Ecotricity has played a significant part in boosting the wind sector in the UK, enabling business and households to opt for renewable electricity without it costing the earth, and helping the UK meet its targets for renewable electricity generation. The company develops and runs wind farms and also acts as an energy supplier, investing all its profits back into developing more renewable energy.
Despite public support both at national level and around existing wind farms, vocal opponents often block planning permission for new wind developments. Ecotricity’s success in getting planning approval is put down to several factors - close consultation with local communities, careful selection of sites away from scenic locations, and installing only single or small groups of turbines.
Ecotricity’s also has a 'Merchant Wind Power' scheme, which attracts businesses that might not otherwise have opted for wind power. Through this scheme, turbines are installed on site to supply electricity directly to the business. For Julius Brinkworth, Energy Manager of Sainsbury's, "We have this fantastic state-of-the-art wind turbine on our site which not only looks great but is providing almost half of the depot's electricity, with no carbon emissions, and at a competitive price."
By early 2011, Ecotricity had 55 MW of wind turbines in operation (avoiding about 75,000 tonnes/year CO2) and a further 170 MW under construction or in planning. And the company is diversifying, building the UK’s first ‘solar PV farm’ and starting to produce biogas too.