Ecotricity – for a brighter future

Member name: Ecotricity

Toitū certification: climate positive (previously net carbonzero)

Years on programme: 10 years

Ecotricity Background

At Ecotricity, our journey towards sustainability and renewable energy is a labour of love, driven by our commitment to a greener, cleaner future for New Zealand and the world.

Founded in 2013 by Al Yates (CEO) and his brother Mark Yates (Director), Ecotricity was born out of a shared concern for the environment and a desire to provide a genuinely sustainable alternative to electricity consumers. We focus exclusively on wind, hydro, and solar energy sources to deliver cleaner, more sustainable electricity.

Right from the beginning, we've worked with Toitū Envirocare to embed their internationally recognised carbon certification standards. Ecotricity initially went through the carbonzero certification process however in 2023 stepped it up to be Toitu climate positive certified both as an organisation and for our product. This covers the electricity we supply to all our customers using the ISO 14067 standard, as well our organisation using the ISO14064 standard.

Our commitment extends beyond the workplace as we actively embrace sustainability in our personal lives, from driving EVs and riding eBikes to composting and recycling. We even strategically locate our offices near transport hubs and offer subsidies to staff for eBikes and EVs.

As part of our certification, and the broader role that we play, we are a leading advocate for the adoption of solar and EVs, as well as how to adopt a low-carbon lifestyle. We strive to be the best in the market from a sustainability, technology, and customer support standpoint.  Our hope is that consumers embracing our genuine sustainable approach will contribute to a brighter future for generations to come and the environment they inhabit.

Our Certification

The Toitū climate positive certification goes beyond neutrality, driving climate leaders to make a positive impact on society. It drives meaningful, science-led actions to decarbonise and provides a framework for businesses to follow.

At Ecotricity, we've embarked on this certification journey to amplify our commitment to sustainability. Having previously obtained Toitū carbonzero certification we have streamlined the process, but it's still no small feat. We meticulously measure cradle-to-grave life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of our hydro, wind, and solar electricity sites, as well as our organisation and supply chain. We then manage and reduce emissions in accordance with scientific standards, ensuring that we compensate for 125% of any remaining emissions. Our dedication to broader social and environmental outcomes remains unwavering.

Certifying our electricity products is a rigorous process, but one that's immensely worthwhile. Some of our certified energy plants have been in existence for several decades, posing unique challenges in obtaining historical data for our measurements. For instance, we delve into details like the materials used in turbine manufacturing and land-use changes surrounding hydro dam construction. Our approach involves a comprehensive assessment of emissions throughout a product's life cycle, from cradle to grave, leaving no stone unturned, even accounting for the eventual decommissioning of the site.

If certain data proves challenging to obtain and its impact on the overall carbon footprint is deemed insignificant, we have the option to exclude it. However, this exclusion requires us to substantiate its minimal impact through estimated calculations. The cumulative total of these excluded elements must remain under 5% of the overall footprint, ensuring our focus remains on the aspects that truly matter. The next phase involves crafting a reduction plan designed to minimise emissions going forward. This plan encompasses operational enhancements and considerations for potential rebuilds or recommissioning. After gathering all necessary information and setting clear reduction targets, Toitū conducts an audit and site visit. If our calculations receive their approval, we proceed to offset 125% of the annual carbon footprint and reinvest a further 75% into community projects. The final step is for Toitū to issue the certification. While we celebrate this achievement, we also remain vigilant and prepared for the next year's audit.

A Future Outlook of Energy

In New Zealand, renewable energy is a cornerstone of our power generation landscape, accounting for around 85% of our total generation. Our country benefits greatly from hydro dams, which contribute significantly to our electricity production. However, during peak demand periods (from 6-9am and 4-9pm), the electricity demand surges, prompting many energy providers to turn to fossil fuels, such as gas and coal, to meet these spikes.

At Ecotricity, we're proud to lead the way with the highest adoption of solar with over 65% of our customers generating their own electricity via roof-top solar installations. The majority our solar customers also utilise batteries with their systems which play a key backup role during peak periods, helping lower the strain on the national grid.

Over the next decade, we predict the installation of 300 – 400 MW of solar annually, equivalent to building the capacity of the Clyde dam every year for the next ten years. By 2030, as New Zealand reaches 100% renewables, we estimate that solar and wind will account for over 40% of all electricity generated, on the back of sustained growth as our economy becomes fully electrified.

Technology will also play a key role in supporting renewables by efficiently managing our energy consumption. Virtual power plants (VPPs), which are networks of energy producing or storage devices, and flexibility services enable us to adjust demand for connected devices, such as home batteries, hot water cylinders and EV batteries during supply constraints. VPPs can also inject power from batteries back into the grid for enhanced stability. Fun fact: A typical EV holds the equivalent energy of three days' consumption for a typical Kiwi home!

Whilst there’s a lot of complexity within the energy industry, we firmly believe the future is bright for renewable energy. With an unwavering commitment to decarbonisation and underpinning our electricity products with Toitu’s climate positive certification, we're confident we’re shaping a brighter, greener future.

Contact us to start your climate positive journey