As we watch events unfold at COP28, many of us are feeling disillusioned by our leaders’ lack of ambition and urgency in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to net zero.
Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to advance their own decarbonisation efforts, and secure greater energy independence — which is why innovative new green energy models, like Ripple Energy’s, can offer huge appeal.
Ripple Energy is working to transform the energy landscape by offering its customers the opportunity to buy their very own share of new wind farms and solar parks, stabilising their bills for the long term and supporting their net zero goals.
“I set up Ripple to enable everyone to own a tiny bit of a wind farm,” explains Sarah Merrick, Founder and CEO of Ripple Energy, in our Sustainable Solutions Towards Net Zero programme. “I worked out how much of a wind farm or a turbine you’d need to own — and it was about a credit card slice of a turbine. That would generate enough electricity for a household for 25 years.”
As businesses struggle to cope with the triple impact of Brexit, COVID and our cost of living crisis, soaring energy bills are becoming a major issue. This novel concept of green energy ownership frees companies from the stresses of fluctuating electricity prices, and importantly, allows them to be a part of the solution.
Sarah’s unique, shared ownership approach has already proven successful in other parts of the UK.
“We’ve got one wind farm already generating, which was our pilot project to prove the concept. That’s Graig Fatha in South Wales, and is owned by 900 people.”
They also have Kirk Hill, which is owned by 5,500 people and a number of businesses. Earlier in the year Ripple Energy also launched Derril Water, a solar park that’s owned by nearly 9,000 people and will start generating in late summer, 2024.
Then there’s a 30 million pound site nestled on the hills between Ayr and Stranraer, comprising of eight turbines, with three already completed. It’s hoping to be operational by early 2024.
“When you get the right weather you can put them up in a few days,” explains Project Manager Jamie Adam. “It’s the prep work that takes a little while, but once all the consents and things are in, you can build a wind site really quickly. That’s one of the reasons why onshore wind is now the cheapest form of electricity in the UK,” he says.
“We also have our platform, which offers an easy way to buy, and then see how your asset is performing. Customers can see their savings on the dashboard,” says Jamie. “But we also bring the expertise to develop and project manage, and then operationally manage these sites once they’re up and running.”
With Ripple’s app, customers can track and monitor their energy usage, but also learn about the impact their wind farm is having on supporting other homes and businesses across the UK.
More and more businesses are buying into the Ripple journey, as owners of wind farms and the power they generate. At the Kirk Hill site, one business, Bruntwood SciTech, has bought nearly £10 million of the wind farm, while many other companies, including a garden centre, have bought smaller parts of it.
“You can buy as much as you want,” explains Sarah. “Not many companies use enough electricity to justify a whole wind farm so, just like a house, they can buy a tiny little slice. Then, if you’ve got more consumption, you can buy a much bigger slice.”
“It’s really important that businesses can have their own source of a low cost, stable priced, green power, because that’s what can protect them from these escalating prices we’ve seen over the last couple of years.”
Bruntwood SciTech decided to partner with Ripple in 2022, to take forward their clean energy requirements.
“We’re a very purpose-driven organisation and have various commitments around being net zero,” says Bev Taylor, Bruntwood’s Director of ESG Strategy, “but even for economic resilience, the idea that you can start to insulate yourself against future price rises, and the uncertainties that we’re seeing in the energy markets at the moment… it’s a no-brainer for people to start looking at these more innovative models.”
Head to the programme page of Sustainable Solutions Towards Net Zero to learn more, and explore other business innovations for creating a sustainable future.