Green Power to the People in the U.K.


Whether they know if or not, folks in the U.K. can buy green power at rates guaranteed to match what they pay for conventional power from their local utility. The power will come from wind turbines scattered around the country, all built by the company Ecotricity. They call themselves the largest independent green electricity supplier in Europe. The company currently has seven active sites, a bunch more in the pipeline, and thousands of individual customers. They say that 100% of their profits go to building new facilities. Unlike green power suppliers who buy energy credits on behalf of their customers, Ecotricity is aggressively building their own wind farms around the U.K. The power they sell is the power they make. Residential customers are promised green power at rates that match those of their conventional local utilities.Commercial customers can be part of the Merchant Wind Power program, in which Ecotricity builds wind turbines on private sites, which they maintain, operate, and own. Private partners agree to buy the turbine’s output for a set number of years. Ford has successfully implemented this model. In 2004, Ecotricity completed two turbines at Ford's Dagenham Clean Engine Facility, just ten miles outside London. The 3.6 megawatts produced by the two on-site turbines powers the entire facility, meaning that the diesel engines coming out of the plant are made with green power. Michelin tire is soon to follow, as they plan to complete a 4 megawatt system early this year at their Dundee plant. Projects like these represent Ecotricity’s preference for smaller and distributed urban wind farms, rather than larger ones in undeveloped areas. Soon to be a customer is the Manchester Football Club, which plans to install a turbine that will provide renewable energy for the famous soccer stadium. :: Ecotricity