Europe's 'green' electricity supplier a winner

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The Independent Online

Ecotricity, which won an award for environmental achievement, is Europe's first and largest "green" electricity company, writes Saeed Shah.

Based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the company, in effect founded the green electricity marketplace in the UK, when it set-up in 1996. Dale Vince, managing director, set-up the company to supply electricity from environmentally friendlier sources - at market prices. It aims to create a mass market for such electricity.

Customers include the Millennium Dome, the Co-operative Bank and Thames Water. Ecotricity will be available to domestic customers later this year.

Mr Vince said: "We challenged the belief that products which are good for the environment have to cost more by supplying Ecotricity for the same price as 'brown' electricity." In four years, the company has taken its turnover from £13,000 to £50m.

"Ecotricity" is electricity generated from methods that are significantly less polluting and more sustainable than conventional sources. It uses "Deep Green" methods such as wind, hydro and solar power, and "Pale Green" technologies such as landfill and sewage gas. These reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major contributor to global warming. About 30 per cent of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions are generated by the conventional electricity industry.