A clean energy investment fund run by former US Vice President Al Gore purchased a 13 percent stake in British energy company Octopus for £438 million. It means that the supplier is now worth more than British Gas’s owner, Centrica, which is worth £3.28 billion.
The agreement comes after several UK energy suppliers went bankrupt as a result of soaring wholesale prices, rendering price promises to customers unattainable. Octopus intends to use the funds to increase its green energy production. According to Octopus, Mr. Gore’s firm, Generation Investment Management, will make an initial investment of £219 million, followed by a second investment of £219 million by June of next year, subject to certain conditions.
On the Today show, Greg Jackson, the founder and CEO of Octopus, stated that he believed Mr. Gore was looking to invest in the “changes that we need to see in the energy system globally.”
“After all, we wouldn’t be seeing such high energy prices if we had more renewables here in the UK prior to the recent fossil fuel price crisis,” he said.
Recent increases in wholesale gas prices have had a significant impact on the UK energy market, with the country now having around 30 suppliers, down from more than 70 in 2018. Since the beginning of August, seven smaller businesses have gone bankrupt.
Octopus, the UK’s fifth largest energy supplier, announced over the weekend that it had been appointed by the regulator Ofgem to take on 580,000 customers from the failed supplier Arvo Energy.
Gas prices have quadrupled in recent months, but Ofgem has rejected industry claims that the current energy crisis is the result of a failure to adequately regulate the market.
Octopus, which was founded less than six years ago, serves 3.1 million households and has operations in the United States, Japan, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia. It currently generates enough green energy to power approximately 1.5 million homes, and its Kraken technology, which allows customers to access power when it is cheaper and greener, has been licensed to competitors.