This is an unlisted company so the shares in Thrive are not as easily traded as shares listed on the stock exchange with a low cost broker such as AJ Bell Youinvest for example. Instead, once purchased, any subsequent share sales are facilitated via a monthly share auction.
Thrive has been going since 1994 and is all about connecting ordinary people and sustainable renewable energy opportunities. They now have around 7,000 investors - individuals, businesses and organisations - and have established 31 projects throughout the UK including solar PV, battery storage, geothermal, hydro and wind. The combined capacity has generated over 2 million MWh of clean electricity over the past 25 years.
Thrive is certified B Corporation from 2020 with a score of 110.8 - the highest scoring renewable energy company in the UK. They currently rank in the top 5% of all global B Corps. Thrive are committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and have already achieved zero with scope 1 & 2 emissions.
The company have recently released results for the full year to December 2022 (link to pdf via Company website).
Turnover increased by 59% to 17.5m which resulted in gross operating profits of £6.7m compared to just £2.5m in 2021.
Clean energy capacity increased by 6MW with a further 25MW under construction. The portfolio generated a total of 133,858 MWh of clean electricity over the year - enough to power 38,000 homes or the equivalent of a town the size of Halifax.
“2022 has been a challenging year for many, with energy bills soaring as a result of the UK’s dependence on gas. Our response is to continue getting new renewable capacity built. This includes community-based projects such as England’s largest onshore wind turbine, as well as funding new rooftop solar arrays that help UK businesses to decarbonise and constructing a 20 MW battery storage project that will offer vital flexibility services to the grid. We've allocated a total of £11.4 million to developing more projects - all of which will help with decarbonising the UK’s electricity system so that people can benefit from cheaper, cleaner power in future.” – Matthew Clayton, Managing Director, Thrive Renewables
Most of Thrive’s income comes from the sale of renewable electricity. The wholesale market has been very volatile in recent years. For the 5 years to April 2021, the average price was £46/MWh but by August 2022 the price had risen to £370/MWh...an 8-fold increase.
Thrive manages its exposure to this volatility by maintaining a variety of long-term power purchase arrangements (PPA) and fixing the price for up to two years in advance. So already in May 2023 the majority of prices have been agreed for the whole of this year and beyond.
Around 37% of current generation benefits from government legacy 20 year support under the Feed in Tariffs and ROCs but more recent and future projects will obtain revenues from a range of power and grid servicing arrangements. These include selling power directly to the market via PPAs, selling power directly to industry via a private direct wire, entering into arrangements for government backed Contracts for Difference and, in the case of battery storage projects, providing grid servicing and balancing to take advantage of periods of high demand.
|Community-Owned Onshore Wind Turbine|
Projects over the year included England’s largest community-owned wind turbine supporting Ambition Community Energy in Bristol and the construction of a 20MW Feeder Rd battery storage site. They also secured government funding of £91m towards a new ground-breaking geothermal energy site in Cornwall. This will involve drilling down 17,000 ft to extract the heat from the granite rocks which should provide heating and hot water for 3,800 homes in the Redruth area.
This was a record-breaking year for wind across the UK and combined with higher energy prices, the board are increasing the annual dividend by 70% from 7p to 12p. This represents a yield of 5.1% on the price of 235p I paid for the shares last September.
Each year we see more and more evidence of the devastating impacts from the climate crisis all around the world. The latest warning from the World Met. Org. confirms something that has been apparent for some time - a probability that we will breach the key 1.5C global limit by 2027! Just last week N. Italy experienced its worst flooding for 100 years with 6 months of rainfall in a single day.
We need to decisively commit to end our reliance on fossil fuels and transition quickly to a more sustainable system based on a range of renewable energy solutions combined with measures to insulate our homes and factories to conserve energy.
|United Downs Geothermal Project|
Obviously an investment in Thrive Renewables will only have a small impact on the climate crisis. But it is rewarding to know that your investment is making a positive difference and helping to build the clean energy projects that will move us towards net zero emissions. The more people that support these sustainable solutions, the quicker we can transition to a less threatening world.
Business as usual and continuing to rely on fossil fuels is no longer an option. Never before has it been so important to accelerate home-grown renewables and reduce our dependence on expensive, climate destroying fossil fuels.
As ever, this article is merely a record of my personal investment decisions and should not be regarded as an endorsement or recommendation - always DYOR!