Octopus Energy is looking to lower bills by adding capacity to around a tenth of the UK’s onshore wind turbines through a repowering programme thanks to a new partnership with turbine manufacturer EWT.
Around 1,000 older wind turbines – out of the UK’s approximately 9,000 onshore wind turbines – have been identified by the companies, and will now be upgraded to more powerful, tech-enabled ones.
The new EQT turbines will range from 250 kW - 1 MW, with work set to begin this Autumn and run till 2030.
“By working with Octopus to rapidly repower lots of older turbines in the UK, we’ll help bring online much more renewable capacity,” said Carel Kok, CEO at EWT.
“Our powerful and tech-enabled turbines are the perfect ‘goldilocks’ solution for communities. We’re looking forward to installing many more in the years to come to turn this vision into reality.”
By increasing the green generation capacity of the country’s existing fleet of wind turbines, there is the potential to power hundreds of thousands more homes with cheap, clean energy, helping to drive down energy bills for people, argued Octopus Energy.
In October, the price cap is predicted to hit £3,359 as consumers energy bills surge on the back of record high wholesale gas prices over the past year, in particular driven by the continued volatility in the international markets created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile renewable energy in Britain has hit record low prices, and are predicted to save £7 billion on electricity costs under wholesale prices seen in the current crisis. In the most recent Contracts for Difference auction, the strike price for offshore wind was just £37.35/MWh and for onshore wind it stood at £42.47/MWh.
Octopus Energy and EWT have worked together previously on two of the former's Fan Club turbines in Caerphilly, Wales and Market Weighton, Yorkshire. They are also exploring the potential of some of these re-energised wind turbines being brought onto a Fan Club-style model.
“We need to build enormous amounts of new renewable power, but at the same time it’s a no-brainer to make better use of the UK’s existing onshore wind turbines,” said Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation.
“There’s a huge untapped opportunity to repower wind turbines that communities have already hosted for many years. This means powering even more homes with cheaper, local, green energy, helping to drive down energy bills and provide energy security.”
The repowering programme is staring in the UK, but Octopus Energy are also looking at working together on similar projects in other European countries in the future, it said.
As part of this initial project, it will look at a range of ways of increasing the power generation – from fitting larger turbine blades, to replacing whole wind turbines and large wind farms.