The North Ayrshire wind-farm takes shape as construction has officially been initiated at the Kirk Hill Wind Farm, located in Kirkoswald, Ayrshire, marking the commencement of the United Kingdom’s most extensive consumer-owned wind farm project. This endeavor, led by Ripple Energy, features eight turbines, with the installation of blades recently completed on four of them. More than 5,600 members, representing households and businesses spanning Scotland, England, and Wales, have a stake in this innovative wind farm, ushering in a new era of community-owned renewable energy.
Upon its expected completion in early 2024, cooperative members are poised to realize significant savings on their energy bills, with an average projected first-year saving of £269 per member. The wind farm boasts a combined capacity of 18.8MW, with the capability to provide power for approximately 20,000 households and businesses. It is noteworthy that Ripple Energy launched the UK’s inaugural consumer-owned wind farm with a single turbine at the Graig Fatha Wind Farm in South Wales, which has been providing its owners with cost-effective electricity since March 2022.
This development is emblematic of a broader trend in Scotland, where community involvement in renewable energy projects is on the rise. Other wind farm initiatives are looking to establish dedicated funds for community enhancements. A recent study by Ripple Energy demonstrated substantial support for renewable energy projects in Scotland, revealing that 67% of Scots voiced their endorsement for renewable projects in their vicinity. Moreover, 58% of respondents expressed a greater likelihood of supporting the development of wind turbines or solar parks if they had the opportunity to possess a share and reduce their utility bills.
Sarah Merrick, the founder and CEO of Ripple Energy, articulated the importance of the Kirk Hill Wind Farm project, stating, “Kirk Hill Wind Farm represents the future of green energy. It is owned by 5,600 proud individuals who will benefit from the clean, cost-effective energy generated by its turbines. From the moment they left the factories and made their journey across the Mediterranean and into the Port of Ayr, our members have been avidly following their journey. There is a palpable sense of historical significance on the west coast of Scotland as construction commences.”
Merrick also highlighted the shift toward consumer-owned renewable energy, emphasizing that individuals can now play a pivotal role in such projects and enjoy the enduring benefits of lower, more predictable electricity bills. This movement toward community-owned renewable energy has already garnered the support of thousands of people across the UK, signaling a promising future for clean and sustainable power.