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Ecotricity Officially Named As One Of Britain’s ‘Most Disruptive Companies’

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Stroud on Saturday 5th March 2011 ... ecotricity. By bazzadarambler Via Flickr

According to today’s 20th anniversary edition of the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, Ecotricity is one of Britain’s ‘top 10 most disruptive companies.’

The inaugural Virgin Media Business Disruptor 10, researched by Fast Track, recognises ten companies for having a business model, product or service that is creating a new market, or transforming existing markets and rapidly taking market share from competitors.

Ecotricity was recognised for being “the world’s first green energy company with Europe’s largest ‘electric highway’ of 300 ‘electricity pumps’ for electric cars at UK service stations and pioneering carbon neutral gas production”.


It’s actually quite exceptional, since we’ve been doing this for twenty years, to still be considered disruptive

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “It’s fun to be named on this new list of disruptive companies – we don’t mind wearing that badge. It’s actually quite exceptional, since we’ve been doing this for twenty years, to still be considered disruptive.

“It’s our independence that’s enabled this – having no shareholders means we’re free to pursue our mission to build a Green Britain in any way we think is right.

“And in 2017, we’ll be taking our own brand of disruption into a new industry, as yet totally untouched by all this eco stuff.”


Other companies in the Disruptor Top 10 include:

  • Brewdog sells its craft beer in more than 60 countries. About 6,000 of its beer-loving investors attended the company’s annual meeting in Aberdeen in April and it has raised £30m from 53,000 “equity punks”.
  • Crowdcube has helped pioneer crowdfunding in the UK, matching its 300,000 registered investors with more than 450 enterprises looking to raise funds – from craft brewers to app developers.

Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: “At the core of the disruptive forces in all these businesses are digital innovation and technology platforms. The success of these disruptors shows how digital has progressed in just one generation and is the now the backbone of successful companies who are taking market share away from companies who are less digitally focussed.”

An overall winner will receive a special award from Virgin Media Business at the Fast Track 100 national awards dinner in May next year, hosted by Sir Richard Branson.

Ecotricity’s story:

After leaving school, Dale became a new age traveller and lived “off grid”, generating his own power through a small windmill. It was this sustainable lifestyle that inspired Dale to launch Ecotricity, the first green electricity company in the world, in 1996, marking the beginning of the now global green electricity market.

Dale’s mission was and remains to change the way energy is made and used in Britain, and the company now supplies green electricity and gas to homes and businesses across the country.

But that mission has expanded over recent years, and now includes the three causes of 80% of all personal carbon footprints – Energy, Transport and Food. As well as building wind and sun parks, Ecotricity has installed the world’s first national network of electric car chargers, which now has almost 300 ‘electricity pumps’ capable of charging a car in just half an hour.

The group is also planning a 100 acre sports and green technology centre, dubbed Eco Park, next to the M5. Eco Park could create more than 4,000 jobs in the emerging green economy, and house a new stadium for Forest Green Rovers FC, the world’s greenest football club, of which Dale Vince is chairman.

Ecotricity, the world’s first green energy company, has grown rapidly over the past five years, with turnover up from £44m in 2011 to £131m in 2016, and customer numbers up fourfold in the same period, from 48,000 to nearly 200,000.

The company is renowned for its excellent customer service, and has received the lowest number of complaints in the industry for six years out of the last seven years, and there’s been a significant increase in staff numbers over recent years to maintain those high standards, with staff numbers up from less than 200 in 2011 to around 800 today.

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.


Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.


The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?


A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.


“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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