Green utility firms’ power struggle reignites as Ecotricity seeks to oust Good Energy chairman

January 14, 2022

The war of words between rival green power suppliers Good Energy and Ecotricity has flared up again with Ecotricity trying to sack Good Energy chairman Will Whitehorn from his role as a director.

It has filed a motion seeking Mr Whitehorn’s removal along with a resolution directing Chippenham-headquartered Good Energy’s board not to dispose of the firm’s assets without shareholder approval. 

Good Energy has urged its shareholders to vote against both resolutions when the requisitioned general meeting takes place on 11 February. 
Stroud-based Ecotricity and Good Energy have been locked in a power struggle since 2017 when Ecotricity – founded and still led by hippie-turned-green entrepreneur Dale Vince – made it first approach.
Ecotricity has since failed four times to acquire Good Energy, in which it has a 26.8% stake.
The bitter battle previously threatened to boil over when Mr Vince demanded non-executive director roles on London Stock Exchange-listed Good Energy’s board for himself and another Ecotricity chief.
However, it simmered down after Mr Vince withdrew the demand – only to be reignited when Ecotricity made its latest all-cash approach last summer, which valued Good Energy at £45.3m. 
Ecotricity insisted that by taking over Good Energy, which has around 250,000 domestic and business customers, it would be better able to compete with the high number of new entrants in the increasingly competitive green energy market. 

The attempt floundered when Ecotricity failed to win the support of enough Good Energy shareholders.
At the time Mr Whitehorn was vehement in his rejection of Ecotricity's approach, dismissing it as “highly opportunistic and hostile”. 
He also pointed out that Ecotricity – which he suggested would be an “unfit owner with an unsuitable plan” for Good Energy – continued to make a loss and claimed its business model was out-dated and centralised.
In November Good Energy put all its wind and solar farms up for sale to prepare to switch from being a utility to providing energy and electric vehicles services.
It said it planned to use the proceeds to invest further in its fast-growing Zap-Map electric vehicle (EV) mapping platform and strengthen its balance sheet in the short term while also funding other growth opportunities.
Good Energy’s generation portfolio produces 47.5MW and had a net book value of £56.8m at the end of last June. It powers around 15% of Good Energy’s customer base.
The assets include the 9.2MW Delabole wind farm in Cornwall – the UK’s first commercial wind farm which last year celebrated its 30th anniversary – and Hampole Wind Farm, near Doncaster.
It also has six solar farms with a total installed capacity of 30.1MW. In April Good Energy refinanced and restructured the portfolio as part of efforts to simplify its balance sheet.

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