Ecotricity launches new ‘Ecobond’ amidst acquisition of Good Energy shares

UK green energy supplier Ecotricity has continued to expand its influence in the renewable energy sector with the launch of its fourth "Ecobond", alongside news that it has acquired significant stakes in rival renewable energy supplier Good Energy.

Ecotricity has continued to provide UK consumers with incentives to join the green energy revolution and invest in UK-wide renewable energy projects without needing to commit to their own renewable energy solutions with the launch of its latest green bond scheme.

This latest bond – Ecobond four – will offer investors a return of 5.0% per year if they are Ecotricity customers and 4.5% per year for everyone else. The new bond return is a 1% decrease from Ecobond three – which combined with Ecobond two and the original mini-bond raised almost £38m.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “When we launched Ecobond one, it was a pretty radical idea, with a simple ambition: to give people the opportunity to share in the financial benefits of the Green Energy revolution. With Ecobonds one, two and three, we’ve raised almost £38m – which has been a massive boost to our work.

“We’ve made great progress over the last twelve months: we’re supplying Green Energy to over 190,000 customers, we’ve finished four new wind parks, and we’ve just got approval to build our first Green Gas mill, the first of its kind in Britain. And now, to continue our momentum, we’re launching Ecobond four – which will give customers and the wider public the chance to share the benefits of the next phase of our work.”

Ecobond four will offer a five-year initial maturity term and is open to UK-based individuals, companies, trusts, charities and other legal entities which are required to offer a minimum £500 investment.

Ecotricity previously issued Ecobond one in 2010 and Ecobond two in 2011. These first two bonds both raised £10 million each for various green energy projects and were oversubscribed. Ecobond three has raised just under £18 million since its announcement last October.

Of the projects that Ecotricity has overseen, the most innovative are arguable the “hybrid” wind parks. Earlier this year, the company gained planning permission to create some of the first hybrid energy parks in Britain, by combining current wind farms with two new “sun parks” in Devon and Leicestershire respectively.

Green market growth

The renewable energy supplier continued its efforts to remain a dominant figure in the UK renewable energy market, reaching across green bonds to assert its influence in the sector.

The company has agreed a deal to purchase 3.1 million additional shares in renewable energy supplier Good Energy, increasing its stake in the company from 5.58% to 24.85%.

This sudden 19.27% acquisition will bring Ecotricity closer initiating a potential takeover bid. At the time of purchase, overall investment by Ecotricity into Good Energy is worth approximately £8.5m.

Ecotricity is no stranger to the investment market, having previously acquired the home rooftop solar business of troubled US company SunEdison. Vince described the acquisition as an “exciting and important step” for the company.

Alex Baldwin

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