Ecotricity are the world’s first Green Electricity company. They run a unique model for the production of energy, which could revolutionise how the industry develops in coming years. Ecotricity are committed to reducing Britain’s carbon emissions, 30% of which come from conventional electricity. So, what is unique about the way they produce energy, and why is it set to shake things up?
Ecotricity manufacture their own biogas, totally removing the need to burn fossil fuels. They have developed ‘Green Gas Mills’, which purify biogas produced from grass. The process produces biogas through anaerobic digestion and the mills purify it into biomethane, which can then be fed directly into the national grid. The gas from each Green Mill will power around 6,000 homes. T
his revolutionary approach to gas production benefits the environment in other ways too. A by-product of the process is a rich fertiliser, which can be ploughed straight back into the soil by farmers. The sowing and harvesting of grass utilises low quality grassland areas previously grazed by livestock. These areas frequently fall into disuse, but biodiversity can be promoted if they are set to grass for Green Gas production. In conjunction with this, rotating a grass crop with feed crops improves the soil over time. Land is used, not left fallow, and the environment is improved.
‘Bills Into Mills’
Ecotricity have three Green Gas Mills planned, which were announced in 2015. As they have no shareholders, they reinvest all the profits from customer bills into their mill building programme, which is set to expand beyond the current promise. They call this their ‘Bills to Mills’ model. They also offer EcoBonds to allow the public to invest in the future of this technology.
Three Ecobonds have been issued so far, which have raised almost £40 million. This radical approach to investment, growth and production sets Ecotricity apart from other market offerings, making them the biggest spender on new sources of green energy per customer of any other producer currently operating in Britain.
Ecotricity recognise that energy is only one component of carbon emissions. Transport and food production account for the remaining 50% of our personal carbon footprint. With this in mind, Ecotricity pioneered the Nemesis, which was Britain’s first electric supercar. It hit the headlines in 2012 by breaking the electric vehicle land speed record at 148 mph.
Next, they pioneered the world’s first network of charging stations for electric cars, which demonstrated that electric cars were not only viable, but could be as convenient as petrol-fuelled cars. The electric vehicle revolution has only just started, with wind power as an exciting new technology innovation, which Ecotricity see as the way forward. They have wind-powered agricultural vehicles in development.
Ecotricity are not just responding to the zeitgeist, they are forming it. With Apple currently racing with other big players to dominate the electric car market, Ecotricity have already anticipated demand and supplied it with Nemesis and their electric vehicle-charging network. Green Mils are ahead of their time, but set to expand well beyond current projections in coming years. With a strong vision of how things ‘could’ be, Ecotricity have consistently pushed through practical problems, punching well above their weight in terms of the future energy market.