Octopus Energy has launched a scheme to encourage landowners to register interest in hosting an onshore wind turbine on their land, after which Octopus would match them up with community interest in order to accelerate the roll out wind power in the UK.
Dubbed ‘Plots for Kilowatts’, the campaign aims to lower energy bills for local communities by building more onshore wind projects, which Octopus said was “the fastest and cheapest way to wean the UK off gas and increase the country’s energy independence”.
Research into attitudes towards onshore wind turbines by Octopus found that 9 out of 10 people (87%) would support a turbine in their community if it meant discounted energy rates.
Octopus launched its local wind tariff – dubbed ‘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’, Octopus said.
It is now creating what it likens to a “dating agency-type platform” designed to connect communities that have registered interest in onshore wind in their communities with landowners who can provide land for local wind turbines.
This will then be used to help identify at least 10 viable sites by the end of summer, Octopus said, adding that potential locations will be put forward to the government to consider as part of its Energy Security Strategy, which has been widely criticised as a missed opportunity and largely neglected onshore wind.
Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, which is responsible for the scheme, said it was “crystal clear” that more renewables were needed in the UK, with wind power set to play 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,” said North-Bond.
The UK’s top 30 landowners own over 1,500,000 acres of land and, according to Octopus, 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,” Octopus said.