Utility and NGO make cheap renewable energy available nationwide
Energy utility Innogy Plc and Greenpeace have launched a scheme providing renewable energy to all UK users at no additional cost.
Through its retail arm, npower, Innogy Plc. will enable all UK electricity users to choose to receive their bills under a new renewable brand called Juice, which will feed one unit of renewable energy to the national grid for every unit of electricity used by the customer. Npower says that theirs’ is the first consumer energy product to be sanctioned by Greenpeace, which is also selling Juice through its website, and won’t cost more than npower’s existing tariff.
“It is just as competitive as any other npower pricing scheme and some new customers may actually even save money, depending on where they live,” company spokesperson, Geraldine Dunne, told edie, adding that to qualify for the scheme, customers must first switch to npower if it is not already their provider.
The £60 million North Hoyle Wind Farm, which Innogy is developing four miles off the coast of North Wales, will eventually supply all Juice customers when it begins operating in 2003, but until then other renewables facilities will be used. These include onshore wind farms and a hydropower plant in Snowdonia. The North Hoyle farm will provide about 60-90 megawatts of energy with its 30 turbines, saving about 180,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, npower said.
The company hopes that Juice will add about 50,000 customers – North Hoyle’s total production capacity – to the tiny UK contingent of green electricity customers, numbering 18,000 currently since tariffs were introduced in 1999 to help meet the government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This number compares to about 400,000 in the Netherlands, which has one quarter of the UK’s population.
“Wind power alone could contribute up to four times the power produced in this country,” Dunne said. “We are very proud to be the first to get out there and engage people in the clean energy debate and to make it easy for them to get involved. Although many understand the importance of clean power, until now many don’t know how to get involved and we intend to change this.” Dunne told edie that a publicity campaign was being devised for Juice and that if the scheme achieved more subscribers than it could supply units of electricity, then it would lobby for a second wind farm.
Schemes such as Juice, and the Government’s new working group to help small, environmentally friendly electricity generators overcome development obstacles (see related story), will benefit Labour’s aim to generate 10% of UK electricity supplies from renewable sources by 2010. The current share of the market is only 2.8%. However, the Government’s New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) system for trading wholesale electricity (see related story) has been criticised by wind producers for imposing penalties on suppliers unable to accurately predict what they will produce.
“North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm is good news for Wales and good news for Britain,” commented Matthew Thomas, npower’s Juice project leader. “And Juice, which will flow from the wind farm within two to three years, now paves the way for a significant shift towards clean energy. Our pioneering environmentally conscious customers will be driving demand for more renewable electricity and investing in the future environment at no extra cost to themselves.”
“Juice offers hope by giving individuals a simple and effective way of doing their bit to fight climate change through their electricity bill,” said Matthew Spencer, head of Greenpeace’s climate campaign. “Now you can get climate friendly electricity, and send a clear signal to the government that you want to see the UK renewable energy industry grow.”
To register for Juice, customers anywhere in the UK can telephone the Juice hotline on 0800 316 2610 or apply through either npower or Greenpeace’s websites.
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