A pioneering new wind farm is nearing completion near Coed-Ely in south Wales. Originally announced earlier this year, the single turbine farm is the first in the UK to have been crowdfunded, with each contributor taking a share in its ownership.
Named ‘Graig Fatha’, it is the brainchild of clean energy supplier Ripple Energy, who have partnered with green energy provider Octopus, to manage the wind farm and ensure all the customer owners involved enjoy the benefits of clean energy and cheaper energy bills.
Over £2m was raised by 907 UK citizens, with these customers buying up about £2,200 in shares on average. This, alongside a £1.1m grant by the Welsh government and a £1.8m loan from the Development Bank of Wales, was enough to give the project the go-ahead and construction officially began in August this year.
The turbine is expected to be finished by late November and be operational in early 2022.
How the 907 contributors will benefit
According to the BBC, while ‘not directly powering the homes of those who funded it, the turbine generates energy that is sold to Co-operative Energy, which is owned by Octopus, which subsequently supplies the owners with discounted electricity’.
The amount of discount per consumer is also subject to how much energy Graig Fatha produces, the costs of energy at the time and the size of each contributor’s share in the farm. However, Ripple has estimated that on average those involved will see savings of around 25% on their energy bills across the turbine’s 25-year lifespan.
Ripple also revealed that for many of the crowdfunders, the decision to invest was because of concerns about climate change and that Graig Fatha offered a unique opportunity to try and make a difference.
Potentially the first of many more crowdfunded green projects
Following this successful green project, the Welsh government has started further discussions with Ripple about what other consumer-owned models could be used for further generation of renewable energy in the UK. In addition, Ripple has now opened crowdfunding opportunities for a second customer-owned wind farm it has in the pipeline.
With the current energy crisis continuing to push up prices meaning that even the best energy deals available from the best energy suppliers can’t beat the price cap – so much so that online energy comparison can’t save you any money right now – any positive consumer stories like this are a real breath of fresh air. With Ripple’s initial success with Graig Fatha, hopefully more projects like this will soon start to be rolled out – especially as the UK government continues to push for new green initiatives to help reach our Net Zero goals.