UK's largest consumer-owned wind farm powering up in Scotland this month

The UK's largest consumer-owned wind farm is powering up in Scotland this month.

Kirk Hill Wind Farm in South Ayrshire - part owned by more than 5,600 people and small firms - will have the potential to power around 20,000 households and businesses.

The eight-turbine site, being pioneered by Ripple Energy, was funded via the £13.2m raised by members of the public and small businesses to build it in 2022.

Not only will the owners be able to power their homes with up to 100% green energy, contributing to efforts to tackle climate change, but they are also expected to save thousands of pounds on their electricity bills over the site's lifespan.

Sarah Merrick, chief executive and founder of Ripple Energy, told Sky News: "We enable thousands of people to come together and collectively own large wind farms and solar farms.

"So instead of having to have rooftop solar on your home, you could get your power through that by the grid."

Ms Merrick spent 17 years in the renewable energy sector before founding Ripple in 2017.

In less than 10 minutes, Kirk Hill Wind Farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power a home for a year, and will save 29,667 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Ms Merrick said those who invest in wind turbines will help to reduce carbon emissions in the fight against climate change and are part of a "real solution".

She added: "If you own a bit of a wind turbine, you can see it, you can touch it.

"You know you're having a real genuine impact on climate change - not just this year, but for the next 25 or 30 years."

Over its lifetime, almost £3m of funds generated through the sale of green energy from the site will be awarded to local organisations, the Dailly Community Development Trust and the North Carrick Community Benefit Company.

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Shirley Paterson, from Glenrothes in Fife, is a co-owner of Kirk Hill Wind Farm.

She said: "For more than a decade I have been on my own personal net zero journey, firstly having solar panels installed on my home in 2011 and then my family all making the switch to electric cars between 2014-2016.

"Ripple Energy was a huge opportunity to negate my carbon footprint further and I couldn't be more proud as one of the 5,600 people who brought this wind farm to life.

"Together, we've achieved what one person alone could not.

"Of course, the savings on my electricity bills will be welcome. But it's the tangible climate action that matters most, and with more projects like Kirk Hill and opportunities for people to take control of their energy, we can make a real difference for the future."

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Ripple Energy is currently offering members of the public and businesses the chance to be part of its next wind farm project, Whitelaw Brae in the Scottish Borders.

The cost of buying a share of the site starts at £25.

The 14-turbine site near Tweedsmuir will be the biggest consumer-owned renewable energy project the UK has ever seen and will take just three minutes to power an average home with clean electricity for an entire year.