As part of Britain’s plans to go carbon neutral by 2050, energy suppliers up and down the country are looking for innovative ways they can provide customers with clean, zero-carbon electricity. One company leading the charge is Ripple Energy, who recently announced plans to offer customers the chance to own a share of a wind turbine.
The turbine will be the first customer-owned wind farm in Britain and the company is aiming to sign up 2,000 households to crowdfund its construction. In order to build the turbine at Graig Fatha Farm near Coedely, the company needs to raise £4.3 million.
Once built, Ripple’s supplier partner Co-op Energy (powered by Octopus Energy), will then provide clean, zero-carbon electricity to each customer’s home via the grid. Each customer will have three tariffs to choose from and the savings from the wind farm will be applied directly to each customer’s energy bills.
At present, more Brits than ever before are interested in powering their homes with cleaner, greener energy. This is clearly displayed by the fact that almost 5,000 households have already registered their interest in the wind farm, which is double the number that can be supplied by the project.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to swap to a green energy tariff, then we recommend running an online energy comparison to see which providers operate in your area. Not only could you then receive greener energy, but you may also save hundreds of pounds a year in the process.
Investment could lead to savings of up to 26 per cent
The upfront cost for a typical household investing in the scheme will be around £1,900. However, for any potential investors looking for a smaller stake, other investment options are also available. The cheapest of these is £250, which is enough to supply 12.5 per cent of a typical home’s electricity each year.
Ripple hopes that the turbine will start generating electricity in 2021. At this point, each household involved will be supplied with electricity generated at the wind farm. The wind farm will be operational for 25 years and just one swoosh of the turbine’s blades could power a home for 8 hours.
Ripple estimates that, in an average year, customers can reduce their electricity bills by up to 26 per cent. However, if wholesale prices rise following the coronavirus pandemic, then these savings could be reduced. Each household will also save 740kg of CO2 per year by using energy generated by the wind farm.
How the investment scheme works
- You’ll need to decide how much of the wind farm you want to own and then make a one-off payment for that share of the wind farm’s construction costs.
- Then, you’ll need to choose one of Co-op Energy’s tariffs. If you’re already supplied by Octopus, Co-op, Affect Energy, M&S Energy or London Power, there’s no need to switch.
- Once all the shares in the co-op have been purchased, the wind farm can be built. It will then be entirely owned by the customers.
- Once operational, the cost of running the wind farm effectively becomes the cost of the customer’s electricity bill. Although each customer will still need to pay grid charges and taxes like any other customer, the cost of running the wind farm is currently lower than the market price for electricity, so a saving is created.
Crowdfunding may be the future of green energy; particularly as the move to a zero-carbon world opens up completely new ways of doing things. However, investments such as this one always carry a risk. As a result, if you’re thinking of investing then you should carefully read the customer agreement and information pack to make sure you fully understand your investment.