Ecotricity’s founder Dr Dale Vince OBE has announced that he is looking for a new owner for the supplier, as he steps into the world of politics.
Vince set up the green energy supplier in 1995, and it has since grown to serve around 200,000 homes and businesses across Britain. It has a turnover of over £300 million for this year, as well as employing more than 800 people.
The company uses 100% renewable electricity, with 87.2MW of wind power and 1MW of solar operational currently. It has 30MW of solar and battery storage assets in development as well as a green gas mill, which are set to be completed this year.
These developments represent a 30% increase on what the company has built over the last two decades alone.
Ecotricity is looking to expand its portfolio significantly in the next few years, with 2,500MW of renewable energy generation in planning. Building this out will require an investment of some £2 billion, a key reason why it is looking for a new owner.
“This is a huge decision – it’s been my life for a long time and is arguably my life’s work,” said Vince.
“But it’s the right decision at the right time – our pipeline of green energy projects is way beyond what we can fund ourselves, while at the same time, the country’s need for new sources of renewable energy has never been bigger.”
He pointed to the importance of action to decarbonise Britain over the next decade in line with the UN’s climate change goals, and the recent push towards energy security due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequential volatility of the international gas markets.
Vince has announced the intention to sell Ecotricity on the day the energy price cap jumps by 54%, to £1,971 on the back of surging gas prices in 2021. This in itself has led to repeated calls for faster decarbonising through increasing the share of renewables on the country’s grid, to minimise exposure to international fossil fuel markets.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now expected to announce an energy security strategy to manage the increased volatility that has run through 2022, with suggestions this will include a significant increase in solar and offshore wind.
“By passing the baton now to a new owner, Ecotricity will be able to play a big role in the accelerated shift to 100% green energy on the grid,” continued Vince.
“And I will be able to play a part in the next general election in some way or another. We have everything we need to get to net zero as a country, we have the technology, economics is on our side, as are the public - we clearly have the need, what we lack are politicians that get it and the policies that will help make it happen - faster.”
Ecotricity made an attempt to acquire energy supplier Good Energy in 2021, initially through three indicative offers for the company. It then raised its offer, first to 340p per share, and then to 400p per share.
Ultimately led to just 2.5% of Good Energy shareholders voted to sell their shares, and the bid was unsuccessful. Ecotricity already owned a 25.1% stake in the company.
The sale of Ecotricity follows it selling off its electric vehicle charging network in 2021, with GRIDSERVE fully taking on Ecotricity’s Electric Highway in June.