Thrive Renewables was established as the ‘Wind Fund’ more than a quarter of a century ago by ethical bank, Triodos, recognising widespread interest in renewables and seeking to foster the growth of what was then a cutting-edge technology.
Since then, we have been working on widening ownership of onshore wind farms, and recently many other clean energy projects, to provide people with a genuine connection. We now have 13 wind farms around the country, all generating clean electricity and helping power the UK to a brighter, fairer, Net Zero future.
The journey, however, has not been easy. Many with vested interests in the ‘status quo’ worked very hard to sow doubt about the effectiveness and business case for these magnificent, powerful machines. In 2015, the government announced an effective moratorium on new onshore projects in England by requiring wind farms to only be built in an area designated in a ‘Local Plan’ – a strategic document drawn up by Local Authorities every ten years or so. Construction of new wind farms stopped in its tracks because these plans take such a long time to update.
In the meantime, wind farms in other parts of the UK have been quietly proving themselves. Both on and offshore they go round and round day and night, now meeting almost a quarter of total UK electricity needs. During the gas price crisis they have been helping to prevent bills skyrocket even more - the electricity they generate is four times cheaper than gas. Because of how government support mechanisms work, many wind farms are actually paying back right now - £157million in Q4 2021 predicted to rise to £390 million this year alone.
So now, as we face unprecedented threats to our energy security, more onshore wind is the obvious answer. The public are supportive, including people who host a turbines in their communities according to the government’s own research, 80% of people support wind power.
Onshore wind turbines are cheaper, cleaner, popular and quick to build compared to all of the alternatives. It’s time to ‘unblock the blockers’ as we said in our 2020 report, and remove the effective ban on local communities who want to choose wind. Let’s get on with building mighty, majestic machines which make electricity from the wind!