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Limited company
Industry Energy
Founded 1 April 1996
Headquarters Stroud, England
Key people
Dale Vince, founder
Products Wind energy projects
Solar energy projects

Ecotricity is a green energy company based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England specialising in selling green energy to consumers that it primarily generated from its 70 megawatt[2] wind power portfolio (they prefer the term Windmill rather than Wind-Turbine).[3] It is built on the principle of heavily reinvesting its profit in building more of its own green energy generation.[4]


  • History 1
  • Tariffs 2
    • Wind 2.1
    • Solar 2.2
    • Gas 2.3
  • Side projects 3
    • Greenbird 3.1
    • Nemesis 3.2
    • Vehicle recharging 3.3
    • Tractor 3.4
    • Distributed energy storage 3.5
    • Small turbine manufacture 3.6
  • Political donations 4
  • Controversy 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Ecotricity was started by Dale Vince in 1995, with a single wind turbine he had used to power an old army truck he called home on a hill near Stroud in Gloucestershire, England.[5]

Ecotricity building in Rowcroft, Stroud, one of its three bases in the town.

From this Dale went on to commercially build Wind monitoring equipment (which the company still does today using the name Nexgen[6]) from there they went on to having their own Wind turbines, starting with a 40-metre turbine in the early 1990s which at the time was the largest in the country.[7]

In a survey of green energy companies The Ecologist magazine reported that in 2004 Ecotricity invested over £900 per customer on new Enercon[8] wind turbines,[9] more than 100 times the amount invested per customer by Powergen, Npower and Scottish Power, all of whom market themselves as green energy suppliers. That amount also compares favourably with several other green energy suppliers such as Green Energy or Good Energy, who make no direct investment in creating additional renewable energy capacity on the UK electricity grid.

Since 2004, Ecotricity's site, WhichGreen.Org, has cited Ecotricity's contribution to new green energy sources, per customer, as £117 in 2005, £275 in 2006 and £555 in 2007 — with Scottish & Southern Energy, for example, averaging around £10 per customer in the same period.[10]

In 2007 Vince ran a now famous advertisement on the back page of The Guardian newspaper inviting Richard Branson to his place for a solution to climate change and a carbon-free breakfast. The ad ran the day after Branson appeared on TV with Al Gore, who had managed to persuade Branson that climate change was an issue. The ad was written and produced by Host Universal and included Vince’s personal mobile phone number.

Ecotricity was also a winner in the 2007 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. The awards congratulated Ecotricity for their environmental contribution, stating that 'The company's turbines are delivering 46 GW·h/yr of renewable electricity and avoiding around 46,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. The installed capacity is expected to double by the end of 2007.'[11]

In January 2012 it was revealed they have invested in the development of SEARASER pump-to-shore wave energy machines[12] and in June said they were to deploy in the Autumn of that year[13] in October 2014 they broke silence to say that with the help of marine consultants DNV GL they are moving from Laboratory-trials to Sea-trials[14]

In October 2014 in was announced that they have partnered with Skanska to build and finance new turbines to add a further 100MW to their existing 70 MW capacity[15]

In November 2014 they announced they would not be attempting new applications in England because of the current political climate at the time and would instead concentrate on Scotland.[16] They went on to spin their small turbine manufacturer out into a subsidiary called Britwind.[17] Britwind in collaboration with a local company then offer free Electricity to Crofters in return for installing a small turbine and keeping any excess power generated.[18]

In March 2015 they announced they had refinanced their existing wind-farms with the aim of using the extra capital to expand their production to 100 megawatts by November 2016[19]


Since August 2013 have offered just one tariff, 100% Green Energy, which is 100% renewable energy.[20]

Before August 2013, Ecotricity ran a mix of fuels. Ecotricity's proportion of renewable energy rose from 24.1% in 2007 to 51.1% in 2011 (compared with a national average of 7.9%), with a further increase to 60% expected in 2012[21]

In the past, a substantial proportion of the electricity (25.9% in 2007) sold by Ecotricity to customers came from nuclear sources, which help reduce carbon emissions. This proportion had decreased to 16% by 2010, and 2.6% by 2011.[21] Ecotricity also provided a 100% renewable energy tariff 'New Energy Plus' in which renewable energy was bought in from other suppliers to top up renewable energy produced by Ecotricity.[22]


In Conisholme in Lincolnshire on 8 January 2009 two of the blades of one of the company's turbines were damaged.[23] In February 2013 the go-ahead was given for them to build their largest windfarm, a 66 MW 22 turbine farm at Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire[24]

In February 2013 they revealed they have installed a prototype 6 kW vertical axis windturbine they are call the urbine[25]


Ecotricity also produces solar energy, with its first 'sun park' coming onstream in 2011.[26]


From May 2010 they became the first UK company to supply eco-friendly gas (produced in the Netherlands by Anaerobic digestion of Sugar beet waste)[1][27] by 2017 they plan to have their own digester's fed by locally sourced grass from marginal land of Grade 3 or poorer the first will produce 78.84GWh a year from 75,000t of grass and forage rye silage[28][29]

In August 2015 in was announced they will be building an Anaerobic digester at with Sparsholt College that will take specially grown grass-cuttings from local farms local to college and supply the resulting six Megawatts[30] of gas to the grid[31] with an overall aim of training students in the technology. This joins the first announced in Gloucestershire in April[32] and was followed by a third three Megawatts[33] plant announced in August in Somerset [34]

Side projects


Ecotricity is the sponsor of the Ecotricity Greenbird, a land yacht that set a new world land speed record for wind-powered vehicles on 26 March 2009 on the dry Lake Ivanpah.

An Ecotricity wind turbine at Green Park Business Park, Reading, England, generating electricity for ~1000 homes.


Ecotricity has built an electric sports car called 'Nemesis' that was built as a demonstration of what electric cars are capable of: an endurance trip from Land's End to John o' Groats is planned recharging only from electricity produced by wind power.[35]

In September the car broke the UK electric Land speed record reaching an average speed of 151 mph[36]

Vehicle recharging

In July 2011 they announced their Vehicle charging network that will be sited at Welcome Break service stations and their turbine in Reading, they were initially equipped with both a uk standard 13amp domestic socket and a high power IEC 62196 32amp 3-phase socket.

Ecotricity are to build Wind Turbines and vehicle fast-charging at RoadChef sites across the UK to allow vehicles to recharge directly from the wind.[7]

In July 2011 it was announced that they will be providing fast and normal electric vehicle charging stations at 14 of the Welcome Break Motorway service area's, linking London in the south with Exeter in the west and Edinburgh in the north.[37]

In October 2012 they started to add 50 kW CHAdeMO fast charging to their charging stations allowing compatible cars to recharge within 30 minutes.[38] In April 2014 it was announced that they would be adding support for Combined Charging System connectors from May[39] and the September had over 120 chargers.

They currently do not charge for its use or have plans for the immediate future.[40] In May 2014 they brought an interim high-court injunction against Tesla Motors in reference to their vehicle charging network.,[41][42] this was resolved by a secret out of court settlement.[43]

In 2014 the chargers in their vehicle charging network had sporadic software problems to do with the addition of a new connector which left some chargers not working or not connecting to specific cars[44]

As of December 2014 they cover 90 percent of the motorway service stations and includes Land's End and John o' Groats.[45]


For their next vehicle project they plan to work on an Electric tractor.[46]

Distributed energy storage

They have looking to trial a 100 homes with an[47] internet connected Grid energy storage system that will take the homes off the grid at peak times.[48][49][50]

Small turbine manufacture

In May 2014 Ecotricity rescued Evance, a manufacturer of small (5 kW) wind turbines, from administration,[51] saving the company's 29 jobs.[52]

Political donations

The company has donated to several political parties that support subsidies for renewable energy. In November 2013 they donated £20,000 to the Green Party.[53] On the 10th February 2015 Ecotricity announced that they would be donating £250,000 to the electoral fighting fund of the UK Labour Party.[54] This decision alienated some of their customers, in particular supporters of the Green Party as they feel some Labour policies are at odds with Ecotricity's avowed 'green' ethical stance.[55] In fact Ecotricity had already donated £120,000[53] to Labour in November 2014, including £20,000 to the local group in Stroud[53] which was trying (unsuccessfully) to unseat Neil Carmichael, an opponent of wind farms in Gloucestershire. In the six months before the 2015 general election Ecotricity donated a total of £380,000 to Labour.[53] The day after the election of 7 May 2015 the company donated £50,000[53] to the Liberal Democrats, including £20,000[53] to the group in the Kingston upon Thames constituency which had been lost by Ed Davey, the pro-renewables Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.


In July 2009, Ecotricity started legal proceedings[56] against French power company EDF Energy for the alleged misuse of the Green Union Flag logo, used to promote their Team Green Britain campaign. Ecotricity had previously used a green Union flag in their own advertising and claimed that confused customers had contacted them to ask why the company was co-operating with EDF.

See also


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Video interview of Dale Vince explaining why they invest in Wind power
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nexgen
  7. ^ a b Video Interview with Dale on Carpool 2 October 2009
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ecotricity wins Ashden Award
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Ecotricity Fuel Mix web page
  22. ^ Dedicated to building wind turbines to provide renewable energy and wind power
  23. ^ The Guardian, Friday 9 January 2009
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Sun Park Map
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b c d e f
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ Ecotricity threatens legal action against EDF in green Union flag row

External links

  • Company website
  • UK Grid Live Carbon Intensity
  • Ecologist article on "green" energy
  • WhichGreen: Ecotricity's league table for green energy suppliers
  • 'National Consumer Report: Reality or rhetoric? Green tariffs for domestic consumers.
  • Association for Environment Conscious Building: The Green Electricity Illusion
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