The campaign is the next step in Octopus’ mission to lower energy bills for local communities by building more onshore wind projects. It follows the company’s recent research into attitudes towards onshore wind turbines which found that 9 out of 10 people (87%) would support a turbine in their community if it meant discounted energy rates.
Octopus launched its innovative local wind tariff – the Fan Club – in January 2021, offering communities living close to its wind turbines up to 50% discount on their energy rates. Since launching, over 5,000 communities have got in touch asking for their own ‘Fan’.
Dating agency-style platform
The company is creating a ‘dating agency’-type platform, marrying up where communities have registered their interest with where landowners can provide land for local wind turbines, and overlaying this with data on grid availability, wind speeds and environmental impact. This will help identify at least 10 viable sites by the end of summer. These potential locations will be put forward to the Government to consider as part of its recently announced development plans for onshore wind as outlined in its Energy Security Strategy.
The UK’s top 30 landowners own over 1,500,000 acres of land and if just 1% of this land was rented for wind turbines, over 1,500 wind turbines could be built. By being part of this, landowners have the opportunity to secure additional revenue streams through rent or a share of the project’s income, whilst giving back to their local community through discounted bills.
This comes as onshore wind energy costs have more than halved over the last decade. Onshore wind energy is now the fastest and cheapest way to wean the UK off gas and increase the country’s energy independence.
Blown-away by demand
Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, comments: “It’s crystal clear we need more renewables, with wind playing a significant role. Launching ‘Plots for Kilowatts’ will accelerate this so we can build more onshore wind quickly and at scale. Our aim is to create a ‘dating agency’, using a new data-driven approach to match-make willing landowners who have land to develop with communities that want onshore wind.
“We’ve been blown away by the demand we’ve seen for local green energy with cheaper energy rates. We’re now asking UK landowners to join us on our mission to dramatically accelerate people-led green energy. This will help unlock the UK’s significant renewable potential and speed up the transition to net zero and energy independence.”
Greg Hands, minister for energy, clean growth and climate change said: “Now more than ever we need bold plans to scale up and accelerate clean and secure energy, as set out in the Government’s British Energy Security Strategy earlier this month.
“Octopus Energy’s new ‘Plots for Kilowatts’ campaign is an exceptional example of just this. This cooperation between industry and local communities is an important development and could help drive forward new onshore wind projects in local communities that want them, across the country.”