Sustainable web searchers Ecosia made waves today in consumer-owned British electricity, pumping Euros 250,000 into Ripple Energy, the funding innovators dedicated to boosting small consumers’ co-funding of clean generation assets.
Ripple gathers together businesses & households eager to part-own big wind and solar farms. It also secures for its small investors tariff discounts, offered by chosen partners delivering the farms’ low cost, zero carbon output.
Ripple’s first wind farm, Coedely in south Wales, began generating six months ago. The 900 households who raised £2.2 million to build it are set to receive savings of up to 25% on their bill over the turbines’ 25 year life span.
Ecosia claims to have laid out more than Euros 30 million on renewables schemes worldwide. Its first UK investment today sees it buying a share of Ripple’s third project, yet to be built, for which more than 7,000 people have registered to buy stakes starting at £25.
As Google’s more tax-observant rival, socially-purposed Ecosia boasts it is 200% powered by renewables. Its data centres in 35 countries use only half the energy made by the solar farms the company began funding five years ago, with surplus green power exported to national grids.
Christian Kroll founded Ecosia in Berlin in 2009. In the UK, it has attracted more than 2 million active users, whose web searches have helped fund the planting of over 150 million trees around the world.
In 2018 the tech firm gave away all its shares to social ownership advocates the Purpose Foundation, to assure that it can never be sold. Under that deal, no one, Kroll included, can profit or receive dividends from the company.
Following its cash injection today into Ripple, Ecosia’s UK head invited other socially-conscious companies to repeat its investment. At the same time Sophie Dembinski attacked the Truss government.
For the tech firm Dembinski declared: “We’re delighted to partner with Ripple to demonstrate the benefits that renewables can have as a local, low-cost and green source of energy for consumers and businesses alike.
She went on: “It’s clear that this government is prepared to allow fossil fuel companies line their pockets with profits of historic proportions, while millions of UK citizens fall into an energy crisis and ultimately irreversible climate crisis”.
“In the absence of effective political leadership on energy and climate policy, we urge other like-minded businesses and organisations to join us in being part of the solution. Reach out to us for more information if you’d like to know how to join this effort.”
Ripple’s founder & CEO Sarah Merrick responded: “There’s never been a better time for consumers to own a bit of a renewable energy project – be it a wind farm or solar park.
“It can help protect them from spiralling power prices, as well as shrink their carbon footprint.
“We’re delighted that a global green tech company like Ecosia has recognised the value of what we’re doing. It’s great to have them on board. Ripple can’t wait to work more closely together and bring democratically owned, affordable green energy to even more people.”
Both parties point to the fact that, once assets are operating, renewable wind and solar generation has minimal exposure to international shortages of feedstock such as Putin’s gas.
Even a month before the invasion of Ukraine this February, prices for fossil fuel energy imported into the EU had more than doubled in the twelve months to January this year, they attest, citing EU data.