New Green Jack New Green Jack

37 responses to “Nobody in their right minds would think EDF is Green or British – according to the ASA”

    • Robin

      unbelievable that the ASA doesn’t link an energy ad featuring a Green Union Jack and the words Green Britain with er… Green. There you go, power talks eh.

    • James

      Come on Dale,

      You knew the dice were loaded from the start ;-)

      And I’m sure you’re more than aware that the bias runs much deeper than simply “but then again they are an advertising industry funded body”.

      Keep up the great work!
      =-)

    • Alistair

      Essentially, the ASA is asserting the right to lie by implication.

      And the quote from EDF is just incredible. But in PR, as opposed to advertising, there’s not even a pretence at a code of conduct.

        • Ecotricity PR ...

          Not all PR’s are created equal … ;0)

    • Justin Noe

      I’ve just discovered than Ecotricity is considering supplying gas!! What on earth?? I really think this is a step in the wrong direction.
      What I love about Ecotricity is it’s a company that strives to reduce CO2 emissions. How on earth is supplying Gas (a non renewable resource) in line with any of the companies policies? Is the colour of money tainting your vision Dale? I’d expect this from a company like EDF but not Ecotricity.
      I will be deeply disappointed if this happens. I appreciate that Gas is fact of life for most homes in the UK but just because there are few real alternatives out there at the moment doesn’t mean that you should give in! I doubt that’s what you set out to prove when you started the company.
      Wouldn’t it be better to fund more windmills by going global with the company?
      Sorry about the rant but I am really shocked that it’s even been discussed.

    • Martin Ashby

      Justin why?

      I am delighted Ecotricity will be supplying gas. We have super insulated our home, got solar hot water and a wood burning stove, but still need to gas at times to cook on, and for heat when its very cold.

      I hate the fact that at present I have to buy my gas from one of the big six who can then spend my money on new coal or nuclear plants. I’d much rather it went to Ecotricity. There are also ways of feeding biogas into the main gas grid – as is already happening in Germany:

      http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/07/biogas-flows-through-germanys-grid-big-time-53075

      We are on a path to a low carbon future we have to get there in steps…

        • Derek

          I wonder if Dale could set up a biogas plant to supply his customers?

          Derek

        • Justin Noe

          I’m afraid to inform you that natural gas is a Fossil fuel! Time and time again we critise the Big six on their use of Fossil fuels and lack of vision. How will this move help people to switch to Renewable power sources?
          The only benefit will be to Ecotricity’s coffers which Dale has repeated several times is not the problem for his company, it is rather NIMBYism. Even if a lack of funds was a real hindrance to building more Windmills where does the moral fiber come from in turning to fossil fuels.
          I’m afraid the only excuse for burning gas is costs, there are alternatives. My home is entirely run on electric: heating, cooking and of course all my appliances. Electric heaters are 100% effecient, they just cost a lot to run which is why I avoid using them until the very coldest snaps.
          This move will move Ecotricity closer to the Big six and Dale’s reputation for being a Renewables pioneer will be tarnished in my view. The company by default will become part of the fossil fuel alliance.
          I rather prefer the idea of a Biogas plant. Biogas created from our waste and farming manure. This at least is sustainable and already goes to waste but I doubt it could supply large numbers of households.
          Please reconsider such a decision.

            • dave

              electric heaters are 100% efficient?? yes… but if you measure the efficiency from the fuel into the power station (which will inevitably be gas) to the electric heater, then they’re a lot LESS efficient than a decent gas boiler. Go figure. You should be using heat pumps (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c21/page_140.shtml)

                • Justin Noe

                  Dave, with all due respect I think your missing the point! Yes, the grid is inefficient and mostly runs on fossil fuels and that is exactly what needs to be addressed. So why turn to a fossil fuel to work around a fossil fuel problem?? This doesn’t make any sense in my mind. Yes, using heat pumps is a much better solution and if I had access to land or was legally allowed to change my building structuraly I would (I live in a city centre flat).
                  Just like a government that says on one hand that it wants to cut greenhouse gases, yet wants more airport runways and coal fired power stations makes no sense then so does an electricity company denouncing fossil fuels, yet supplying them!?!
                  At present Ecotricity is not in the business of supplying electricity from fossil fuels (to my knowledge anyway). It just so happens that electricity is delivered by a grid that is fed into by 6 other major polluters. I can’t run a cable from one of Dale’s turbine’s to my house but I can pay him to increase the percentage of clean power that comes into my home.
                  I cannot understand why you don’t see that this is a backward step? Your asking Ecotricity to revert back to fossil fuel supply. That is not going to reduce fossil fuel demand.
                  What’s more the Big 6 will be able to wave this oxymoron in Ecotricity’s face whenever they need a bit of moral high ground. What is the rebuke then “Ah yes, but it’s so we can invest more into green technology?!” How illogical Mr Spok.

                    • dave

                      Actually, I wasn’t commenting on the ecotricity-gas thing at all (not sure of my view on that – probably side with you). I was merely commenting on your bold assertion that your electric heaters some how are better than gas boilers *at the present moment in time* because they are ’100% efficient’. They are not better, sorry.

                    • Martin Ashby

                      Justin – I appreciate what you are saying but:

                      1) Where would you rather I buy my gas from EDF or Ecotricity?

                      2) I assume you agree that the UK cannot move from obtaining approx 97-98% of its energy needs (current figures), to 100% renewable supplies overnight. If so, we will HAVE to use some fossil fuel during this trasnition phase, surely gas is the best choice, its the cleanest and lowest carbon fossil fuel by far.

                      3) I could only afford to superinsulate my home and get solar hot water, wood burner etc because I am fortunate enough to earn a good salary. A large proportion of the population are not lucky enough to be able to afford all these things, for many gas central heating is the cheapest way to heat their houses. Especially the increasing numbers in fuel poverty, For these people, using electric heaters is too expensive. Where would you rather they bought their gas from?

                      4) What do I say to friends of mine who say ‘I would move to Ecotricty but I’m on a dual fuel deal and Ecotricity don’ do this do they’? All these people are still propping up EDF, Eon and the rest, where would you rather they bought their electricity from?

                      Just I want the government to insulate all houses for free, install solar hot water systems and create a renewable grid – but it isn’t going to happen in one step, being purest about things is great on one hand but we need realistic solutions for the many – for now that means continuing to use a reducing amount of gas.

                    • Martin Ashby

                      sorry point 2) should have said 97-98% non-renewable to 100% renewable

                    • Xena

                      Justin
                      I’m afraid I don’t really understand your argument here.
                      Ecotricity is already using fossil fuels to a certain extent… in order to build more turbines they have to make some money from somewhere, and 100% green energy doesn’t just “appear” – but the amount of fossil fuel used by Ecotricity has gone down a great deal in recent years because of more turbines being built.
                      It’s the same with gas. Customers want and need gas supplied to their homes just as they need electricity. This will increase Ecotricity’s customer base, increase their income, and therefore will generate more revenue which will be used for planning and building turbines.
                      It’s an excellent venture and I’m glad it’s one that Ecotricity have decided to take.
                      My reckoning is that natural gas will increase in price a great deal over the coming years and many people will prefer to switch their homes over to electric cooking, heating, or to other types, heat pumps etc.

                    • Paul

                      Xena…

                      The carbon footprint for the production of wind turbines is tiny compared to the carbon footprint of running a fossil fueled power station, that is why wind turbines and other renewables are important.

                      You work out electricity carbon footprints based on the CO2 produced per kWh, you then get a better picture of what is going on.

                      I don’t believe selling gas would be a good idea for Ecotricity.

    • Damon Hart-Davis

      Martin, I’m with you. And you can be sure that Dale did not take the decision lightly.

      Now, let’s hope that Ecotricity’s offering is not too much more than the Altantic Gas (with standing charge) tariff that we’re currently on. Note that I prefer the standing charge because it doesn’t have the perverse reverse block tariff, and it’s cheaper for us too!

      Rgds

      Damon

    • Grilla Login

      Talking of gas, it is claimed Methane is deemed 25x more potent than CO2 vis-à-vis climate change.

      Is it time for the cows and the pigs to cut back on the vegetarian option on the menu and eat more meat.

      Or should large corks be issued to farmers?

      Millions of domesticated animals floating across our skies could actually help with CC ’cause they could be coated in reflective material and bounce the sun’s rays back into space.

      Is this a plan that would interest Dale and Ecotricity?

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Dale,

      I was as disappointed in our public servants at the ASA as anyone when I received their letter explaining that EDF (a French government owned corporation, let no-one forget, and thereby a de facto instrument of French foreign policy) had not misrepresented their environmental profile or nationality.

      However I am interested to note that you appear to have associated yourself with EDF in your capacity as a judge for the iawards, in the energy and environment section – sponsored by EDF Energy.

      http://www.iawards.org.uk/judging.aspx

      Would you like to comment?

      Best regards,

      Jonny.

    • Jeffrey Lam

      Justin I’m with Martin too.

      We should know that ecotricity have a pricing policy to match the regional supplier on electricity price. However, often that regional supplier gives a discount for dual-fuel, which ecotricity can’t match as it doesn’t supply gas.

      Secondly, we should know that ecotricity’s main tariff doesn’t supply 100% renewable energy, but also nuclear, coal and gas. Why? To spend the profit on what’s important: building new sources of renewable energy! If ecotricity supply electricity from gas in their mix, then it is consistent with their policy to supply gas to customers direct. Heating with gas has a lower impact than heating with electricity produced from gas. If you criticise supplying gas, then you should also criticise supplying electricity from gas… and that will bring us back to the Good Energy/Ecotricity debate…

      Supplying gas in my opinion is consistent with ecotricity’s current policies, which is what makes ecotricity ecotricity…

    • Justin Noe

      Dave – Well I guess this is true, if you take all into consideration burning gas directly for heat is certainly more efficient than generating electricity and then creating heat! I’m sure a future electricity fuel mix will change all this, in the mean time best to heat your home with gas. Eventually I suspect gas prices will shoot through the roof and an alternative will be required.

      Martin – I certainly hear what you say about being realistic. My arguement is certainly a purest one: I look upon Ecotricity as a purest energy supplier and therefore would be breaking it’s fundamental Mantra by supplying gas.
      Of course you need gas to heat your home and it is the only sensible choice for you and millions of others. Unfortuneatly Climate Change doesn’t care about practical problems facing households or which fossil fuel is better than the other.
      I certainly don’t want to sound unsympathetic because your right it would be better for you to hand your money to a reputable company but I hope you can see how this would change Ecotricity’s market position.
      The money you would pay Ecotricity for your gas would partly fund further gas exploration and extraction. Whereas at the moment when you pay Ecotricity for electricity it solely builds more Windmills.
      I suspect eventually we’ll have to give up natural gas entirely as Russian gas fields won’t cope with the demand.
      I certainly don’t want to see anyone suffer as a result of not being able to afford to heat their homes but I don’t believe Ecotricity is the right company to supply the gas.
      I think a Biogas plant is a much better idea as this could move the market towards the change needed.
      I hope this has made my position clearer and doesn’t make me out to be a militant idealist. I’m certainly enjoying having my views challenged.

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Justin,

      (Most of this was written before you posted your most recent comment)

      With all the due respect that is being bandied around, I might as well join the fray.

      At present Ecotricity IS in the business of supplying electricity from fossil fuels. That is the whole point of their business model. We Ecotricity customers understand that change will only come from a greener power supply, so we are contributing to the investment needed. On current figures the fuel mix is still 38.4% from fossil fuel. The difference is that the other suppliers – principally the Big Six – are not making any comparable investment and the likes of Good Energy do not improve the situation.

      I get my gas from Atlantic Gas, at Ecotricity’s recommendation, because they were unable to supply it themselves. During the conversation they appreciated that for many people the lack of a dual fuel option was a serious disincentive to potential customers. I realise that I am fortunate that I can (just) afford to take the hit in my wallet.

      Given that burning gas is inherently less than ideal, Atlantic Gas is the least worst option in my opinion. Of course I would like to be entirely free of any reliance on fossil fuels but that is not practical in the short term. Much more realistic is to embark on a journey towards a greater capacity in the market for everyone to be greener, an opportunity that Ecotricity provides. This will prepare us better for the imminent price rise of gas and all other oil related commodities when the effects of peak oil kick in. For further information go to:

      http://www.lastoilshock.com/.

      I entirely agree with you that if this new venture for Ecotricity can be a means by which they use our payments to develop a biogas business that can feed into the mains, it could be a very neat parallel to what they have done thus far in the electricity generation and supply industry.

      I do not regard Ecotricity as a purist energy supplier – just one that has some ethics and vision, coupled with a sense of practicality.

      Best regards,

      Jonny.

        • Justin Noe

          Jonny – “At present Ecotricity IS in the business of supplying electricity from fossil fuels. ” I fundamentally disagree with this statement. Unless you know something I don’t and you believe that our bills pay towards fossil fuel burning? As I understand it, yes the grid is fed into by companies supplying electricity generated from fossil fuels but Ecotricity supplies wind power into the grid. The money you pay them goes into building more Windmills. Maybe this only makes sense to me and perhaps I’ve got it wrong as few seem to agree!
          If Ecotricity supplied Biogas this would be more in line with their electricity policy and I could get behind this. However supplying natural gas would make Ecotricity no different to dare I say, the other energy suppliers.
          What is the difference between say British Gas supplying you with gas and “green” electricity and the “New” Ecotricity??
          If competing with the Big six is to take the company down a fossil fuel route then might aswell start building powerplants too!! It’s all in a good cause afterall.
          To be honest I’m a lone voice in all this so I suspect you’ll get get what you want. The path to foreign fossil fuel Britain is paved with good intentions, let’s hope we’ll get thousands of new Windmills out of this.

            • Jonny Holt

              Hello Justin,

              I made the statement with which you fundamentally disagree because the relevant Ecotricity web page clearly shows it to be true.

              http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/about/OurFuelMix/

              My understanding of the way it works is as follows. Our bills pay for wind generating capacity to be built – the important endeavour that no other supplier supports to anything like the same extent. Of course customer bills are not the only income stream that Ecotricity relies upon. Other significant income derives from selling wind generated electricity into the market for other providers (including the likes of Good Energy) to sell on to their customers. This is part of the mechanism that allows Ecotricity to have the means to buy brown electricity on the market (without spending the money from us, their customers) which it can then sell on to us, their customers. It is a juggling act but the important thing is that it allows them to steadily increase the UK’s wind generating capacity.

              You might ask, why it is that Ecotricity does not merely sell that wind generated power alone and avoid the brown sector altogether. I imagine this would be impractical at current levels of capacity as it would be very hard to have that wind power available to consumers at the drop of a hat and it would similarly be impractical to retain it exclusively for their future use in periods when there is a surplus. In this imperfect world it is more realistic to compromise a bit, balance the peaks and troughs of supply and demand with brown electricity and use the revenue thereby generated to improve the situation in the future.

              I might have some of this a bit wrong (any Ecotricity insiders are welcome to put me right) but I am sure the principle is sound. I also think it is a bit more enlightened than the simplistic and rather blinkered business philosophy that would seem to underpin a conventionally understood green energy supplier, who is probably not adding any future renewable capacity to the generating side of the business.

              “Be the change ….” and all that.

              Best regards,

              Jonny.

    • Tom Balmer

      Hi,

      I just saw a great ad regarding wind energy, thought you might like it… its under the heading jar.

      cheers

      Tom

    • Justin Noe

      Xena – I’ll try to clarify my position but first may I apologise for ruining this blog as this bears little to the title!

      The first model: Ecoticity supplies green electricity and tops it up with fossil fuel derived electricity (from other suppliers ) in order to increase green electicity is in my humble opinion both ethically and practicaly right. Long sentence I know!

      The second model: Ecotricity supplies fossil fuels to customers in order to increase green electricity is in my humble opinion practicaly what other suppliers do but ethically wrong!

      It fails to address the problem: Fossil Fuel use. Now like I said before I accept that people can’t just give up natural gas overnight and that it is wrong for people to live in fuel poverty. This doesn’t mean Ecotricity should play the Big six game. I understand it wants to compete with them but Dale should not lose sight of what makes his company so ethically different.

      A biogas plant would be a different proposition and fits perfectly with model one. I hope this is clearer and once again I do not want to ruin this blog so I will back down gracefully now!

        • TR

          I basically see Ecotricity’s future gas project in a similar light to the current New Energy tariff for Electricity. The only difference as that rather than the current 40-odd percent renewable on the New Energy tariff (with the hope of increase) the gas’s is currently 0% (with the hope of increase).

    • Vanky

      I think the ethical difference will still be there Justin.

      Big 6 sell gas -> profit goes to shareholders

      Ecotricity sell gas -> profit spend on building wind turbines

      We all agree that somebody has to supply gas for now, so if that’s the case, I’d rather pick option 2 over option 1. I also think that supplying gas will encourage more people to switch to ecotrcity for electricity too.

      Knowing Dale, he won’t want to just do this the ‘normal’ way. I hope there will be future incentives to cut down gas use, and maybe even chuck bio gas into the mix.

        • Xena

          I agree with Vanky on this one. The profit will be surely going towards new renewables or maybe even research on biogas options? Who knows. But I’m sure Dale will let us know all his ideas soon enough.
          But of course Justin, everyone is entitled to an opinion and I’m certainly not going to judge who is right and who is wrong :o)

    • Martin Riches

      Thanks Justin. You initiated an interesting exchange of opinions. I was surprised when I was canvassed about the possibility of Ecotricity supplying gas, and thought it out of character.
      I find it hard to fault the last two comments (Vanky and Xena), however. I will be buying gas for the foreseeable future. Who would I rather buy it from? This world is far from perfect, but Ecotricity is trying to inch it in the right direction, for which I am thankful, and this might just help.

    • Terry Gray

      Thinking of Putting The Advertising Standards Authority up for a Black footprint Award.
      Having started http://www.Find-A-Part.com over 30 years ago and watched many Companies who do not help Recycling jump on the FindAPart Name bandwagon I fully understand Mr Vince’s attitude.
      Do the ASA not understand that his protestations are that any confusion is ultimatly damaging to the world in which we live.
      Their statement that “Nobody in their right minds would think EDF is Green or British” has got to go down in history as one of the most absurd and stupid statements ever made.
      Its The British Flag and its Green you idiots, so of corse people will be confused.
      Its not an anti french thing its a Global warming thing.
      The ASA decision would be laughable if it were not that the ultimate repercussions of their decision will undoutebly be increased CO2 into the already conjested lungs of the planet we all live on.
      Get in the real world along with the rest of us ASA.
      Dale Vince may not be everybodys cup of tea but he mainly talks common sense and should at lease be able to fly the Green Flag to show that he is British and Green.
      I wish him all the best in his endevours to provide not just Britain but hopefull more countries with sustainable power.
      Terry R Gray
      Founder
      Find A Part
      The Green Footprint Network
      Allies 4 Earth
      http://www.GreenFootprintNet.com

    • David hicks

      You Guys
      Its so simple the more money we give Eco Tricity the more wind turbines they can build.
      We have to get our gas from some supplier so Why not make it
      Eco tricity?
      Are you expecting everyone to get rid of there gas cookers and swap to electric.

        • Paul UK

          “Are you expecting everyone to get rid of there gas cookers and swap to electric.”

          Yes!

          What would be wrong with that?
          Buying the electricity would fund wind turbines.

          Why sell gas if you know that its just supporting the fossil fuel system and network?

          Ecotrcity could not sell gas if it weren’t for a massive network that also supplied gas to UK power stations with a carbon footprint of about 500 gCO2/kWh.

          You don’t set standards by compromising and making things easy for people.

          Emissions have to be cut by about 80% to 90% (it could go up to 100% or even into negative figures if we don’t do something drastic soon).

          So basically the vast majority of us are going to have to cut consumption and probably depend on electricity for just about all energy supplies.

            • Xena

              “Are you expecting everyone to get rid of there gas cookers and swap to electric”

              I kind of agree with you both in a way

              It is better to buy your gas from Ecotricity and fund the building of more turbines, but at the same time, I think that rising gas prices will make it necessary for people to do away with their GCH, gas boilers, gas cookers etc, and switch everything over to electricity…. even with the outlay it will eventually be cheaper in the long run.

              I think by making things easier, Ecotricity are going to gain a larger and possibly more loyal customer base, and will be able to set standards in other ways.

    • dale Vince

      Hi All, Slightly too few responses here about EDF for my liking… :)

      But I guess they are yesterdays news anyhow. I hear it’s hard to spot one of their green flagged up vans these days, we have a feeling here that there’s been a quiet retreat by them on this, but let’s see.

      This gas debate has been fascinating. I’d not argue with most of the points made here and although you hijacked the EDF post to do it Justin, I’m glad you did.

      I’m grateful for the confidence expressed in several posts here, that we’ll do the right thing. And for the other expressions of support.

      While I can’t say exactly what we are going to do for a few more days yet, I don’t think anyone posting here will be disappointed. Hoping to announce something a bit exciting within a few more days.

      Will make a dedicated Green Gas post for it too….. :)

      Cheers.

    • Micah B

      Natural Gas has a role as a bridge to cleaner future.
      Switching from standard electric heating (without heat pumps), with present standard electric production mix, to natural gas is carbon emission saving. Switching to compressed natural gas in vehicles is also is carbon saving.

      Part of the transition will be adding of biogas to gas mix. As well as possible of up to 20% hydrogen from low carbon emission sources. This is as valid to support as increasing mix of renewable sources in the electric mix as ecotricity has done.

      Schemes are in place to expand the gas network mainly to reduce fuel poverty but also to bring about carbon emission savings:
      http://www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/cms/444.html

      This makes sense in the hear and now as not every one can move in a ‘zero carbon home’.

      Also of interest:

      The GET The Grand Energy Transition
      http://www.the-get.com/

      http://pickensplan.com/