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Al Gore’s investment firm to pump $600m into UK energy provider

Which looks set to absorb over half a million customers from a collapsed rival


Pete Carvill

Sustainable investment firm Generation Investment Management has announced that it is to invest up to $600m into Octopus Energy Group, a move that will see the group’s valuation increase to $4.6bn.

London-headquartered Octopus is riding a wave of good news this week as it is poised to absorb over half a million Avro Energy customers after that firm collapsed a few days ago.

It will not be plain sailing, though. According to The Independent, “There is currently a difference of more than £500 between how much Octopus would be allowed to charge under the UK’s annual price cap, which rises to £1,277 from October, and the near £1,800 cost of buying energy for new customers at present wholesale prices, according to analysis by the Financial Times.”

Unprecedented energy transition

The deal between Octopus and GIM is being called by both sides a ‘major strategic partnership’. “Managing over £3b of renewable generation,” a release said, “Octopus is one of the UK’s leading electricity generators, creating enough green energy to power about 1.5 million homes.”

Tom Hodges, partner in the long-term equity strategy at GIM, said: “Octopus Energy has an extraordinarily good fit with Generation’s mission of investing over the long term to support system and climate-positive companies. The world is at the early stages of an unprecedented energy transition which is essential to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. This can be done in a way that is better for the environment and consumers. Octopus and its software platform Kraken are at the forefront of innovation and helping to create the dynamic and flexible renewable energy system needed. Generation is pleased to partner with Octopus Energy to help build that future.”

Away from the UK’s energy crisis, the most-interesting aspect of the story is that the chairman and co-founder of GIM is former US vice-president Al Gore, who spearheaded much of the current climate change conversation with the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The news comes the same week that Greg Jackson, founder and chief executive of Octopus, revealed to The Times his plans for the company. However, none of these seem to involve renaming it so it does not sound like an organisation out to kill James Bond.