New Green Jack New Green Jack

147 responses to “Greenwash Day”

    • Robin

      It will be interesting to see who goes green today. Everyone who does will have been infected by Electricite de France. We are going to witness people, papers and partners suddenly turning green for a day – it will be like a dye running through the country and revealing everything that is wrong.

        • Antony

          For what it’s worth, one of those EDF posters popped up near here, and as a follower of the zerocarbonista blog I assumed it was an ecotricity campaign; it’s only when I came back here that I realised I’d been duped.

    • Earth grl

      Beautifully writen, love it!!!!!

    • Martin Hallford

      It’ll be interesting to see what areas of the media pick up on this, not just the Guardian.
      I’ve worked in large corporations in the past and have seen how the spin machine and marketing departments work to maximise “share holder value “(how I hate that phrase). it’s so sad to see organisations that are ready to mislead a country ,be unethical and seemingly allowed to get away with it.
      At least Ecotricity has only one share holder and he’s already providing great value
      Keep up the good work Vince
      Martin

    • Grilla Login

      Nice piece of work D!!

    • Robin

      Great piece in the Guardian Dale,. Three direct hits. French. Nuclear. Brown and Brown and Brown. The Real Green Britain Group is very proud of the role it has played in sowing the seeds. Please keep us posted on all events. Cheers. Robin

      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106171060780&ref=ts

    • Simon Manns

      The Eden Project are asking for your thoughts on Green Britain Day! I’m sure you’ll all let them know what you think:
      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99644294439&ref=nf#/theedenproject

        • dale Vince

          Simon, I read an article by Tim Smit in the Times this week. Tim made grand statements about now being the time to seize the opportunity for big cultural change, to fight climate change and all that good sounding stuff – but then went on to talk about people turning off lights as a result of Green Britain day and that was the extent of the suggested actions/outcomes it seemed. Left me thinking a better action would be not to drive to the Eden project – far bigger CO2 saving there. He may of course have been done no favours by the editing, but the piece just didn’t add up, the grand vision appeared to boiled down to turning off lights. I’ll ask Paul to post a link in a mo (Done – Paul). Cheers.

            • Simon Manns

              Hi Dale, In reference to the quote from Tim Smit about turning the lights off – did you see the documentary on BBC3 on Wednesday night about EDF Greenwashing? they highlighted something that you probably already knew but shock horror, their new ECO20/20 tariff is certainly not what most people think! It is actually not Eco at all. Not one bit. Not even the smallest amount of energy they provide through this tariff comes from renewables! The ONLY reason it is called Eco is to pull the wool over our eyes. It turns out Eco to them actually means “Economy”! Add some scenes of blue skies, corn fields & children playing in the sunset and they have a product that does absolutely nothing for the fight against climate change (the reverse in fact) but is drawing people to sign up for it thinking they are. The only way they get away with it with the ASA is that they put a very hard to read disclaimer at the bottom of the ad which says it’s an eco tariff because they’ll send you an email once a month with details how to save energy. Do you know what’s in it? yep. Turn your lights off!!

              I called EDF yesterday, and I got put through to their very own ECO20/20 Department – yes, they have a whole department set up for this farce! I questioned them on the green credentials of the tariff and do you know what, they couldn’t answer any of my questions. I eventually managed to get the girl to agree with me that there is nothing eco about it at all and at which point asked her why this tariff was in the “green & eco” section on their website…guess what.. she couldn’t aswer it!

              This would be laughable if it wasn’t so shocking. Consumers are changing tariffs (and in some cases energy companies) because they want to make a difference. People who actually care. But EDF are catching them in their big greenwash net and not allowing them to make a better informed decision.

              I’ve said this many times today already but I’ll say it again – we’re in the shit!

                • Martin

                  I switched from EDF to Ecotricity two years ago. They rang me a few weeks ago to ask why. I said Ecotricity spend all their profits on building new renewable capacity. They then said EDF was ‘going 100% renewable’. The guy on the phone didn’t know what he was talking about especially when I pointed out they had a huge nuclear capacity, and eventually admitted, ‘I seemed to know more than him about the subject’. He tried to get out of it by saying all domestic customers would be 100% renewable, but eventually admitted he ‘didn’t really know much about it’.

                  How can they get away with these blatant lies?
                  I wrote a complaint and got an apology by phone saying the ‘staff member would be retrained’.

                    • insider

                      EDF Carbon Neutral – Christ on a bike!

                      EDF are now listed on the Carbon Neutral website
                      http://www.carbonneutral.com/pages/whatwedo.asp

                      Well that proves what a crock; off setting really is…

                      But to be fair, it mainly take into consideration how far employees travel, in what type of vehicle & how much gas, electricity & oil they buy (No mention of coal then!).
                      So I guess as EDF make electricity they technically do not need to buy it, thus substantially reducing the impact of burning fossil on the public consciousness..

    • Al

      Sad to see how toothless and useless the ASA has become.

      EDF’s campaign presumably ends today on its, er “Green Britain Day”.

      But while the ASA has acknowledged numerous complaints about EDF’s greenwash campaign, it has yet to deliver a verdict.

      What on earth is the point of the ASA then?

      I write advertising and I rely on the ASA to protect the reputation of my industry (such as it is).

      And in the rare instance that a client asks m to write lies on their behalf, I simply remind them of the PR disaster that awaits them when they fall foul of the ASA. So far it’s worked, the clients always back down.

      But now it seems that, in fact, anyone can tell any lie they like, for as long as they like, and the ASA will turn a blind eye until the advertiser’s campaign has run its course.

      The ASA, remember, isn’t govt funded, it’s funded by the ad industry – and they’ve always maintained that this self-policing is the best way to go. Not if they pander to their French masters, it isn’t.

        • dale Vince

          Al, I’m no fan of the ASA, truth be told, and I won’t hold my breath for the right decision. You raise a good point about the way it’s funded and run – let’s see what they come up with. It’s not too late either, they’ve had 80 or so complaints already, the more they get the more likely I feel they are to act – anybody that’s not done so already – dropping a quick line to the ASA would be a good thing to do. Cheers.

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Dale,

      I have just managed to complain to the ASA on this subject. I hope that the reason their website was down was because of the volume of complaints on this subject.

      Regarding the picture at the top of this thread, I am sure the great man would have had something to say on the matter. In fact, perhaps he did, as this one seems particularly apt:

      “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

      Winston Churchill, 1874 – 1965.

      Best regards,

      Jonny.

        • DaveAngel

          Perfect quote Jonny. Love it.

        • J

          1874 – 1965 – It took him a very long time to write that quote!

          on a more Apt subject, EDF i think will have ALOT of complaints with this and im sure the ASA are very busy!

          J

        • dale Vince

          Fab quote Jonny, I may use that if you don’t mind. Cheers.

            • Jonny Holt

              Hello Dale,

              Go ahead – he gave his quotations to all of us.

              Best regards,

              Jonny.

    • Grilla Login

      Al’s right of course RE the ASA; zee stable door is closed once zee horsemeat has bolted!!

    • DaveAngel

      Grilla – frankly finding majority of your comments on this subject downright offensive. Please please please give it a rest on the old zenophobia front. Does you and the cause a disservice.

    • DaveAngel

      I meant xenophobia. see how angry you made me!

        • dale Vince

          Dave I think you may have had Zena worried there….. 🙂

    • Grilla Login

      Sorry to hear I make you angry Dave.

      Please send my apologies to your friends at Plymouth Argyle as well.

        • DaveAngel

          I don’t have any friends at Plymouth Argyle … strange thing to say …

    • Ruth Andrade

      Hey Dale,

      I’m a big fan of your blog. I was furious when I saw the EDF ads in the paper. Then British Gas hijacked the London Paper with front and back cover of pure greenwash, it was dripping from the paper. It made me disgusted, made my green blood boil.
      It’s awesome that you’re making a big fuss and not letting the coal-maniacs get away with it.
      Keep it up!
      x
      Ruth

    • Dave

      Interesting article has popped up on BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8146824.stm

      Sounds like DECC may actually have their thinking caps correctly attached though. Come on UK government! Keep promoting wind!

        • Simon Manns

          This one popped up on the BBC over the weekend too!
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8146318.stm
          Could this be a way forward? – community turbine projects?? Would people be less likely to object through planning if it was the community that had instigated the project in the first place??

          Robin has already started the ball rolling for a community turbine for the Green Britain Day FB group – brilliant idea.

            • Paul PCAN

              Trust the British media (or the government??) to get the idea of selling electricity completely wrong.

              If you generate electricity at your home and you want to sell it like Ecotricity, they are calling it ‘cashback’??

              Sounds like some marketing company had a meeting and decided that the public would understand ‘cashback’ but not ‘feed in tariff’.

              The idea that people might actually produce something and then sell it to a big company does not seem to be comprehended by today’s ageing capitalist system.

              I think in future the current ‘electricity’ companies will just become ‘market’ implementers, creating the physical network for trading energy between big and small organisations.

        • Paul PCAN

          The CBI are concerned about the old model of economics and growth. That requires a never ending supply of energy. They still haven’t worked out the fact that at some point, it is going to stop and that their ‘expansion’ model of economics no longer works.

            • rowan langley

              The joke on the CBI is that here in this one man band electrical contracting business we have the never ending supply of energy already : PV panels on the building, a battery bank – hence I can type this up at midnight still using my own organic electricity and a small bill from that helpful Mr Vince and his company for a bit of extra energy from his wind turbines every so often when I’m a bit short.

              The sun, which drives both Dale’s generators via wind and mine diectly won’t be running out of energy in the near future.

    • Simon Manns

      Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, 12th July: Team Green Britain indeed”.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/rod_liddle/article6689528.ece

      “Has anyone else had enough of that sanctimonious television advert from the power company EDF Energy for “Team Green Britain”?

      Yes, I know all adverts are irritating (we need to sort out that bloody meerkat sharpish, I reckon – a tub of Warfarin down its burrow should do the job. Simples).

      But here is a company cloaking itself in the British flag and environmental piety when it is (a) not British and (b) about as ecologically minded as a night out in a Lamborghini with Jeremy Clarkson.

      The wholly French-owned EDF Energy specialises in stinking, coal-fired power stations and, according to The Ecologist magazine, its French parent company invests next to nothing in new renewable energy projects – at the last count, something like 0.08% of its total capacity.

      Even I’m greener than that, and I throw empty crisp packets out of the car window. It has also filched its green Union Jack logo from Ecotricity – a company which really is (a) British and (b) green.

      When companies start lecturing you about the environment, it is time to start counting your spoons.

      Team Green Britain indeed”.

    • David hicks

      I had a response from the ASA today.

      We are already investigating this advertisement.

      We would make it clear that, although we are investigating the points of the complaint related to whether the adds misleadingly implied that EDF were a green company and a British company,

      We are not going to take up the concern that EDF”s use of the green Union jack flag was an imitation of a similar image used by Ecotricity. We note the similarities between the concepts but consider that the images are different and the adds make clear that EDF are the marketer.

      (Not sure what they mean by marketer. Does that mean EDF spend millions telling lies and pretending to be something they are not.
      Dale now is the time to do your own adverts. Maybe you could have the 2 flags side by side and a tick box that says.
      Green British French Fibbers
      If ever there was a time to spend money on adverts for you its now you can ride on the back of there adverts.

        • Xena

          I had the same response. I have no idea how they think the images are different… have they seen the vans? The image on the van is IDENTICAL! Albeit rotated a little bit….
          Madness

            • Vanky

              Same standard response here too.. I’m starting to get the impression that the ASA is a little on the toothless side…

                • Dan W

                  I had the exact same response as mentioned above despite not once mentioning Ecotricity, my complaint centered solely on

                  a) erroneously selling EDF as a Green company,

                  b) erroneously selling EDF as a British company,

                  I didn’t want to mention Ecotricity as I did not want to appear as though I was merely a foot soldier for another company and actually WAS a disgruntled consumer who is fed up of shameless green wash. It just shows that the ASA didn’t really read my complaint , just filed it in the ‘eco nutters’ bin and sent a stock reply. That in itself is outrageous. I expect to be taken seriously when I have a valid complaint! Who regulates the ASA? It really does show that in this case the ASA is just working with the government to ensure the cosy EDF partnerships do not get obstructed. I am enraged by the self righteous back hander government/business culture that we seem to have bought into in this country. Everything is for sale , even your soul!

    • Paul PCAN

      Maybe the left an ‘e’ off.

      They meant ‘Marketeer’ as in Privateer or Buccaneer!

    • frugalista

      Yes – reading between the lines but still trying to avoid wearing a tin-foil-hat – I would say that EDF and the nuclear lobby have a strong agenda to claim the subsidies that have been allocated to renewables, and are doing their best to convince the British public that nuclear is the *only* solution to our low carbon energy needs.

      This ‘Greenwash Britain’ thing just feels like the tip of the iceburg.

    • James

      Dale, have you thought about doing a Robert Owen and converting your ownership of the company into a cooperative – a fully-fledged social enterprise?

      It’d be a big step, but I reckon it would boost the profile of Ecotricity and be another example of why people should switch. The most trusted financial institutions these days are those run for the benefit of their members – the same principle at work would help Ecotricity move to the next level.

    • Kat

      Well it’s all very negative.

      Does it really matter if a company is blowing hot air?!

      Is it really that important?

      I think the importance here is EDF’s massage that we need to start concentrating on stopping the decline of our poor overworked planet.

      Any company that conveys this message gets a tick in my book (even if it may be a publicity stunt)

      Well done EDF for taking the time to promote an ECO way of life, I know many companies that dont.

        • Paul PCAN

          Congratulations for what???

          Messages are only worthwhile, coming from someone that actually puts the message into practice.

          Also at the Portsmouth event, there was no message at all.
          I don’t consider a swap shop and some students making paper hats, a message. The same can be done at any fair or fete. As you state, a massage yes, but not a message.

        • Dan W

          No Offense Kat. But EDF are not in any position to encourage an eco way of life when their business is a main part of the problem. In doing so they are attempting to confuse the consumer as to what exactly their business involves to gain more business, this is contemptible not commendable. They are a great polluter as are most brown energy companies and should not be allowed to portray themselves in any way as improving the situation until they actually do something to improve the situation. I struggle to believe that anyone , however good spirited could view EDF’s cycnical over use of the word Green as being in the benefit of the environment and is in fact more for the benefit of the EDF shareholders and political figures who have worked to enable EDF’s unimpeded rise in Britain. They are quite literally trying to gain a monopoly on the word Green without actually following the ethics of Environmetalism in their main business model, this is by definition , dishonest.

    • Robin

      yes it does matter Kat. If a business says one thing but does another they undermine the momentum that is building. The cost of greenwash is too high. There is already a drive to green and it has traction.the market is moving and that is why EDF are interested. This is what happened in the Fair Trade arena which continues to widen but gets shallower and shallower in terms of meaning and market transformation. Climate Change is too big an issue to allow anyone to turn into a corporate PR campaign.

    • Robin

      Subject: Some members of the real Green Britain Day facebook group requested a new Letter of Complaint for the ASA. Here it is…

      Dear ASA

      Thank you for clarifying your position on the Electricite de France Green Britain campaign to greenwash Britain.

      Noting that you can only deal with one particular issue, namely; that an 85% French government-owned coal-burning uranium-mining nuclear energy company that produces the world’s third largest quantities of toxic waste, is passing itself off as Green and British, I would like to re-submit this complaint and add it to the pile you already have.

      EDF makes the smallest investment of all the largest power companies into what is universally accepted as green energy – namely wind, solar, tidal, hydro, biomass – with just 0.07% of their output being ‘green’. No matter how much EDF would like nuclear, coal and gas energy to be considered ‘green’ it is not – as it involves massive mining, construction and waste disposal. In addition, there is scientific evidence that suggests a nuclear power station produces as much carbon as a similar sized gas power station and in the long term, decommissioning makes it even worse in terms of climate changing carbon output.

      These figures say it all:
      • Electricite de France (EDF) is 85% French government owned.
      • Their average spend per customer on new sources of renewable energy over the past 5 years is only £4.14 per customer – putting them in 7th place in the league table and last place out of the Big 6 (by way of comparison, Ecotricity spent £450.14 per customer which is more than all the other power companies put together and puts it at the top of the table – 1st place)
      • EDF’s total generating capacity in the UK stands at 14497MW and only 0.7% is renewables – The Government set Renewables Obligation for 2009/10 stands at 9.7%.
      • EDF only met 2/3 of their commitment from the Renewables Obligation in 2007/08
      • EDF is the world’s biggest operator of nuclear power stations – it took over British Energy and 8 nuclear reactors and has plans to build 4 more reactors at 2 sites (Hinkley Point, Somerset & Sizewell, Suffolk).
      • It also has a 20% stake in British Energy.
      • EDF produce over 13% of global nuclear waste (only the USA and Canada produce more). In the UK that’s 11g per person.

      I note that Consumer Focus Green expectations recent report shows that more and more people are complaining about greenwashing in advertising and that this has been a record year for you in this regard. I hope you will see this greenwashing trend as not only cynical, misleading and exploitative, but also dangerous given the critical issue it disguises – the failure of companies, and in this case particularly EDF, to clean up their own businesses whilst giving the impression they are. It is particularly disturbing that EDF is targeting impressionable children through its schools campaign. Many of these children you will find on the EDF official website as well as the social networking sites that they are promoting with their own misleading opinion. This is an area that also warrants investigation.

      The sheer weight of EDF’s spend on their Team Green Britain Advertising Campaign suggests that EDF are making a very serious attempt to make the whole nation believe that it has green credentials. The campaign covers outdoor posters and vans, events, online websites and social networking sites, TV and a schools programme. All of the materials carry an EDF logo which, as you quite rightly point out in your previous response, leaves no room for doubt that EDF are advertising themselves and aligning themselves with the ‘greenness’ of the campaign.

      Through their advertising and marketing activity for Green Britain Day, EDF is telling us that they are Green and British both of which are untrue and misleading. EDF is pretending that it is something it is not – which is not just a dangerous distraction but also cheating its current customers into a false sense of security and creating the impression for new customers that it is a relevant choice for consumers looking to do their bit in the fight against climate change.

      In short, my complaints are:
      EDF is causing confusion in regard to their own energy generation and supply activities and behaviours through their marketing of, and alignment with Green Britain

      EDF is causing confusion between low carbon energy (nuclear) and green energy (renewable).

      EDF is causing confusion by using images which are associated with an existing green energy company – Ecotricity

      EDF is effectively marketing to children through their Green Britain web and social networking activity and this should be subject to investigation

      EDF can in no way be considered Green or British and this appears to be a classic case of greenwash as highlighted in the Consumer Focus report.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/complaints_form/

      Please use it and thanks for your support.

    • Meraud

      We had a visit from an EDF rep, who tried to sell us EDF by saying that “the power will come from the same place as with your present supplier, it’s just that the bills will come from somewhere else” (!) She ended up having the effect of reminding us we were going to switch to Ecotricity, which we’ve now done.

        • TR

          It is technically true.

          The actual electricity you get will generally be from the most local sources of elec’ generation… be it nuclear, coal or wind etc. That will be the case no matter who your supplier is.

          The more cynical people of this world may not believe this but the important thing is actually where your money goes. Having a wind turbine near where you live doesn’t make your electricity green if you’re with a company that isn’t. It’s because your money didn’t go towards creating and/or mantaining that green electricity (and it’s not going towards new green sources).

          The only companies that would use that sort of line are the ones who are fully aware that they’re not green and who think (and/or are trying to persuade others) that there’s no point in going green.

            • Paul PCAN

              If only we could pick and choose our free electrons.

    • Simon Manns

      Radar beams could protect bats from wind turbines!

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/17/radar-bat-wind-turbine

      Are they sure about this?…I saw a programme once where a guy called Hugo A Go Go invented a radar beam to KILL a bat. Seem to recall this bat had really tough wings though so the radar couldn’t penetrate.

      But the Guardian says that radar beams can protect bats…I’m confused!

    • Tom

      Ecotricity are so focused on everything being “pure” and “Green” everyone is missing the point here. This is a marketing battle.

      Perhaps it’s that the owners of Ecotricity are bitter (which it sounds like to me) that they are having a huge market share taken from them.

      You cannot tell me if Ecotricity owned the main market share of the UK then “MR Ecotricity” wouldnt be a very rich man!?!?

      I’m not pro EDF Energy or Pro Green, I do my own bit fir the environment, but I am fed up with all the bitching! All I see here is bitterness from someone who is losing a marketing war.

      When you have two companies fighting (bitching) over legality issues it pulls the whole industry down and nothing is done to push developments forwards, this seems to be the case. Look at microsoft vs netscape example. Does any of that matter now?! No! Google came in and revolutionised the whole of the internet took it from under all the companies noses and now rule the roost!

      You cannot tell me the owners of each company are NOT in this to make money! So anything that the owners say OF course is going to be tainted it’s “what the opposition” say. Do you ever hear Coke a cola saying how amazing Pepsi tastes!?! lol

      I think the owners of this company need to re configue their marketing objectives and stop putting so much effort in trying to pull the feet of other companies back because they got in there 1st, a green union jack?! So what, get another Idea! I’ve never seen so much effort put into shamming another company. If Ecotricity put this much effort into promoting their brand from day one maybe they’d not be taking more consumers into green energy. Instead to me they seem like bitching “you stole my idea” kiddies. Increadbly childish and I’d never want to get my energy services though someone that bitches like this.

      I cant imagine customer services being a smooth ride if Ecotricity send through a electricity bill over charging you LOL

      I like companuies that take action, Ideas are Ten a Penny: It’s Implementation and action, not Idea Generation that Counts.

      As a total bystander this is my 10 pence worth

        • Simon Manns

          Think you’ve seriously missed the point there Tom. Ecotricity wern’t fighting a “marketing battle” they were fighting for the truth. And that truth is benefical to you and everyone else that “tries to do their bit” for the environment. EDF are not a green company – they invest very small amounts in renewable energy and burn millions of tonnes of coal every day. Would you say that this fits with their image on the Green Britain Day adverts?? No, and neither do I. But people like you who do “want to do their bit for the environment” are being sucked in by their great greenwash machine and believe that by being a customer of EDF they are doing something positive. How much further from the truth could that be!

            • Tom

              Simon

              I just believe if the effort put into this blog , and all the negitive energy around what other companies are doing was put into pushing your cause forwards then it’d probably be a more sucessful venture, instead arguing about it is drawing it all back.

              What do I know, i’m just a consumer?! However I do know i’d not sign up my energy services with a complaining company.

              Robin:

              well, either way I don’t mind it’s not me who is pocketing from the consumer, it’s you guys. Either way Ecotricity complaining about competition rather than pushing their own business forwards is just plain nonsense. Focus on what you guys can do to help the environment rather than what others can’t.

              Keep the legal issues to the lawers and the courts. If you win, bonus cash in, if not then I hope you have enough customers to pay those bills! 😀

              Nothing is eating me, however I DO feel EDF Energy IS eating into your profit margins because your focus is on fighting against them rather than pushing your business forwards.

                • Paul PCAN

                  Tom: “What do I know, i’m just a consumer?! ”

                  No one is ‘just a consumer’.

                  Tom: “However I do know i’d not sign up my energy services with a complaining company.”

                  Isn’t that somewhat shallow?
                  You stated that you are just a consumer, implying you couldn’t care about company ethics etc, yet you are concerned about whether a company complains??

                  So if someone campaigns against some injustice, you think it is wrong, but if someone uses slave labour to produce something, you would willingly buy their product as long as they didn’t complain about the competition?

        • Paul PCAN

          Tom: “This is a marketing battle.”

          That is old economics talking. Reducing this to a ‘marketing battle’ oversimplifies the whole issue of low carbon energy and new green economic thinking.

          The whole issue is about reducing carbon emissions. That is the bottom line for any business today and the foreseeable future.

            • Tom

              Hmmm so the guy that owns Ecotricity on the times rich list who is worth £84 million listed on this blog has absolutely nothing to do with it?

              You’re saying he’s doing it purely for the good of the land (and a nice new Ferrari) – get real!

              Green, not green, whatever. “That is old economics talking” really?! Well in that case why make a fuss? Ethics do play a part, and that’s the Ecotricity consumer market Green eco friendly people is the commodity of this business model if Ecotricity were truly into ethics then why make consumers pay for wind?! That’s free!!!

              “That is the bottom line for any business today and the foreseeable future.” – Really? What world do you live in?

              The bottom line for any business is profit (like it or not) otherwise Ecotricity would use that £84 million to pour into the well being of the earth, the environment and be 100% non profit (then I’d sign up! :))

              Anyway… think of it what you will, this may sound sceptical but we are all entitled to our own opinion.

                • Paul PCAN

                  1. Wind energy is not free, it costs money (or labour, energy and resources) to produce electricity from wind. Also ethics is not about making everything free. In fact experience shows that making things cheap or free results in tremendous waste and abuse of resources.

                  2. Anyone that starts a business and owns it, is worth whatever the business is worth. eg. the capital costs of building turbines and creating the business means on paper the business is worth something to someone else if it was sold.

                  3. Tom: “Ethics do play a part, and that’s the Ecotricity consumer market Green eco friendly people is the commodity.”
                  That would only be true if we had a choice about how energy was produced and consumers could choose which one.
                  Which is exactly what this is all about. We don’t have a choice, we have to cut emissions. The whole market has to be green so that we all have to make choices in that green market. EDF is burning coal, which is the worst of all the possible fuels that could be used.

                • Jonny Holt

                  Hello Tom,

                  I think your reading of the Sunday Times rich list is a bit simplistic. Being the owner of a company does not necessarily mean one has access to liquid cash. In this, I believe you are beholden to that most noteworthy aspect of our British character – envy.

                  Additionally, I was not aware that Dale has a nice new Ferrari.

                  The wind might be free but harnessing its power requires investment, innovation and effort – all for which Ecotricity are truly justified in charging their customers.

                  The bottom line for ethical businesses is most emphatically NOT profit! Or not just profit in the blinkered sense in which the good old, bad old monetarists considered business to be properly conducted; “caveat emptor”, “devil take the hindmost” and all that. It is rather achieving a long-lasting balance between profit, true service to the paying public and maintaining the resources on which the business relies.

                  If you believe – as you seem to imply – that £84 million is potentially available to allow Ecotricity to give away power for free (and that such a business model is what constitutes “100% non profit”) I think you have a naïve understanding of commerce – and having that is no more sustainable than burning coal.

                  Best regards,

                  Jonny.

                • Dan W

                  Hi Tom,

                  You have outlined an amazing array of oversimplistic and irrelevant arguments here which sound just like obvious populist notions bottled to give the appearence of being the grassroots opinions of ‘the average Joe’. Are you actually saying that you cannot understand that a company that builds renewables is more green than a company that actively opposes renewables? Are you really saying that Dale’s success which has rightly made him enough money to live comfortably is in itself an actual reason to treat with suspiscion the obviously worthy attempts of his company? Are you really using those arguments and actually believe they will hold up to scrutiny? Your point on ethics deserves scrutiny but the way you bandy the £84 million number around just shows again you are going for the populist note and have not actually done any research into how Ecotricity’s business works. I would say that if you make a large profit doing anything that is improving mankind and the world then you can rightly feel good about it. Can you not see the interlink between the success of Green electricity companies now and the state of the world in the near future? Of course you can and that is why you are opposed to it.

        • Dale Vince

          Hi Tom, couple of observations from me (Mr Ecotricity).

          You say at the end of your piece that you like companies that take action. Well the one action that counts in green electricity is building new sources of it, so you may like to have some statistics to show you who takes action on that front, and who doesn’t.

          EDF sit at the bottom of the league table for spending on new green per capita – having spent an average £5 a year for the last five years (that’s per customer). Ecotricity has spent an average £400+ per year doing the same thing. That’s more action that all the rest of the UK’s suppliers put together and then multiplied a few times. This is where we spend out time and energy.

          What enables us to do this are customers, people who want a green outcome from their electricity bill.

          Our issue with EDF is that they are using a flag so similar to our own (their vans look almost identical) that they are causing confusion in the market. Nobody can think that is right.

          This is not a marketing battle it’s a simple question of identity.

          You don’t seem to have spent much time looking at the the facts, you just offer a bunch of jaundiced opinions about ecotricity, myself and the wider world of business. But not all businesses are the same Tom, look a little deeper and you’ll see that.

          Last thought, for someone that dislikes bitching so much (how many times do you use the word?) you’re pretty good at it yourself……:)

          Cheers.

            • Xena

              I would like to agree with Dale in the fact that not all businesses are the same. I have worked for all sorts of different businesses in the past, and hated them all, their ethics, the compulsive profit making, the attitude, the corporate bullsh!t…
              I now work for Ecotricity, and never has a company or a job made me feel so passionate about something that I want to post on a blog, help them take action against the bad guys, and rightfully defend them when I can. I’m proud to work for a company that does take action to make the world a bit better.
              Most businesses are the same, but not this one… so give up “bitching” Tom, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

            • Justin Noe

              Sorry to interject like this but as a man of power and influence, have you considered buying up the Vestas plant on the Isle of Wight? Not only could you potentially save 600 jobs in the manufacturing industry but it would also mean you could build your own wind turbines. You could supply the factory’s power and build the parts for the generators! How sustainable!
              Perhaps this could also be a good grounding in manufacture for when you decide to put the “Nemisis” into full production.

                • Robin

                  The Vestas Wind Turbine Factory on the Isle of Wight is closing down. The staff want to protect their jobs. They are under siege. It’s a bad situation. I went to a demo outside the Department of Climate Change and Energy, I heard a number of people speak. Nick Hutton from the Campaign Against Climate Change, Simon Hughes from the Lib Dems, Darren Johnson from the London Green Party among others, and what I learned is their might be an opportunity for government backing, not for nationalisation but for workforce support. So what I’m thinking is this. We help set them up as a cooperative, (Malcolm) we give them a turbine to build (Us), we partner with an energy provider (Eco), and we raise 1500 energy users to switch over and take an emotional stake in a turbine. The 1500 energy users will be a virtual community who want to support this initiative. Us.
                  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106171060780&ref=ts#/event.php?eid=107687832116

                    • Paul PCAN

                      Slight problem with that scenario.
                      The factory only ever produced turbine blades.

                      I doubt if it could ever be adapted to produce a whole turbine without significant investment and expansion. Plus one turbine will probably only keep it going for a month or so.
                      I like the idea, but I think the idea is bigger than you suggest.

    • Robin

      what’s eating you Tom? You say you are a bystander but you sound more wound up than either Mr Eco or President EDf

        • Robin

          Agree, but you have to start somewhere and so i have. Better to explore than to ignore. I’ve got a lot on my plate and any ideas for moving this forward would be welcome. R

    • Simon Manns

      Severn tidal power scheme SHOULD NOT go ahead, warns Environment Agency:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/17/severn-tidal-environment-agency

      “The contentious Weston barrage would be the largest renewable energy project in Europe but comes with a huge ecological cost”.

      Not as huge as the ecological cost of not implementing schemes like this!…And is this the same river that has numerous Nuclear power stations dotted along it? I’ve got an idea – why don’t we remove the ecological cost of those to make up for it!

    • Giles

      hey…

      …i may or may not work for EDF. I certainly wasn’t aware of Ecotricity and I’m shocked at how much EDF have ripped you guy’s off.

      …some good news; as said, I may or may not work for EDF but I do happen to know that having (or having not) spoken to 50 EDF customers a day since EDF launched Green Britain Day that not 1, single person has mentioned….no exaggeration whatsoever, no-one has mentioned it, oh it’s been promoted but no-body has said a word.

      I was horrified to see the pictures on the previous post of the Ecotricity van and how much we’ve (*cough* They’ve) ripped it off.

      There has been word that it’s in the hands of the legal teams and should be interesting to see what happens being on the front line as it were.

      Good luck guys.,

    • James

      Tim’s cynicism is perhaps not uncommon – which is why I would suggest that Ecotricity becomes a cooperatively-owned enterprise.

    • Robin

      Warning signs on nuclear power
      By Geoffrey Lean
      Published: 7:28PM BST 17 Jul 2009
      Worse, Britain’s Nuclear Installation Inspectorate has written to EDF to voice “serious concerns” about the safety of reactors it plans to build in Britain, though the company is confident “these matters will be resolved”.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/5852895/Warning-signs-on-nuclear-power.html

    • JB

      Hello All,

      I am interested to read the differing opinions between some of you on EDF’s alleged greenwashing. Regarding EDF’s latest TV advert for their 20/20 package and upon getting into the finer detail of the advert it actually seems like a fairly bog standard energy tariff that you might expect from any electricity supplier. It is only the tone and imagery of the advert that infer a green aspect (eg the backing track; “it’s not that easy being green”). Certainly on first glance one may be led to assume that the tariff is offering some green energy solution above and beyond the normal ‘brown’ supply. Perhaps this is one for the advertising standards agency? As the inferred message is quite different to the actual hard facts; can an e-mail advising a customer of energy saving techniques that they may or may-not already be practicing be claimed as a 20% CO2 saving. Again there should also be a separation of green behavior (i.e. reducing your carbon foot print) and green energy. I think that these two things are too often mixed up and confused; I know that the end product of both is to reduce the amount of fossil fuel burnt but it too often leads to further greenwashing; the inferral that a new coal fired, carbon capture power station is ‘green’; whereas the reality is still a large impact on the ecology; so, green in one sense but not the other.

      The latest episode of the BBC series ‘Mischief’ was on exactly this issue, greenwashing. I really enjoyed the program and thought it was very informative (and entertaining) expecially the bit where Rebecca Wilcox tackles EDF on their use of the phrase ‘eco’. You can still catch it on the iplayer, here

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00lnd13/Mischief_Series_4_Britains_Embarrassing_Emissions/?src=a_syn30

      I for one support Ecotricity in their objection of EDF’s use of the green Union Jack as this is tantamount to identity theft. But I’d really like to think that the average consumer in the UK would see through green posturing. I do think that if a consumer is really looking to switch to an energy tariff that supplies electricity produced from renewable sources that they will look at this 20/20 deal and see through it straight way; discard it and move on.

    • Simon Manns

      Tim Smit – London2012 Blog – Defends his decision to form the partnership between Eden Project & EDF.

      “People often ask me if it’s not like a turkey working for Christmas”.

      “It’s really exciting to see a company where senior people are really committed to making change – I’ve seen it with my own eyes”.

      Has Tim Smit been abducted and replaced by a French made robot? They’ve gaffer taped him up and locked him in the basement down at Eden Project. Somebody let him out – this robot is talking complete rubbish.

      http://www.london2012.com/blog/2009/07/16/eden-project-and-edf-energy-why-we-re-working-together-f.php

    • Fr. Peter

      Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s great friend, advisor and supporter is the UK Treasury Minister MP Ed Balls. Ed Balls is married to MP Yvette Cooper, who, as Minister of Housing was responsible for the new planning laws that will speed up major projects, like nuclear power stations. Yvette Cooper’s Father is Tony Cooper, who, until recently, was the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, which lobbies Ministers on the benefits of atomic power. He is now director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and has become one of the most outspoken champions of the industry’s ‘green’ credentials.”

      Gordon Brown’s brother is Andrew Brown, who was director of media strategy of the PR and UK government nuclear lobbying company Weber Shandwick. Weber Shandwick has a long history of involvement with the atomic industry, a former UK chief executive Philip Dewhurst, is corporate affairs director for British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL). Andrew Brown no longer works for Weber Shandwick but is now Head of Media relations at EDF Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the UK, employing over 12,000 people. It is one of over 70 subsidiaries of the EDF Group, which has over 40 million customers worldwide, is the world’s largest nuclear operator and is pushing for a nuclear rebuild programme in the UK.

      All a coincidence naturally…

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Everybody,

      I have just listened to a wonderfully vituperative rant about EDF and their mendacious campaign by the comedian Marcus Brigstocke on The Now Show on BBC Radio 4.

      Download the podcast here:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fricomedy/

      Marcus’s spot is near the end.

      Also, have a look at this:

      http://www.worldometers.info/

      It’s not directly connected to this subject – but thought provoking nevertheless.

      Best regards,

      Jonny

    • Russ

      I’ve been thinking and I wondered whether maybe EDFs use of the union jack means that maybe it’s not actually a good idea as a symbol for Ecotricity.

    • Robin

      how long were you thinking for Russ, and what got you to that conclusion?

        • DaveAngel

          So rude!!! That’s a way to stop people getting involved in any kind of discussion isn’t it … just shoot down any dissenting voices or alternative opinions.

            • Robin

              No I’m genuinely interested in your opinion Russ. is this a thought that occurred while you were scanning these posts or did you spend some time on it. If the latter, i would really like to know how you came to your thought. I’ve spent 8 weeks campaigning on this subject, i’d really like to know why you think i’m wasting my time.

                • Russ

                  no, it might be a good idea, but it might not.

                  some times when I have an idea for a bit of art work, and it seems like a good idea, but when you start working on it it doesn’t come together, and though you keep trying it won’t come right; I have wondered whether this is some sort of sign, or indication that the original idea was faulty in some way…

                  The fact that EDF can just come along and nick the idea without there being anything you can really do about it might be the same thing.

                  Personally I really liked the green union jack,.
                  I had the idea for a black union jack years ago when I heard the poem by Benjamin Zephaniah, containing the sentence “there ain’t no black in the union jack”, so I thought, why not make a union jack with black in it, and I made one in paint, but I can’t remember whether I sent it to anyone; probably not.

                  I just think a really good logo might be more powerful, and no-one could steal it.

                  Still carry on defending the green union jack, it might work in the end.

                    • Robin

                      Thanks Russ, that’s clear. The Green Union jack is the mission of Ecotricity delivered visually. Their was another logo in the pipe at the time but the Green Union Jack just blew it away. There can be no better way of stating the vision of a green energy business, driven by the need to combat climate change and secure energy independence for the GB (Green Britain). It is also very cool and makes a great t-shirt. the fact that the Green Union Jack is doing measurable damage to the reputation of Electricite de France is further evidence that the flag belongs at the top of an ecotricity pole. it would be good to know where these deliberations take you.

        • Russ

          well, a thought that occurred to me was that I remember that when I read that the Americans(republicans?) where discussing/trying to make a law outlawing the burning of the American flag, my feelings were that a flag should defend itself, whether people burn it or flush it down the loo, it stands for its country.

          Any attempt to make laws to defend it would be like making laws against spitting at Superman; they would only make it look weak, and defeat the whole object of the thing.

          A logo would be the same, it should defend its self, although in the case of a logo the law would defend its use.

          I think you should stick with the green union jack, but come up with an actual logo, then just spend time showing that EDFs green jack is just greenwash jack.

          to a dog, those flags both look the same. I think they see in monochrome…..it just occurred to me…..
          now I’m starting to ramble…

    • Xena

      Any suggestions for a new logo?
      I love these games :o)

        • Justin Noe

          How about a front on view of wind turbine blades in green?

        • Jonny Holt

          Hello Xena,

          The very last thing that Ecotricity should do now would be to abandon the Green Jack. Rather, efforts should be redoubled in using it to generate even more public awareness – of Ecotricity, of EDF’s greenwash and of the issues at stake.

          Abandoning the Green Jack would be seen as accepting defeat – or even implying that EDF has a better claim to it. If there are any legal proceedings underway, it would consign any costs already incurred to the dustbin as it would be interpreted as an admission that Ecotricity’s identity, which they are seeking to protect, is not actually worthy of protection.

          Stick with it!

          Best regards,

          Jonny.

            • Xena

              Hey Jonny :o)
              Yeah, I know… I was only looking for a fun game to play, now that the name for the wind car has been decided! (or has it, who knows?!)
              But seriously, I fully agree that Ecotricity should continue to use the green jack. I also think that it should be promoted more actively and positively to enable the public to see this as Ecotricity’s vision and a long-standing one rather than just a green day .
              The main publicity surrounding the logo lately has been too negative, with EDF poaching it, and greenwash, followed by a lawsuit… time to engage in some big positive marketing and show Britain who it can rely on to start turning it really green!

    • Fr. Peter

      A new EDF brand symbol would be an ‘A Vendre’ sign from esatate agents close to the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers in Southern France. That’s the area where 30,000 litres of a solution containing unprocessed uranium leaked away from the EDF nuclear site.

      ‘Only’ 18,000 litres have reached the rivers and locals have been ordered not to swim or fish in them, drink well water or irrigate their crops with river water… Property is not so expensive there I am told.

    • Grilla Login

      100th comment, WOOHOO!!

        • Xena

          Yes yes, very good!
          Anything to go with that?!

    • Grilla Login

      Yes…

      Does Grilla win one of those cars Dale has parked in his driveway?

    • insider

      Even the staff are brain washed by this corporate crap..
      While working in the belly of the beast at EDF West Burton (never again) the workers were inundated by ‘Green’ text messages…to do something green for the team!
      We had people running about to unplug phone & laptop chargers, gathering paper & plastic cups etc for recycling (all be it recycled in a land fill site) & eating home made food to avoid cooking in the staff mess….

      I truly felt better about everything… thank you EDF ….I bet we saved at lease 0.1kg of CO2..

      That will go a long way to offset the 205Kg of CO2 West Burton 1 & 2 produced per second!

    • Simon Manns

      Has anyone seen EDF’s website recently? I know it’s probably not on many peoples favourites list on here – but I keep an eye on it just to keep track of their nauseating attempts at greenwash.

      Today’s home page is all green fields, blue skies, wind turbines! and how they are “saving tomorrow”. Think I’m gonna puke! And they’re still promoting ECO20/20 as a sustainable energy solution” And get this one – “EDF – Europe’s lowest carbon emitting energy company”. They keep coming & coming! Another letter to the ASA in the post tonight.

      http://www.edfenergy.com/

        • Paul PCAN

          From what i can make out, it is a re-imagining of ‘Economy 7’ combined with advice to cut energy use by 20%.

            • TR

              yeh.. which coincidentally shares it’s name with the year constantly given as the target year for the cuts in CO2 emissions… that appears on TV with “Its not that easy being green” playing in the background and it just happens to appear on the Green & Eco section of EdF’s tariffs

              All this without any real evidence as to it’s green credentials …Though you do seem to get Energy Efficiency advise with it (which you can get anyway if you just ask… from all suppliers)

              They may be sneaky at EdF, but they’re certainly know how to market 🙂

    • Simon Manns

      Some heartening news (for once!).

      Coal fires up India farmers against power plants.

      Rajni Ramakan Patil’s message to energy companies that want to build coal power stations on the land that she and her family have farmed for more than 50 years:
      “Even if you give us gold, we won’t leave this place. This is our land,” she said.

      http://www.france24.com/en/20090802-coal-fires-india-farmers-against-power-plants

      I wonder why this is only really being reported by French media! It’s probably because they can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want a shiny new coal power station!!

    • Xena

      Hey
      Can anyone help me with this? Is saw this data on the Ecotricity website
      http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/about/live-grid-carbon-intensity
      what does carbon intensity mean? And why is the percentage generated by renewables so varied – was 1.2% or something like that when I looked last night and now it’s 3.3%
      If someone could help me out with explaining the info a bit further that would be great!!!!

        • Simba

          Hi Xena,

          glad to see you’ve found the page! it’s still ‘under construction’ really which is why there’s no explanation yet. but it will happen soon and hopefully make things clearer.

          Damon’s response below pretty much covers your question on variability and carbon intensity;
          the page is designed to show the peaks and troughs of energy consumption across the UK. The idea being if you can use energy outside of the red times (peak national consumption) less CO2 is emitted for every unit you use.

          A full explanation of the page could get a bit lengthy for this blog but rest assured it’s coming!

          hope that helps,

          Sam

            • Dave

              Sam, you said “The idea being if you can use energy outside of the red times (peak national consumption) less CO2 is emitted for every unit you use.”

              Whilst an interesting and laudable idea, this is not necessarily true for reasons given on the link I posted. Go there and see what you think…

                • Simba

                  Hi Dave,

                  Read the article by the good professor, I can see what he’s saying but i think he generalises the situation a little too much (obv some simplification is needed), as Damon says below certain generators just aren’t used at night which has to make a difference to how much CO2 is emitted and when. There’s also the bigger picture, of ultimately removing all peaks and troughs from the UK Grid, through things like changes in habit, changes in technology and smart metering. Our page, and ones like it, are just the start of a huge shift away from the excesses of our energy needs,
                  Also his last two points are debateable:
                  a) people being inconvenienced and using more energy at night = the couple of lightbulbs he refers to is not comparible to something like a dishwasher/tumbledryer (it is white appliances that really make the difference)
                  b) people taking the “carbon saved” and “spending” it elswhere – this is going to be an issue with everything under the sun until attitudes change, not symptomatic of one approach.

                  He’s right to question it and there needs to be a careful approach to how we tell people they can use the information, but i don’t think it’s useless/pointless. At the least, an important first step (hopefully much more).

        • Xena

          Hey guys
          Thanks for replying 🙂
          I may be a little slow but I still don’t quite understand why more carbon per kWh is emitted at certain times per day…
          This is complicated!!!

            • Damon Hart-Davis

              It *is* complicated and people such as Prof MacKay think that it’s mainly an artifact of the fact that there’s nearly constant amounts of baseload nuclear power with zero emissions, whereas the amount of fossil fuels (and their CO2 emissions) that needs to be burnt to support higher demand during the day pushes up the CO2 intensity during the day. In other words he thinks it’s an illusion because pushing your washing load to the middle of the night may simply cause some fossil fuels to be burnt then instead of during the day. However, I don’t think that that’s really the case for a number of reasons that we can discuss. We definitely need more discussion and analysis.

              The headline intensity figure is because different fuels produce different amounts of CO2 to get a kWh of electricity to run a washload in your home. Nuclear, wind and normal hydroelectricity is zero, a modern natural-gas generator is relatively low, and coal (such as at Drax for example) is high (up to ~1kg of CO2 for every kWh you use).

              Rgds

              Damon

                • Xena

                  Hey Damon
                  Thanks for that… 🙂 the second paragraph makes perfect sense!

                  (however I swear the first paragraph is in Greek!)

                    • Xena

                      Also I’ve been on there a couple of times this morning and the light has changed from Red to Amber and back again but the latest data time has showed as 08.25 all day so far! How can this be?

                      Sorry if my comments make me sound like a dumbass but I’m really getting into this green stuff but organising it into nice neat piles in my brain is pretty tough ;o)

                    • Damon Hart-Davis

                      Hi,

                      The code behind the page holds the most recent 24h-worth of data that it was able to obtain.

                      I hope Dale and Paul will excuse me showing you my more geeky version of this system for educational purposes only:

                      http://www.earth.org.uk/_gridCarbonIntensityGB.html

                      (Paul, feel free to zap this entire post.)

                      See the bar chart midway down the page? That’s 24h of data which is a reasonably good predictor of green/yellow/red for the following 24h, though the pattern of usage is different enough between weekdays and weekends as to make that harder. I have on my to-do list to base predictions on 7 days’ data, as well as using a slightly more reliable data source. Those changes may then be reflected on the Ecotricity page once they’ve done a better job of making it human-readable than I ever could!

                      See here for a whole week’s worth of consumption on one graph:

                      http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Data/Realtime/Demand/Demand8.htm

                      Rgds

                      Damon

                • Damon Hart-Davis

                  The take-home message from the first para is that there is not currently universal agreement on how to interpret the numbers. I think they have value as they are though the reasons are not quite straightforward.

                  Rgds

                  Damon

                    • Xena

                      Hey Damon
                      That link is pretty cool
                      So by encouraging people to use appliances during the green times, it means that less fossil fuels will be burned as there will be more renewable available… I think I understand… feel free to correct me if I don’t, lol
                      I can understand why there isn’t a universal agreement on interpreting figures like this

                    • Dave

                      (Xena said) “So by encouraging people to use appliances during the green times, it means that less fossil fuels will be burned as there will be more renewable available”

                      Errr… not necessarily. Let’s say I look at one of these websites and it says the grid is presently ‘green’ (low carbon). “Great!”, I think, “I can turn some stuff on and I will have no carbon guilt!!”

                      However, the way I see it, there is only a carbon benefit if at the exact time I turn all my stuff on, my extra demand is met by either a controllable low carbon source being turned up (to meet my extra demand), or a controllable load (eg pumped storage that is in ‘pumping’ mode) being turned down/off.

                      I don’t want to believe this, but unless someone gives me a seriously robust counter-argument I have to side slightly with MacKay on this.

                    • Damon Hart-Davis

                      Dave,

                      I’m not going to try to browbeat you, and I have no formal ‘renewable expert’ certificate to tell you that you should trust me(!), but consider one aspect that I find interesting…

                      During peak times a significant chunk of our electricity (~1GW) is supplied from pumped storage. The losses of getting energy into storage and out again are ~20%–25%.

                      If you moved *your* usage from peak times to ‘green’ times and when storage is not being used then you would save your usage doing a round-trip though storage and thus in effect 20%+ of the energy you use. If any of that energy going into storage was coming from fossil sources then you have reduced carbon emissions. Note that on my version of the page I make the relationship between ‘green’ and ‘no storage draw-down’ a little stronger, so my dishwasher only gets run during what I call these ‘super-green’ times.

                      There are other points too, but that and the fact that ultimately this kind of demand control will allow more wind into the grid are quite compelling it seems to me.

                      Does that work for you? B^>

                      Rgds

                      Damon

                    • Dave

                      Damon, I agree that we need demand control – very much so (although I don’t think this will in the future be ‘manual’ – i.e. through people checking a website and turning things on and off -, it will need to be centrally controlled or through some kind of distributed control system). I also think that some shifting of current peak demand to periods of low usage is a good thing. However I guess I’m just complaining at the way sites like this advertise what they do. They imply that things are simpler than they are. It’s not quite greenwashing but it is perhaps close.

                    • Damon Hart-Davis

                      Hi Dave,

                      I think it’s more like “finding the way” than “greenwashing”; certainly in my case (and separately Ecotricity’s) there is nothing to ‘wash’ and no PR subterfuge!

                      I also agree that it’ll need to be automated. There is stuff built into even the current system to load shift automatically for suitably aware devices with an Internet connection. Eg my dishwasher at home and my UK-based (and other) Web servers which avoid all non-essential activities outside non-‘green’ time. It actually works now for some of the devices that I have control over. if you want I can show you how to do the same for your stuff! I’m hoping to push this a little further when I catch up with stuff already on my to-do list… Watch this space!

                      Rgds

                      Damon

    • Damon Hart-Davis

      Hi Xena,

      1) Carbon-intensity is how much carbon is emitted for each kWh (unit) of electricity you use at a given time of day. The point of this graph is that it’s quite variable for a number of reasons.

      2) The renewables number is basically wind power, which is highly variable (‘intermittent’), maybe as much as 10:1 or more from max to min over a week or so, which represents one of the main problems in integrating it into the Grid. In fact on this page Ecotricity has multiplied up the amount that Elexon (aka National Grid) knows about to allow for all the wind power embedded in local grids and that never gets anywhere near the high-voltage backbone. Solar is tiny, but in any case National grid would no nothing about it, eg the whole 4kWp on my roof is invisible to them!

      Rgds

      Damon

    • Damon Hart-Davis

      Sorry, not “graph”, I mean “page”. I have a version with a graph in it! Bv<

      Rgds

      Damon

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello everyone,

      While I have been away the subject seems to have changed!

      Can anyone tell me if pumped storage (PS) electricity is counted as zero carbon, given that it was in all probability brown electricity that put the water halfway up a mountain in the first place?

      If I – as an Ecotricity customer – use electricity at a time of day when PS is on line, does that part of my usage count towards the proportion of the fuel mix that is green or brown? Overall I know this is likely to be a small fraction of my total usage but if storage technologies take off as is envisaged with the advent of a smart grid it could become a significant factor in the supposed greening of our electricity supply.

      Is there such a thing as khaki electricity?

      Best regards,

      Jonny.

        • Paul PCAN

          Since a pumped storage system is just a big battery.
          Any battery is only as green as the source that charged it up.

        • Damon Hart-Davis

          The way I do the calcs I ignore PS entirely as it makes the grid browner when it absorbs energy (unless the grid is totally zero-carbon while it’s being filled) and reduces demand for other generation when it’s being emptied. Seems simpler all round!

          As with other sorts of battery, getting energy in and out of PS loses some, over 20% typically, so avoiding using storage would be more efficient and thus more ‘green’ in a couple of ways.

          So, where possible, I only run my dishwasher at ‘super-green’ times, ie green on the traffic-light AND no PS being used…

          Rgds

          Damon

    • Jean Vidler

      Hiya Dale
      Do you remember me from last Millennium when you introduced “Windphones” at Glastonbury festival? Well I’m following this greenwash with interest and will certainly help expose it in any possible way. What an outrage that the advertising standards people did nothing!

        • Paul

          Some reasons why your allegation won’t fly:

          1. The car isn’t for sale as a commercial product to the public.
          2. It isn’t being advertised.

          I’m surprised that someone running a commercial business doesn’t understand what an advert is.
          How green is you online radio station? It Seems to promote increasing computer use.
          If you are going to target people for not being green, i suggest you target the real culprits. You typify the thoughtless activism that targets Vestas for prolonged and pointless protesting rather than EDF, BP, Shell etc.

            • Jean

              Thanks Paul but your remarks are misdirected. I was responding to the orgiginal Dale Vince posting about the green flag adopted (stolen) by EDF not some car. Just to let you know that I support the Vestas workers, but also campaign againt Shell etc etc.
              You are also mistaken about our company: Our radio station is powered by photovoltaic panels. We promote the use of small scale renewable energies at fairs and festivals and have been pioneering this for a considerable time. So please don’t tell me I “typify” something or other
              You “typify “the rude and thoughtless comments that people make on computer forums. However I am prepared to overlook that because I would like this discussion to be a fruitful one.

                • Xena

                  Well said Jean!
                  Paul… it’s a good idea to read a comment thoroughly and understand what it’s saying before you start banging on about an “allegation” that didn’t even exist!

                    • Paul

                      Jean refered to ‘windphones’, anyone that has followed ZeroCarbonista would have noticed that Dale refers to the car as a Wind powered Car.

                      If I made an incorrect assumption, it was due to Jeans initial comment not be accurate enough. eg. I did read the comment thoroughly.

                    • TR

                      Paul.. I still don’t get your assumption

                      Maybe you thought this was posted on a windcar related blog (though that wouldn’t explain the apparent hostility towards Jean and her seemingly innocuous comment)

                      I may of course be wrong, but I gather she was just making a simple comment about EdF’s greenwash campaign and that fact that ASA haven’t done anything but send a generic letter to anybody who’s made a comment about it to them.

                      There’s no real allegation there that’s aimed at anyone other than ASA and EdF. Unless ‘windphones’ secretly refers to something unsavoury 😛
                      Running the risk of sounding niave, I have to admit I just though it referred to something along the lines of wind-powered-phones.

    • Jean Vidler

      Thanks, I had not realised the discussion was so much wider than the EDF greenwash. I Stumbled upon this blog!
      Perhaps I should have posted my personal memories of Dale Vince elsewhere here. But to clarify, I first met him in the early nineties when mobile phones were few and mostly owned by city types. He brought a bunch of mobiles to Glastonbury Festival Green Futures field. He also brought a beautiful Whisper wind generator to power them and had queues of people all festival. I liked that a lot.

        • Xena

          It’s a pretty cool idea :o)

          also, while we’re on the subject, I agree with TR – I also knew you were talking about wind powered phones, and the EdF campaign

        • paul

          I am a little stumped by the other Paul’s comment too… but don’t worry – I think he is more confused than the rest of us!

          Anyway – Jean – I think I was there too – 1995 wasn’t it? I was in the Technotribe area faffing with a laptop and mobile phone/data card…

          We may have even met (my recollections of that period are a little hazy!).

            • (other) Paul

              I think wires have been crossed here in many ways.
              Apologies if i have misunderstood the original comment by Jean.

                • paul

                  Heya – no worries – thanks for clarifying other Paul 🙂

                  You can call yourself Paul if you like – I don’t have a monopoly on the name (and I didn’t make a trademark application 😉 )

    • Jean Vidler

      I think the first Windphones appeared in 1992 and we had them again in 1993 and 1994. In 1994 we took Dale’s Whisper onwards to the first Big Green Gathering at Watchfield where we had a bad accident with it. There was no proper tower for it and it was rigged with rope and scaffolding. Fell over onto Mik Fielding’s caravan breaking a blade and bursting the caravan roof. Health ‘n’Safety in those days was a bit lacking!
      We held a couple of Jumble Sales and raided my savings to buy the damaged turbine from Dale. Danny, Rinky Dink, took it home to repair. Dale never came back to do Windphones unsurprisingly but technology was moving on.
      Techno Tribe was also bringing a whole range of new thinking about low impact shelter design and pioneered the renewably powered laptop and …brain machines!

        • Jean Vidler

          I think I had better add that the incident with the Whisper was no fault of Dale’s, He kindly lent it but did not attend the event. The person responsible for rigging it was the person who had his caravan smashed!

        • Jeffrey Lam

          I think Dale might have one or two more damaged turbine blades available to buy if you’re interested…

          Only joking 🙂

    • Micah

      This is a great post.. Very informative… I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your every post that’s why I think I’d come here more often. Keep it up! By the way, you can also drop by my blogs. They’re about Vegetable Gardening and Composting. I’m sure you’d find my blogs helpful too.

    • Nigel Clark

      This is the first time I have looked at your site and it will be the last. In a world that needs international co-operation to deal with the problems we all face, your petty-nationalist jibes at EDF are just plane stupid. Have a go at them for being wasteful, damaging the planet, etc. but leave out the anti French bollox, and silly green Union Flag. Nationalism will get us nowhere.