Cost of living: Energy boss on ‘mechanism’ to help consumers

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As households in the UK experience skyrocketing energy prices, the UK is turning towards low carbon sources, to avoid the volatility of the natural gas market. With wind energy playing a critical role in the UK’s Energy Security Strategy, a new company now offers to let Britons lower their bills directly by buying their own wind farm. 

Ripple energy, a new startup, allows households and businesses across the country to own small shares of large-scale wind farms and solar parks, in a cooperative model where the energy generated will be much cheaper than the market price.

According to Sarah Merrick, CEO and founder of Ripple Energy, households who invest in building the wind farm, would receive “the low-cost green electricity that their little bit of the wind farm generates.

“It’s kind of an alternative to rooftop solar, instead of owning entire solar panels on your home, you own bits of large solar parks and wind farms located somewhere else in the country and you get the savings delivered straight to your electricity bill each month.”

Ripple manages the cooperative ownership of the wind farm on behalf of thousands of homeowners who signed up with as little as £25.

Ms Merrick explained that as the energy cost increases in the market, the savings earned by owning a wind farm would keep growing.

She explained: “It’s really flexible, it depends on how much you need, all the way up to 120 percent of your electricity needs each month.

“A typical household that uses 2,900kwh per year, if they wanted their windfarm to generate as much electricity as they use, for our last project that would cost about £1,700, and then that would generate 2900kwh.

“On current levels of savings, they would save around £275 pounds per year, although we’re expecting next year as prices are so high, we’re expecting it to top £1,000.”

With energy bills set to rise as high as £6,000 next year, the savings earned by investing in Ripple’s solar and wind projects could pay for themselves within a few years.

Britons can invest in up to 120 percent of their energy usage, which would save them 30 percent on their bills.

In 2020, the company launched their first wind farm, Graig Fatha in Wales, which had one turbine that was owned by 900 consumers, and one business.

Their upcoming wind farm, is much larger, consisting of 8 turbines in Scotland, and was signed up for by 5,600 households and 18 businesses.

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Ms Merrick added: “It’s a completely new way of doing electricity, it can put consumers in a lot more control of their energy than they previously were.

“Our big mission is to make clean energy ownership affordable and accessible for everyone.

“With Ripple, UK consumers can own these fantastic assets and then benefit from the low-cost green electricity for their lifetime.

“It’s a far more democratic way of doing the energy market, consumers themselves own the generating assets.

“They can take control and make sure that the clean energy future that they want gets delivered.”

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