Why community wind power is key to net zero

The potential for wind power to provide electricity across the UK is huge - let's look at how it works.

Wind power is incredible, and its ability to generate clean, low cost energy to power homes across the UK will be vital on our journey to net zero.

Unlike solar panels, wind turbines can generate electricity at all hours of the day - but since wind turbines are generally much larger pieces of infrastructure than a residential solar array, they need to be housed on a larger plot of land. Community wind farms could be the answer.


How do wind turbines work?

Wind power is a form of renewable energy, where electricity is generated by converting kinetic energy from wind into mechanical power. A generator then converts this mechanical power into electricity, ready to power our homes and businesses - all from a simple gust of wind.

A wind farm is the name for a group of wind turbines. These tend to be located strategically in places with the ideal wind conditions to create as much energy as possible, with flat, elevated and uninterrupted landscapes the best spots - this is why you may be used to seeing wind farms on rolling hills or coastal cliffs.

Wind turbines are far more sophisticated than their sleek windmill-like exterior suggests. They use a sensor to detect the direction of the strongest wind, allowing them to align their blades to the optimum position. When the wind is too strong and could risk damaging the turbine, a brake comes into force to slow the rotors down.

How does community-owned wind power work?

We're all keen to lower our household bills, as well as our impact on the environment, but solar panels can be a costly investment - and with supply limited to daylight hours, we need additional sources of electricity. 

Neighbourhoods across the UK are joining a new movement to generate their own renewable energy through community-owned wind power. 

Community-owned wind power is where wind turbines are owned by local residents and community groups, from farmers to schools. Everyone within the scheme invests in shares in the project, which means that they're able to enjoy the benefit of the electrcity it produces. 

The benefits don't stop there; community energy projects also help the local economy, by creating jobs and attracting more local investment, as well as increasing awareness of the need for rene 

In 2021, community owned wind projects across the UK generated a total of 113 megawatts of electricity - with 1 megawatt enough to power around 800 homes!

How can I join a community-owned wind power scheme?

Energy Saving Trust is a great source of information on community energy, and how it could work for you and your neighbours.

Ripple is a wind power co-operative that allows people living near a new wind farm site to buy shares in the farm, starting from just £25, and then ‘own’ a portion of the energy supply. This video explains the concept well. You can find out more about how it works, and how much you could save, here. 

Octopus Energy are vocal supporters of greener energy solutions, including wind power. Through their community wind power scheme ‘Plots for Kilowatts’, they’re looking for landowners who are willing to dedicate an area to a wind turbine to earn an additional revenue stream, as well as to provide their local community with up to 50% cheaper energy costs. You can register your interest here

If you’d like to join Octopus’ ‘Fan Club’ to switch your energy to a wind-powered tariff, you can register your interest here.