Those living in close proximity to onshore wind farms could see subsequent lower energy bills. This is according to the UK government who recently told the BBC that this scheme would be similar to a model currently being rolled out by Octopus Energy in parts of Yorkshire and South Wales.
The government is said to want to expand this concept across the rest of the country, however, this would ‘only apply to new developments’. The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is also believed to be in favour ‘of loosening regulations to make it easier to approve plans for more onshore wind’, because current ruling means there are strict limitations on where onshore farms can be built in England.
More information on this is expected to be revealed in the government’s upcoming ‘energy supply strategy’, but in the face of April’s 54% energy price hike with Ofgem’s new price cap, many will be hoping these cost cutting measures will come to fruition.
In addition to Mr Kwarteng’s backing, it’s understood that Michael Gove – who heads up planning in England - is also ‘supportive’ of the idea. However, there are rumours that other cabinet ministers ‘strongly oppose the plans’.
Some Octopus Energy customers can get 50% off electricity bills
According to reports, Octopus Energy’s new ‘Fan Club’ tariff will see customers near wind turbines in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire and Caerphilly, South Wales getting a 20 percent discount on their electricity simply for being close to the farms. However, during windy periods of high renewable energy production, Octopus claims the discount could be as high as 50 percent.
This green imitative comes shortly after Octopus Energy’s other positive announcements. The first being that its existing customers on its standard variable tariff will pay £50 below the new price cap from April 2. The other, is that it is to double its ‘Octo Assist’ financial hardship fund from £2.5m to £5m, to give more support to its struggling members.
An opportunity to grow the UK’s green energy sector
While the government is said to be ‘very interested’ in using this model, it also sees the long-term benefits of providing more incentives to build onshore wind farms closer to the local areas of UK homes.
This was backed up by a government source who said: “Ministers would want to ensure communities are able to directly benefit from hosting renewable energy infrastructure. There are a range of different options under discussion”.
More ways to cut costs ahead of April’s price hikes
The timeframe of this new scheme is still to be determined, so households looking to make more immediate savings will need to pursue other options.
Unfortunately, it’s still the case that there aren’t any cheaper deals out there beyond the price cap, even from the best energy deals currently on offer from the UK’s best energy suppliers. As a result, the advice remains to avoid running an energy comparison and to stick with your provider’s standard variable tariff.
Instead, you may wish to use some of these tips for lowering your energy consumption that we’ve previously explained to help save on your bills.
If you’re really struggling you should also contact your supplier to discuss a new repayment plan, and if you’ve yet to do so, see if you qualify for the £150 council tax rebate you can get in April.
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Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.