The World’s first green electricity company:
Green Electricity didn't exist in the world back in 1996. When we offered it for the first time, we became not just Britain’s but the world’s first Green Electricity company – and we kick-started the now global Green Electricity movement. Our mission was and remains to change the way electricity is made and used in Britain.
We chose this focus because conventional electricity is responsible for 30% of Britain’s Carbon emissions – it’s our biggest single source as a nation – and therefore the biggest single thing we can change.
To Green Energy Company:
In 2010 we introduced the concept of Green Gas to Britain and in the process we evolved into a fully-fledged Green Energy company. It’s a pretty revolutionary idea – that we can make our own gas (from food waste) and put it into the national gas grid.
We operate a unique model. We use our customers’ energy bills to fund the building of new sources of green energy. We like to refer to this as turning ‘Bills into Mills’ – energy bills into windmills. We’re a not for dividend company – all of our profits go into our mission.
With no shareholders to answer to we’re free to dedicate ourselves to the task of building new sources of Green Energy. And that’s what we do, on average spending more each year per customer on new sources of Green Energy than any other energy company in Britain - bar none. And we share the benefits of our work through our EcoBonds initiative – giving people the chance to share the financial benefits of the Green Energy revolution.
Energy is the key:
Electricity is the biggest single source of carbon emissions in Britain – but it’s not the only one of course. The big three are Energy, Transport and Food. Between them accounting for 80% of all of our personal carbon footprints. The one thing they have in common is that Energy plays a vital role in them all. That’s why we extended our work beyond the boundaries of traditional energy companies.
In Transport we built the Nemesis Britain’s first electric super car – to demonstrate how cars of the future could actually be wind powered. Followed by our Electric Highway, the World’s first national network of charging stations - to kick-start the electric car revolution in Britain.
On the food front stay tuned for news of our Wind powered tractor and farm energy concepts.
We do all this in pursuit of our vision for a Green Britain – A place in which we all live more sustainable lives and where ethical business is the norm – pursuing outcomes other than profit. And we do it all with the support of our customers.
Dale Vince OBE, Ecotricity founder
It’s been a pretty eventful journey. From that first windmill, back in 1996 - follow our interactive timeline below to discover what we did, and when.
Ecotricity History - 1995
Dale was on the verge of building his first windmill, five years after starting out he realised that one the big obstacles to building more windmills was the need to get a fair price for the electricity. He went to meet the MEB, who were at that time the local monopoly energy company – they laughed at the idea of green electricity and basically offered the kind of price monopolies do – a rubbish one.
And so the idea was born, to cut out the middleman and start an energy company, to reach the end user with this new Green Electricity, to get a fair price – to enable windmill building.
The energy market was just being liberalised and for the first time it was possible to start an energy company and that’s just what we did.
We spent that first year (1995) studying the market and designing a new way to supply electricity – through a model we called ‘Embedded Supply’ basically using the local grid to match local customers to local generation. Sounds obvious enough, but it had never been done before.
Our Eco Credentials
Ecotricity’s purpose in life is the environment. We’re here to promote sustainable living in all it’s forms.
Our major activity is changing the way energy is made and used in the UK. And even though windmills save carbon we know that our operations have an impact.
We don’t just ‘try’ to reduce our impact or ‘pledge’ to; we’re working on it all the time. It’s just what we do, it’s in our DNA.
We’re all about the Green Energy Revolution of course. But we’re also about ethics and sustainability and putting them at the heart of business and of life (we don’t see a distinction).
Part of our work is to challenge the way people perceive the notion of greenness or green living – the idea that it’s all about giving stuff up, about lentils and sandals (though we love both). Our work is about showing that sustainable living is something both feasible and fun – where we can maintain the kind of lifestyle we’re used to, through intelligent use of technology and changing behaviour.
This leads us to be involved in all sorts of things, from football clubs to Eco centres and habitat creation and we work with lot’s of like-minded companies. Together we’re a team, all working to bring sustainability into the mainstream. Together we’re Team Eco.