Just Stop Oil Donor Received £110 Million in Green Subsidies from Taxpayer



Alternative energy companies run by Just Stop Oil and Labour Party paymaster Dale Vince have collected taxpayer subsidies of around £110 million over the last 20 years. Vince’s company Ecotricity claims it is a “not for dividend” company with its money – “all of it” – going into our mission “to green-up Britain”. But every labourer is worthy of his hire. In Vince’s case, over £43 million (pre-tax) from the company in the form of salary, share buybacks, loans and receipts from the sale of a subsidiary. Some of these payments, it seems, are more tax efficient than paying dividends.

These financial details, and a comprehensive debunking of many of the wild environmental claims Vince has been airing in public media of late, are contained in a recent substack article written by the investigative Net Zero writer David Turver. Over the last 10 years, Vince has given the Labour Party about £1.5 million. Recently the Labour Party said it would ban all new oil and gas drilling, causing widespread concern among its dwindling working class supporters. Vince has also given many hundreds of thousands of pounds to the disruptive Just Stop Oil protesters, whose loutish tactics have led to costly delays on British roads and irritation at major sporting events. Recently, Vince justified his financial largesse by telling the Guardian that “I do want to influence policy doing the things that I do”.

Turver takes a different view on Just Stop Oil, noting that it is “trying to bully us into accepting their worldview without having to bother with minor inconveniences like the ballot box”.

Certainly Vince has a political interest in keeping the renewable subsidy gravy train rolling. Despite constant claims that green energy is getting cheaper by the day, British electricity buyers are forced to pay £12 billion in subsidy every year for renewable energy that provides barely 5% of total U.K. energy consumption. In Vince’s case, Turver asks if it could be possible that he is dependent upon a never-ending stream of subsidies from hard-pressed bill payers to keep his empire afloat? 

There are a number of ways wind and solar suppliers can collect subsidies for producing energy. Investigative journalist Ben Pile has calculated that Ecotricity has collected £89 million from the Renewables Obligations Certificate scheme since 2002, with £53 million of that since 2014-15. In addition, Turver found another £9 million of subsidies within subsidiary companies. Ecotricity has also declared over £16 million in “other income” for administering feed-in tariff schemes, another form of subsidy for electricity production. 

Dale Vince has been every busy of late pushing his green dream and the prospects of Ecotricity on a number of radio and TV channels. Turver suggests a possible economic explanation for all this activity. Despite all the subsidies and the high prices it charges its customers, money seems a little tight. A new holding company has benefited from a loan from Vince, but at the end of April 2022 it had £70.8 million in cash. However, £29 million of this was restricted by banking covenants. Set against this, notes Turver, there is over £182m of debt due within one year, including money repaid to Vince. There is also £44.2 million of eco-bonds outstanding. With interest rates currently rising, Vince would have been “trying to burnish his green credentials to persuade investors to keep his bonds”.

The company has been stress testing various scenarios, and details are given below.

Due to its “strong green credentials”, Ecotricity can raise prices, while asset sales and alternative sources of funding are possibilities. Happily, the company can forecast that in all individual scenarios, it has enough cash to meet its commitments.

As noted, Vince is a regular media presence but not all recent interviews have been of the “why are you so very virtuous and wonderful?” kind. Last month he met his match on Ian Collins’s Talk TV lunchtime show when he faced Ben Pile. The amused, self-satisfied, old hippy persona rapidly fell away under Pile’s relentless demolition of his eco-claims, to be replaced by scowls, insults and frequent interruptions.

During the interview, Vince made a number of ludicrous claims including the statements that the UN’s IPCC says global temperatures will rise by 3°C within five years, and four million people have died from climate change over the last 30 years. The first statement is flat out wrong, and there is no evidence for the second. Indeed, total deaths from natural disasters continue to fall according to all reliable statistical evidence. He also claimed that if we switched from fossil fuels to renewable energy, “we can bring bills down to the lowest place they have ever been” and eradicate fuel poverty. Turver looks at this claim in more detail and made the obvious point that since Ecotricity offers “100% green electricity” we might expect it to offer the cheapest energy to customers.

Alas, a comparison with Octopus, another supplier burnishing its green credentials, along with Eon Next and British Gas shows that Ecotricity has “by far” the most expensive unit rates for electricity and gas. And if times get tough, as we have seen from the company’s stress testing, its “strong green credentials” can jack the prices up even higher.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.

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July 9, 2023 2:27 am

Once again, there is no question to charlatans like Vince such as – “precisely how does CO2 pollute the planet?” – his their answers cam then be addressed by “science” and people can go away and judge for themselves The questions start way ahead of this starting point, and thereby gives some cod credence to his cod “science”. If you want to see him and his ilk squirm and get angry, please please please can this and similar questions be put as a prerequisite for their minutes of oxygenated publicity paid for by…….the viewers, directly or indirectly.

It doesnot add up
July 9, 2023 2:33 am

Small technicality: ROCs and FiT payments get recharged to bill payers rather than tax payers. That means they are much more regressive, hitting the poor who pay little tax other than VAT and duty on alcohol and fuel.

There are questions to be asked about his funding for JSO enabling them to disrupt traffic and events, on occasion blocking ambulances with patients with life threatening conditions. More questions still as to why arrested protesters are seeing their court cases deferred to 2025 with the connivance of the court system. Justice delayed is not justice. Particularly when he isn’t even in the frame for funding a form of terrorism.

July 9, 2023 2:37 am

Dale quotes the IPCC as if it is gospel. I wonder a) has he read the latest IPCC report – all of it? and b) has he read the Clintel critique of it? Could he then discuss these in a serious way without “overtalking” and being abusive?

Reply to  Herrnwingert
July 9, 2023 10:15 am

Most will only read the Summary For Policymakers political screed.The actual data is above their head and does not support their narrative.

July 9, 2023 3:22 am

“Vince is a regular media presence”

He was mocked roundly on BBC Question Time a few days ago, claiming the government has no green commitments. Ha, as if. But the most worrying aspect is the relationship between Vince and Starmer’s new-new Labour.

““Just Stop Oil” Backer Dale Vince Manages to Convince Keir Starmer to Ban New Oil and Gas with Compelling £1.5 Million Pound Donation

Keir Starmer’s willingness to align his party’s position with Vince’s vision demonstrates the influence that financial contributions can wield in shaping political agendas. “

Eon Next has started advertising 100% renewable electricity on TV etc. It’s a blatant lie. Needless to say, the Advertising Standards Authority will let it go; after all the campaign ticks all the narrative compliance boxes.

If Starmer wins the next election as everybody seems to think, Vince will have a lot of influence – replacing the Johnson placeman, Zac Goldsmith.

Reply to  strativarius
July 9, 2023 11:47 am

When you think about the facts:

  1. Vinces Ecotricity has had 110Mn of Govt (taxpayer) subsidies over the last 20 years and continues to do so
  2. Vince is piling hundreds of thousands into the Just Stop Oil protests
  3. Vince recently gave £1.5Mn to the Labour Party just before they announced no more oil & gas development licences under a future Labour Govt

Vince is directly benefitting from continued green subsidies and green propaganda whilst also funding protests against his (fossil fuel) competitors

Some years ago, these types of self serving, anti ethical business behaviours would have been investigated and stamped out

July 9, 2023 3:23 am

Cogito, ergo sum … Dale Vince is a wolf in sheep´s clothing, the UN and IPPC is a panel of the 1000 best sciencetist in the world, come on … The IPCC resúme for politicians is based on consensus, nothing else.

Rod Evans
July 9, 2023 3:44 am

This Dale Vince character is so typical of the green evangelists out there. His defence against any challenging question is the ‘IPCC says’ Well the IPCC does not say what he claims it does. Further, why would anyone be persuaded by someone who simply trots out advice from some quasi government authority unit? Either the facts speak for themselves or they don’t.
There is no evidence that 4 million people have died from climate change in the past decades as he claims. Equally his claim for a world price for gas setting the price domestically, is also completely misinforming the reality. There certainly is, an international price for gas, but domestic supply is controlled by national decision makers. That is why the USA enjoys energy prices less than half those in the EU.
If you want to fill your car with fuel in any middle eastern country for example, it is a fraction of the cost compared with what we in the West pay. Clearly, the international market for oil and its international price, is not driving the cost of fuel in Iran or Saudi or Iraq for example.
If Dale has this cheap energy from his green production available, then why is he not supplying it at a discounted price? No doubt he would need to hold onto a sensible profit margin to attract future investors, but from the numbers quoted above, it looks like Dale has the same misplaced ideas about economics, as he does about the energy market…

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 9, 2023 5:00 am

There is no single international price for gas. Unlike oil, where arguably Brent related pricing applies across a large swathe of the world (at one time about 75% of all internationally traded crude oil was priced off Brent, and a much higher proportion of oil (~42% as crude) than gas (31% of which 18% by pipe, 13% as LNG) is internationally traded). There are an assortment of regional pricing bases, some as origins, and some as major markets. JKM (Japan/Korea Market), TTF (Continental Europe), NBP (UK), Henry Hub, Alberta, etc..

July 9, 2023 4:12 am

If you want less of something, stop funding it.

July 9, 2023 4:21 am

As with all green gospel singers like Vince, follow their money
Vince does very nicely from green subsidies and incomes, as does King Charles, John Kerry, etc, etc, all the usual suspects – it’s no surprise why they relentlessly bang the doomsday gong, even though their own lifestyles defy the new green religion and their preachings
I cannot fathom why ordinary, hard working, reasonable people still go along with the whole charade, like rabbits in the headlamps
I do my bit and try to educate anyone who will listen to the real science, the science not founded on bias money streams, the science uncorrupted by self serving consensus
All the alarmists have, is fear mongering and bullying – some are making billions from it, others are just simply useful fools

Reply to  Energywise
July 9, 2023 10:19 am

I too often find it hopeless
“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Ben Vorlich
July 9, 2023 4:24 am

It seems to me that people like Ben Pile will always be on the backfoot for three reasons

  1. They are too polite and let the other person talk their point out
  2. They are quiet speakers, possibly one reason for 1. above
  3. The show host is at least partially on the side of the greens

We need someone on the side of the realists who is rude with a very loud voice

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 9, 2023 6:33 am

I think they should be given chess clock controls on their microphones. Say your piece without interruption, and press the lever when you’re done. When the flag falls, you cannot talk further. The moderator starts the clock as soon as each framing question is complete.

Having said that, I though Ben could have been better prepared by having some real facts to toss into the debate, such as what we are really paying for renewables.

July 9, 2023 5:50 am

Thorium Power, baby! Just do it!

July 9, 2023 6:06 am

Off topic, story tip.

There’s a giant Sahara dust cloud headed for the States. link

Given the giant dust cloud plus all the forest fire smoke, the planet is receiving less sunlight. Is that going to be a big enough effect to affect this year’s average temperature?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  commieBob
July 9, 2023 7:06 am

Not if Scientists at the University of Maine have anything to do with it

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 9, 2023 7:48 am

A 1C rise over 44 years. It might be pleasant in a few centuries.

July 9, 2023 6:23 am

Ecotricity, we love them here in the Cotswolds.
Not only are they the largest employer in Stroud and able to fund the local football team of a Nailsworth suburb to league level… they also build all the windfarms here in the Cotswolds.

Why do we like that?

Because there are no windfarms here in the Cotswolds.

Reply to  MCourtney
July 9, 2023 6:50 am

According to Dave Turvers very accurate analysis of Ecotricity, they have the most expensive unit rates


July 9, 2023 6:29 am

Dale Vince is a rent-seeking champagne crusty who will calmly ooze terms like “demand management” because he knows the interviewers are too lazy, too stupid, or too scared to tell him to call rationing “rationing”.

July 9, 2023 6:50 am

Has anyone seen Eon’s latest energy advert? Pure scaremongering, but nothing from Ofcom!

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  bobpjones
July 9, 2023 7:04 am

Advertising Standards Agency have a complaints procedure. It takes time though, that said they have stopped some adverts from Shell and a couple of others

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 9, 2023 12:20 pm

I wonder if they’ll wait until the advert has run its course before censuring?

John the Econ
July 9, 2023 7:25 am

You mean this green stuff is all a racket? I’m shocked. Shocked, I say!

Right-Handed Shark
July 9, 2023 8:00 am

Vince is a despicable, lying charlatan. Pond scum has more respectability.

Pat from Kerbob
July 9, 2023 9:06 am

I would also point out that recently the head of the Bank of England warned britons that their standard of living is falling and will continue to fall.

Every claim by renewables advocates is a lie

July 9, 2023 11:09 am

Yesterday our bus into Cambridge was delayed by a gaggle of Just Stop Oil protesters slow-walking on the Maid’s Causeway. All the protesters wore high-vis yellow vests made of PVC. The irony is that polyvinyl chloride is made from ethylene, a petroleum derivative. The protesters seemed ignorant of the fact that their jackets were born in oil and gas wells. I guess they thought the plastic was made from unicorn ear wax or something similarly virtuous.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  dmcintyre
July 10, 2023 6:32 am

I drove into Cambridge the day before that to drop someone at the station. A complete nightmare of 20 mph speed limits, lights stuck on red for several minutes at a time, and trying to work out which roads were permitted and therefore the route through. Meanwhile cycles (many electrified) and scooters family ignored speed limits and lights, weaving through the traffic for their own amusement.

I first knew the city In the days when the Pye workers cycled to work adding to the student population. The cyclists were much better behaved, and the traffic worked much better. The council are evidently working hard in sympathy with JSO.

July 9, 2023 3:24 pm

Who would have thought that Just Stop Oil is just another Mining company. Subsidy mining that is.

Philip CM
July 10, 2023 12:19 am

To me, I just see this as criminal. Taxpayers, ratepayers, all, should demand their money back and encourage their elected legislators to pass law(s) prohibiting such schemes of government funded activism.

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