Ecotricity to build three ‘hybrid’ energy parks

Green energy provider Ecotricity has announced plans to build three new 'hybrid' renewable energy parks, combining wind and solar power generation in the same project.

Hybrid renewable energy parks combine wind and solar power generation using the same grid connection to maximise efficiency and reduce initial costs.

To create the hybrid projects, Ecotricity plans to add a total of 15MW of solar panels to two existing wind parks in Devon and Lincolnshire and to another wind park currently being built in Leicestershire. 

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “Hybrid renewable energy parks are a great idea – the two power sources are complementary and what you get in combination is a more consistent energy supply; it may sound obvious, but when there’s less sun in the winter, there’s typically more wind, and vice versa in the summer months – so putting wind and sun together has a big impact.

“It’s the future of renewable energy in Britain, and we need more of them, but currently the government has rigged the market in favour of fossil fuels. That’s why we’re calling on the Conservatives to level the playing field for energy generation in Britain – to remove the subsidies for fossil fuels just as they have done for wind and solar power.

“Those stealth fossil fuel subsidies add up to £1,000 a year for each household; compare that to just £100 a year for renewable energy, which now provides 25% of Britain’s electricity – that’s £100 well spent and a big part of the reason why we’re so confident that with a level playing field renewable energy would thrive.” 

A report released earlier this week by GoodEnergy claimed that renewable subsidies that are being cut – like the Feed in Tariff and the Renewables Obligation – actually had a negligible effect on consumer bills because  renewable power lowers the wholesale price of electricity in the UK.

Green power

The announcement follows Ecotricity’s launch this week of ecobond three, a funding mechanism that gives households the chance to invest in clean energy without putting solar panels on their roof.

The firm is aiming to raise £25 million to help build six new green energy projects across Britain that are already under construction, including a nine-turbine wind park in Dalby, a windmill to power Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and a sun park in Somerset.

The company is also making preparations to build what would be one of England’s biggest wind parks – up to 22 windmills at Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire, which could power up to 40,000 homes.

Brad Allen

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