Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW: Ecotricity founder on why he's stepping down to pursue politics

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said of selling the green energy company he built from scratch: "Sometimes you can achieve more by letting go."

 The CEO is stepping down from the Stroud-based company to pursue politics.

He feels he has taken the firm, which employs 800 people, as far as he can and instead wants to focus on the next election. He said it will be the "most important of our lives" and he wants to help drive policies that will get the UK to net zero.

In an exclusive interview with Punchline Mr Vince said: "Yes, I am looking for a new owner for Ecotricity.

"I have been doing it for 25 years and we were the only ones selling green electricity back then. Now it is a proper mainstream global industry and that means there's a relative lack of impact I can have by spending more time here.

"At the same time, Ecotricity has a pipeline of projects to build which will cost about £2.5billion which is money we don't have.

"So I think I can have more impact somewhere else and Ecotricity can do more with a new owner."

Mr Vince built Ecotricity up from a single wind turbine in Stroud to a company which had a turnover of over £300m this year. He said he would be looking for a new owner who could match his commitment to green energy and had the funds to expand the company.

"Someone with deep pockets who can take our pipeline and projects forward and build them rapidly because that's what our country needs," he said.

"We had a great experience last year with our Electric Highway, our electric car charging network to kick start the green car revolution in Britain.

"But we found it had become mainstream and we didn't have the money needed to keep pace with the investment. We went looking for a buyer with commitment and cash and found someone, a company called Gridserve who have done really well with it.

"That taught me that sometimes you can achieve more by letting go."

Mr Vale said the current energy crisis had strengthened his drive to go into politics.

"It has been badly handled by the government and it's hurting an awful lot of people it's enriching a few people. The big oil companies have made £50billion this winter in profits which the Government refuses to tax and put it back into the hands of energy bill payers and that is a problem.

"It just lends weight to my feeling that politics is the missing piece of the jigsaw for us now.

"We have got renewable energy technology, economics is on our side, people, are on our side and we have the urgent need to get to net zero but we don't have are politicians or policies to get us there.

"That is what I want to pivot into now. Politics needs a nudge."

He has no plans to be a politician by the next election but said it was "the most important of all of our lifetimes. There will be no more important election."

He has previously given money to the Lib Dems, Labour and Green parties and said his priorities were the environment and social justice.

He said: "There's a lot of power currently in the hands of people that are in politics out of self-interest. People that are not honest with themselves or us and are making bad choices and ruining our country and that bothers me."

Leaving behind Ecotricity does not mean leaving behind his other commitments in Gloucestershire.

Mr Vale said he intended to remain as chairman of Forest Green Rovers and would continue plans for the EcoPark development.

"My commitment to football hasn't changed and won't change," he said. "Same with the new EcoPark, the new home for Forest Green and the green tech jobs park that will come with that. "That will be a big thing for the county with £150million of economic benefit annually from that project.

"I want to get Forest Green into the Championship. It is an amazing platform for our sustainability messaging We have been able to change the world of sport through the rescue of our local football club."

He will also continue to expand the work of his other companies, Sky Diamond, which creates eco-friendly jewels and The Devil's Kitchen, his vegan food company for schools.

"We are inundated with enquiries by caters for schools and colleges as well as supermarkets. "We have got some new things coming out in the next few weeks. We just can't keep up actually. Or we can. But just.

"It's very exciting as there is an explosion in plant-based food just like with green energy and cars."

Related Articles

Planning permission granted for new £5.4m health centre in Coleford Image

Planning permission granted for new £5.4m health centre in Coleford

Plans for a new £5.4m health centre development in Coleford have moved a big step forward, with planning permission granted for the scheme.

Driverless vehicles head to Cheltenham for testing Image

Driverless vehicles head to Cheltenham for testing

A teleoperated, on-demand transport service has launched the next phase of its development at AC Lloyd Space Business Centre in Cheltenham.

Sponsors back Gloucester Rugby men and womens teams Image

Sponsors back Gloucester Rugby men and womens teams

BiGDUG and Laithwaites renew contracts with the club and add Gloucester-Hartpury women's team

Cheltenham parking review Image

Cheltenham parking review

Gloucestershire County Council is proposing improvements to parking and traffic management.

Copyright 2022 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.