Our wind turbine antics, explained

Octopus Energy turbine sign turbine

At the beginning of this year, two wind turbines joined the Octopus Energy family (the first of many, we hope). You might’ve noticed we’ve been having a lot of fun with them ever since.

A photo of England's Biggest fan before the England Italy Euros Final
A photo of a pink octopus light display projected on our wind turbine
A photo of YouTuber Tom Scott abseiling down our wind turbine
A photo of brave sign writers attaching giant vinyl logos to our Octopus wind turbine

Making our wind turbines weird and wonderful isn’t just for whimsy. It’s part of a far more important mission I’d like to tell you about.

The world’s on the cusp of a true renewable energy revolution. We need everyone to back the green future whole-heartedly.

We want to show everyone that having green generation in your neighbourhood is a genuinely good thing. Not just good for the planet at large, but for your own community: bringing cheaper energy as well as local jobs, education, and countless other benefits you'd never even think of. And since we started our sky high antics, hundreds of people have reached out to us inspired, offering their land for future green generation projects – so our unusual approach seems to be working. Here's a little more about what we've been up to.

In May, we sent intrepid YouTuber Tom Scott up our #1 Fan to give a fascinating look at the inner workings of a turbine – and then abseil down the side from the emergency escape hatch.

The stunt amassed over 3.5 million views.

Then, we rallied Owen Lane and Ellis Jenkins from our fave rugby team, Cardiff Rugby, for some blindfolded sky-high tries from the top of our turbine:

More recently we worked with the local school, Deri Primary, to educate young kids about renewable energy: holding a super special competition for the kids to create a sign for our #2 Fan, and a green energy lesson at the bottom of the turbine with scientist Boffin John:

Next, we visited Market Weighton, Yorkshire, the home of our #1 Fan to have an afternoon with the children of St. Mary’s Primary School. We taught them all about why local green power is so great, read them through our kids' book Going green with Constantine, and even worked together to build solar powered cars and wind turbines for the classroom. They’re also going to be helping us design the sign for #1 Fan so watch this space as we enter Spring this year.

Kids designing a sign for Fan club
Kids designing a sign for Fan club

And we’ve created incredible light projections on our turbines in the dead of the night to celebrate Yorkshire Day and then make our turbine into England's Biggest Fan for the Euros 2020 final.

Why do we do all this?

We want to show all people across the UK, whether they're die-hard sports fans or young kids, that having green power in your neighbourhood is a genuinely good thing. Not just good for the planet at large, but for your own community: bringing cheaper energy as well as local jobs, education, even national celebration, art and performance.

The world’s adopting green energy fast — with whole cities and countries now getting their power from 100% clean, renewable sources, and more countries, including ours, getting greener every year.

Already, more than 40%+ of the UK’s power is renewable, and we’re working on tech that’ll help us make the most of the clean energy we have: using more when the wind’s blowing and the sun’s shining, and saving it up to use when it’s not. But that still won’t be enough. We need loads more wind turbines and solar panels in the UK to help us reach 100% green.

‘NIMBYism’ has long been a big part of the pushback against green energy: people’s concern that having a turbine in their town might negatively impact their lives. ‘Not In My Back Yard’ cries aren’t always genuine: sometimes, they’re stoked by entities with a vested interest in maintaining our gas guzzling status quo. But sometimes the fear comes from someone with the best intentions who’s genuinely worried, and we want to help show them that green generation isn’t just ‘not a nuisance’, but can actively benefit them.

We started the Octopus Energy Fan Club, with our wind turbines in Caerphilly, Wales and South Yorkshire. When the wind blows and the turbines spin, people who live nearest the turbines can receive a 20% discount on their electricity costs. When the wind really picks up, they get up to 50% off.

We've seen a massively exciting result from this already: Fan Club customers are typically saving a third of their bill, simply by changing when they use energy to line up with when their local Fan is spinning. One of our customers James even spoke to The Telegraph about the savings he's made since joining Fan Club.

Laing, who moved from Wiltshire in June with his wife, says they do not "obsess" over fitting in energy-intensive chores with windy weather, but thinks there is a benefit to renewable power that the club encourages.

“Over the last 200 years since the industrial revolution we have seen ourselves as above nature,” he says. “I thought maybe it’s a way of stopping the pretence that we can be better than nature, and work with nature.”

Want a Fan Club in your area?

A community energy project in Brighton

A Brighton-based community energy project supported by Younity

We also started Younity: a venture devoted to supporting green community energy projects with the Midcounties Cooperative. We buy energy directly from over 100 small energy cooperatives, so these community-run businesses can generate cheap green power and reinvest profit into making life better for locals – from helping those in fuel poverty to preserving local wildlife, improving neighbourhood public spaces and loads more.

And we’ve developed Outgoing Octopus, a tariff that pays people to share their home solar power with the grid when the UK needs it most. These past few weeks, while the grid’s been under severe strain due to a global gas shortage, we’ve been paying people up to 2000% the standard price to export their solar or stored battery energy: rewarding micro-generators for sharing green power locally.

We’re also working on technology to allow people to buy power locally to use the national energy grid more efficiently, boost the local economy and reward people for using the greenest power.

These small experiments and trials are crucial to our work, and could even form the blueprints of a future energy system.

But the unexpected, even a little odd, images of wind turbines we've been creating recently have power to reach more people in different ways. Since we've started our turbine antics, hundreds of people have reached out to us offering their land for future green generation projects – so this unusual approach seems to be working.

Our founder Greg’s spoken recently about how climate change denial has moved to solution denial. We can’t let that stand in our way. A 100% green energy system is within our grasp, and it’s critical we move quickly. But first, we need the people of the UK to be wholeheartedly behind our mission; fighting for a world where the power’s genuinely at our fingertips.

Got any weird ideas for how we should use our wind turbine next? Tweet us @OctopusEnergy. We’re probably up for it.

Want a Fan Club in your area?

Published on 9th September 2021 by:

image of Zoisa North-Bond

Zoisa North-Bond

CEO of Octopus Energy Generation and Octopus Energy for Business

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!