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Blog Post 15 June 2022

What are the benefits of community owned wind power?

Communities across the UK are joining a movement that not only helps reduce the country’s carbon emissions, but also has the potential to lower energy bills for those involved: community owned wind power.

With more people taking an interest in these projects, we run through the basics in this blog.

What is a community owned wind power?

Community owned wind power is a wind turbine or wind farm that’s locally owned by individuals or groups in a community – from farmers and investors to businesses, schools and utility companies.

These groups come together to use wind energy to support and reduce energy costs in the local community. Members take a direct and often significant financial stake in the project, which means they reap the benefits of the electricity produced by the wind turbines.

As of 2021, community owned wind projects across the UK generated a total of 113 megawatts of electricity.

What are the benefits of community energy projects?

Community energy has huge potential to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. With rising energy bills, it also has the potential to reduce energy costs for those who have a stake in the project, as the savings from generating your own electricity are passed on to local communities.

There are a range of other benefits too.

Community energy projects can boost the local economy by creating jobs and attracting investment; they can inspire communities to tackle other local issues, such as improving transport connections; and the income they generate could be used to fund more local projects that benefit the community.

Case study: Ripple Energy

One company that’s been making headlines after opening the UK’s first consumer-owned wind farm is Ripple Energy.* Based on a new model that allows energy consumers to own a wind turbine, in which anyone in Great Britain can own a share, the company’s Graig Fatha wind farm in Wales launched in 2020.

The project is owned by over 900 members and was supported by a grant of over £1 million from the Welsh Government. The wind farm came online earlier this year and has been supplying its owners with renewable electricity since March 2022.

According to Ripple Energy, in March the Graig Fatha wind farm generated 342,535kWh or electricity, saved its members £16,185 on their energy bills, and saved over 72,600kg of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The company is set to bring more consumer owned wind farms online, with the Kirk Hill project in south west Scotland now under construction. The project, which is slated to start up in November 2023, has the potential to power over 20,000 households and businesses in the local area with renewable electricity, saving 12,750 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

How to get involved in a community energy project

If you’ve been inspired to get involved in a community energy project, Energy Saving Trust can help. We have advice on setting up groups, feasibility studies, financing projects and more. Check out our advice page to get started.

You can find more information about community energy projects in different nations around the UK from these organisations:

*Energy Saving Trust does not endorse Ripple Energy, nor have we validated any of their figures.

Last updated: 15 June 2022