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Interview: Sarah Merrick, founder of Ripple Energy

Sarah Merrick, founder of Ripple Energy, the UK’s first large-scale consumer wind farm tells Environment Journal how this energy model can reduce costs and help us to deal with the ongoing energy crisis.

How does Ripple work for consumers?

Ripple is a clean energy ownership platform. This means the public can part-own a piece of a large scale wind farm and they can use this energy to supply their home with clean energy. 

It’s greener than standard green tariffs because the public source the energy to power their homes directly from wind farms and contribute to the development of new wind farms at the same time.

Does joining Ripple save consumers money?

Wind power is currently the UK’s lowest-cost source of electricity.

With Ripple, the more of the wind farm people choose to own, the more green electricity they receive, the greater their CO2 savings and the lower their electricity bills.

Ripple’s wind farms will generate electricity at a low and stable operating cost for its 25-year lifetime. The difference between this and the volatile market price for electricity is passed on Ripple customers as a saving on their monthly electricity bill for every unit of the wind farm they own.

This lowers and stabilises your electricity bill for the long term. You can choose how much of the wind farm you want to own; the minimum is just £25.

How could this model help to address current energy issues?

The energy crisis has highlighted the importance not only of renewable energy but in allowing customers to take more control over the type of energy they consume.

Wind is the world’s lowest CO2 source of electricity and it is playing an increasingly important role in greening the grid as we accelerate towards a clean energy transition – and in the UK we are blessed with this fantastic resource being one of the windiest countries in the world.

There are lots of small-scale community energy projects, how does Ripple differ?

We bring like-minded individuals together to supply their homes with clean energy and reduce their carbon footprint, no matter where they live. The larger the project, the lower the cost for customers.

Other renewable energy solutions like rooftop solar can be expensive, inaccessible if you don’t own your own roof, and not as portable. Ripple is up to 65% cheaper than the cost of installing rooftop solar and if you move home, your share of the wind farm moves with you.

When is Ripple set to launch? What else needs to be done to enable the launch?

We have just completed construction of the UK’s first-ever consumer-owned wind farm in South Wales, and it will be powering almost 1,000 homes across the UK by February 2021.

Reservations for Ripple’s next wind farm are now open. People can reserve their place, then take up their reservation when membership opens to all in early 2022. Almost 3,000 people have already reserved their place.

This second, much larger-scale wind farm will also have a wider pool of supply partners, increasing choice for Ripple customers. We are also looking at expanding to other markets across the globe, and are part of an offshore wind consortium to bring this type of cooperative ownership to offshore wind in a world-first over the next few years.

As the UK and other countries are moving towards a vision of a world powered by renewables, at Ripple we are continuing the progress to make that happen.

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