projected cost of measure itself. The second is that the repayments must not go on longer than the expected life time of the improvement measure. If a measure does not meet these criteria then it will not qualify for the Deal Finance.

If a measure does not qualify for Green Deal Finance then it may still be installed provided that the consumer either pays for the measure in full or subsidises the amount to the point where the remainder could be approved under the Green Deal Finance.

The Green Deal Finance will allow the cost of the improvement measure to be spread as repayments and collected from the property Utility Bills until such time that the debt is repaid. These repayments will be taken by the Utility Provider and will be covered under the Consumer Credit Act. Because the Deal Finance is a charge against the property utility bills any future owner or tenant of the property will continue to pay the charge until the debt is paid. In this way the debt belongs to the property.

Before work can commence on the installation of an improvement measure under the Deal Finance express consent must be given by all parties with a vested interest in the property. For example, a tenant may undertake improvement works under the Deal, but must have the landlord’s permission to do so.

In this way the Green Deal aims to making energy efficiency measures available for domestic and commercial customers, to help save energy use, make the properties better insulated and to help to reduce the amount of carbon we generate.

How Does Green Deal Finance Work?

Via the Green Deal scheme run by the UK government, you can make your home more energy-efficient without paying a lot of money. Unlike other systems, it does not offer grants, but finance in the form of a loan. Still, this does not mean that it is financially burdening in any way. Find out more about Green Deal finance so that you can use it with confidence.

Scheme Basics

The scheme is designed to help you make home improvements which will contribute to energy efficiency. The list of eligible improvements includes wall and loft insulation, double-glazed windows, draught-proofing, underfloor heating, heating controls, boiler replacement and even solar panels. Other types of improvements may qualify as well. In order to make these improvements, you will receive a loan which is repaid under special terms and conditions.

Finance Eligibility and Amount

Any person owning or renting a property in England, Wales and Scotland can apply for Green Deal finance and qualify. There is no income assessment. You can qualify irrespective of the income which you earn. The finance is available from registered providers and lending criteria apply. The lender will take into account your credit score and history when determining your eligibility and the interest rate to be charged. Still, the requirements are lower so around 8 of every 10 applicants qualify.

The loan amount is based on the amount of money which you are expected to save on your energy bills. This will enable you to finance the most energy-efficient improvements which can be made. In general, you are free to make a personal financial contribution of any size. Similarly, you may use grants available from other schemes to pay for the improvements.

Repayment Term and Structure

Each Green Deal finance package has payments which are lower than or equal to the savings on your energy bills which you will generate as a result of the planned home improvements. In this way, you will incur no additional costs whatsoever. You will keep on paying the same bill or a slightly lower one. Once the loan is paid off, you will start generating major savings from the energy-efficient improvements.

The repayment term is typically between 10 and 25 years. You can select it in line with your financial plans. A longer term will result in smaller payments while a shorter one will help you to save on interest.

Finally, you should know that the Green Deal finance payments are automatically deducted from your energy bill. The loan stays with the property and does not go with you if you move to another house.