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Public owned wind farm powers up

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An eight turbine wind farm in Scotland is powering up this month after more than 5,600 members of the public and businesses raised £13.2m in 2022 to build it.

Kirk Hill Wind Farm will supply its’ owners with 100% green energy, supporting climate related ambitions and reducing electricity bills over the site’s lifespan. 

The wind farm is part of Ripple Energy’s innovative approach to renewables, making it possible to own a source of clean energy, by bringing thousands of people together in a co-operative to share ownership and benefits from wind farms and solar parks.

Sarah Merrick, who spent 17 years in the renewable energy sector before founding Ripple in 2017, said:

“Kirk Hill Wind Farm is an example of how we can place real people at the heart of the UK’s energy transition. People want to act on climate change and want to be part of this industry but up until now, it’s been exclusive to utility companies and big businesses.

“So it’s incredible to see Scotland’s first consumer-owned wind farm come to life, knowing the difference it’ll make to its thousands of shareholders and Britain’s journey to net zero.

“We want lots more projects like this across Britain – more wind farms and solar parks owned by consumers. That way, they get the maximum benefit from this amazing transition we’re in.

“There is nothing stopping consumers owning every single new wind farm in the UK. All of our taxes and the grid will still get paid. We need more developers to be making their wind farms and solar parks available for consumer ownership, and then there really is no cap on how big this movement can get.”

Kirk Hill Wind Farm reportedly has the potential to power around 20,000 households and businesses. In less than 10 minutes, it’s calculated to generate enough electricity to power a home for a year, and will save 29,667 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Over its lifetime, nearly £3m of funds generated through the sale of green energy from the site will be awarded to projects looking to enhance the local area, including the Dailly Community Development Trust and the North Carrick Community Benefit Company. 

Shirley Paterson from Glenrothes, Fife, a co-owner of Kirk Hill, said:

“For more than a decade I have been on my own personal net-zero journey, firstly having solar panels installed on my home in 2011 and then my family all making the switch to electric cars between 2014-2016.

“Ripple Energy was a huge opportunity to negate my carbon footprint further and I couldn’t be more proud as one of the 5,600 people who brought this wind farm to life. Together, we’ve achieved what one person alone could not.

“Of course, the savings on my electricity bills will be welcome. But it’s the tangible climate action that matters most, and with more projects like Kirk Hill and opportunities for people to take control of their energy, we can make a real difference for the future.”

Ripple Energy is currently offering members of the public and businesses the chance to be part of their next wind farm project – Whitelaw Brae in the Scottish Borders. The 14 turbine site near Tweedsmuir will be the biggest consumer-owned renewable energy project the UK has ever seen and will take just three minutes to power an average home with clean electricity for an entire year.

The cost of buying a share of the site starts from just £25. More information can be found on www.rippleenergy.com.

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