Ripple Energy has agreed a new fixed price agreement for the Graig Fatha wind turbine in Wales, the first consumer-owned wind farm in the UK.
It says the new, annually negotiated, agreement will next year see a typical co-owner save around £783 on their electricity bill, three times that of the £275 typical saving in 2022, and help offset the impact of the UK’s soaring energy bills.
More than 900 people from across the UK co-own the wind farm, based near Tonyrefail in Rhondda Cynon Taff in the south of Wales, and have been promised money off their bills for the next 25 years.
The newly agreed saving rate will enable Graig Fatha owners to pay back the initial upfront cost of purchasing the wind farm far earlier than expected, says Ripple. They could pay off the upfront cost within four to six years at this rate, rather than 14 years at the initially anticipated prices.
Ripple adds that it it is planning to facilitate more co-operatively owned renewable energy sites, with its second project is under construction in Scotland – owned by over 5,600 people all looking to achieve similar savings at a time when prices are high.
The eight-turbine project in Ayrshire is due to start generating late next year. Ripple will agree the wind farm’s initial saving rate shortly before it starts generating.
More than 13,000 people have reserved their spot in Ripple’s third, yet unnamed, project.
Ripple members receive money off their bills based on how much their share of the wind turbine generates and the wholesale market price of energy. When wholesale energy prices are high, Ripple members’ savings also increase – helping them to reduce their bills at a time when it is needed most. The fixed price agreement determines the price at which the energy from the turbine is sold for. Ripple Energy has agreed to the 12 months price on behalf of its members to ensure that they can be certain of higher savings and lower bills in 2023.
The new price also means more money to the Community Benefit Fund which helps families in fuel crisis, thanks to a share of the turbine which is supported by the Welsh government. Ripple estimates next year the Community Benefit Fund will receive £450,000 to support those in fuel poverty in the region around the wind farm.
Ripple founder and CEO Sarah Merrick said: “We are so pleased that we have secured our Graig Fatha members such substantial bill savings.
“The purpose of Ripple is to give real people across the UK access to renewable energy ownership so that they can benefit direct from its low and stable costs. The huge bill savings our members will see shows owning a bit of a wind farm really does protect people from spiralling energy prices.”
The three-times increased saving rate for the wind farm’s owners will be 27p/kWh, up from 9.63p/kWh in 2022. Higher savings will offset the high electricity prices the members face, giving them much more stable bills.
Ripple ownership is open to all, starting at £25. In principle, membership works the same as owning domestic solar panels, it says: the difference is that the generation people own could be hundreds of miles away rather than on the roof of their house.
It is also around 70% cheaper than installing rooftop solar and can move from house to house, opening energy ownership to those who rent, have roofs unsuitable for solar, or have not found a settled home. Ripple says this offers a “simple, affordable clean energy solution for a much wider range of people”.