The project will offer recipients the chance to own a share in the Graig Fatha wind farm, near Cardiff, Wales

Wind turbine

Ripple is planning to sign up about 2,000 UK households to crowd fund the £4.3m construction of its first pilot (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Corser)

Ripple Energy has today launched plans for the first UK wind farm to be owned by its consumers.

The London-headquartered start-up’s Graig Fatha wind farm, near Cardiff, Wales, will offer its consumers the chance to own a share in the technology – a clean energy opportunity that has previously only been available to solar panel users.

Ripple claims the project, which is set to go online early in 2021, is aiming to “unleash a new generation of consumers” by creating the “clean energy future they want to see”.

Sarah Merrick, Ripple’s founder and CEO, said: “What could be better than owning a bit of a wind farm to supply your home with renewable, low-cost power.

“People are ready for change. They want to create a better, cleaner future and we can enable them to do it.

“The move to a zero-carbon world opens up completely new ways of doing things. You can’t own a bit of a coal or nuclear power station to supply your home with electricity, but you absolutely can own a bit of a wind farm.

“Huge change is now possible, and people are embracing it.”

 

What will the Ripple Energy wind farm provide for consumers?

The project is yet another indication of how the wind industry in the UK is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, with this latest development adding a different dimension to the portfolio.

The country holds about 35% of the global installed wind capacity and is already home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest sites, with the government viewing the technology as a key component of its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its climate goals.

Ripple’s has partnered with power suppliers Co-op Energy and Octopus Energy to ensure electricity from the planned wind farm reaches its owners’ homes.

The group said about 4,500 participants have expressed an interest in the project.

But Ripple is only planning to sign up about 2,000 UK households to crowdfund the £4.3m ($5.5m) construction of its pilot — a single Vensys 100 2.5-megawatt (MW) turbine.

Ripple Energy
Ripple claims the project – set to go online early next year – is aiming to ‘unleash a new generation of consumers’ by creating the ‘clean energy future they want to see’ (Credit: Flickr/Martin Abegglen)

Once the wind farm comes online, the consumers’ savings from the technology will be applied to their electricity bill. Ripple claims that owning a fraction of a large-scale wind farm could make electricity up to 75% cheaper.

Customers can own part of the wind farm by buying shares in the co-operative that owns Graig Fatha.

Ripple expects the upfront cost for a typical household to be about £1900 ($2,411), estimating this share of the wind farm will generate “enough electricity to meet the needs of a typical household for 25 years”.

Consumers can purchase enough shares to secure 120% of their annual electricity needs, providing them with the opportunity to reduce their power bills by up to 26% a year.

Consumers can also choose to own just £250 ($317) worth of the project — enough to supply 12.5% of a typical home’s annual electricity.

 

What Co-Op Energy and Octopus Energy bring to the project

Ripple said Co-op Energy and Octopus Energy have joined as partners because of their “credentials in community power generation”.

Co-op Community Energy, a joint venture between Co-op Midcounties and Octopus Energy, provides energy to customers from small-scale community generators to enhance local investments in renewables.

Co-op Community Energy’s managing director, Tom Hoines, said his company has been working with Ripple for a number of years, and the group are “thrilled” to continue to support the site at Graig Fatha.

“The partnership with Ripple is a significant milestone in changing the way in which we power the UK, giving more people the opportunity to directly own how their electricity is generated,” he added.

“Making a positive difference is fundamental to our cooperative values and we’re proud that anyone joining Ripple will be helping to decarbonise the planet while supporting local communities, not just at Graig Fatha, but across the country.”