Ecotricity

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Ecotricity
Type Limited company
Industry Energy
Founded 1st April 1996
Headquarters Stroud, England
Key people Dale Vince, founder
Products Wind energy projects
Biogas[1]
Website www.ecotricity.co.uk

Ecotricity is a green energy company based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England specialising in selling green energy to consumers that it primarily generated from its wind power portfolio. It is built on the principle of heavily reinvesting its profit in building more of its own green energy generation.[2]

History[edit]

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.[3]

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 [4]) 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.[5]

In a survey of green energy companies The Ecologist magazine reported that in 2004 Ecotricity invested over £900 per customer on new Enercon[6] wind turbines,[7] 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[citation needed].

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.[8]

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.'[9]

In January 2012 it was revealed they have invested in the development of SEARASER pump-to-shore wave energy machines[10] and in June said they were to deploy in the Autumn[11]

Fuel mix[edit]

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 [12]

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.[12]

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 [13]

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.[14]

Ecotricity also produces solar energy, with its first 'sun park' coming onstream in 2011.[15]

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][16]

In February 2013 they revealed they have installed a prototype 6 kW vertical axis windturbine they are call the urbine[17]

In August 2013 they changed to just one tariff, 100% Green Energy, which is 100% renewable energy.[18]

Side projects[edit]

Greenbird[edit]

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

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

Nemesis[edit]

Ecotricity has built a custom Electric sport 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; in this trip they will only recharge from electricity produced by wind power.[19]

In September the car broke the UK electric Land speed record reaching an average speed of 151 mph[20]

Vehicle recharging[edit]

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.[5]

In July 2011 it was announced that they will be providing fast and normal electric vehicle charging stations at 14 of the Welcome Break service stations, linking London in the south with Exeter in the west and Edinburgh in the north.[21]

In October 2012 they started to add 50 kW CHAdeMO fast charging to their charging stations allowing compatible cars to recharge within 30 minutes.[22] In April 2014 it was announced that they would be adding support for Combined charging system connectors from May.[23]

They currently do not charge for its use but plan to from roughly January 2015[citation needed].

Tractor[edit]

For their next vehicle project they plan to work on an Electric tractor.[24]

Distributed energy storage[edit]

They have looking to trial a 100 homes with a [25] an internet connected Grid energy storage system that will take the homes off the grid at peak times.[26][27][28]

Small turbine manufacture[edit]

In May 2014 they rescued a manfuacturer of small (5kW) wind turbines Evance from administration [29] saving the 29 jobs [30]

Controversy[edit]

In July 2009, Ecotricity started legal proceedings[31] 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.

In Conisholme in Lincolnshire on January 8, 2009 two of the blades of one of the company's turbines were damaged.[32]

In May 2014 they brought an interim high-court injunction against Tesla Motors in reference to their vehicle charging network.[33][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ Video interview of Dale Vince explaining why they invest in Wind power
  3. ^ Pagnamenta, Robin (15 December 2008). Business big shot: Dale Vince of Ecotricity. London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  4. ^ Nexgen
  5. ^ a b Video Interview with Dale on Carpool 2nd Oct 2009
  6. ^ "Our Partners - About". Ecotricity. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  7. ^ "Green Electricity… Are you being conned?". The Ecologist. 2005-06-01. 
  8. ^ "Which green electricity suppliers are really green?". WhichGreen/Ecotricity. 
  9. ^ Ecotricity wins Ashden Award
  10. ^ "BBC News - Plans for sea energy device Searaser". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  11. ^ "Wave power 'will be cheaper than onshore wind', says Ecotricity founder". Utility Week. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  12. ^ a b Ecotricity Fuel Mix web page
  13. ^ "BREAKING NEWS - Secretary of State gives the go-ahead for 22-turbine wind farm at Heckington Fen". Sleaford Standard. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  14. ^ Dedicated to building wind turbines to provide renewable energy and wind power
  15. ^ Sun Park Map
  16. ^ "Exclusive: Ecotricity delivers UK's first "green gas" - 01 Jun 2010 - News from". BusinessGreen. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  17. ^ December 4, 2012 By Dale Vince (2012-12-04). "Monopoly Money | Energy". Zerocarbonista. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  18. ^ http://www.ecotricity.co.uk
  19. ^ "Wind Car". Zerocarbonista. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  20. ^ Adam Vaughan (2012-09-27). "'Nemesis' breaks electric car land speed record | Environment". London: theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  21. ^ Johnston, Keith (2011-07-24). "connEVted: UK's 'first electric highway' announced". Connevted.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  22. ^ "Nissan and Ecotricity launch fast, free EV charging in central England". EAEM. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  23. ^ http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2014/Apr/Electric-Highway-to-get-first-Combo-chargers-in-May/0434013786
  24. ^ "Former hippy speeds into new energy age". CNN. 25 July 2011. 
  25. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUDddloHrYM
  26. ^ Parrott, James (2011-03-31). http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/maths/subsites/esgi80/resources/Ecotricity_Grid_problem.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ Allwright, David (1914-01-01). "Effect of Distributed Energy Storage Systems on the Electricity Grid". Connect.innovateuk.org. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  28. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/14/hes-electric-will-a-revolutionary-black-box-turn-dale-vince-into-europes-elon-musk/
  29. ^ http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2344702/ecotricity-rescues-wind-turbine-company-evance-from-administration
  30. ^ http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/114599-frp-engineers-rescue-deal-evance-wind-turbines
  31. ^ Ecotricity threatens legal action against EDF in green Union flag row
  32. ^ The Guardian, Friday 9 January 2009
  33. ^ http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/tesla-in-row-over-raid-on-ecotricity-charging-posts-9417527.html
  34. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/misdirected-email-sparks-electric-car-war-between-tesla-and-ecotricity-9533260.html

External links[edit]