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An update on our green projects

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By Imogen Ford
21 Mar 2024

Ecotricity isn’t your average energy supplier – we do a lot more than just make sure you have safe and steady supply of energy into your home or business.

Instead of paying out dividends to shareholders, we use the profits from our customers’ bills to build more sources of green energy ourselves – we call this ‘Bills into Mills’.

It’s really important that we’re transparent about where your bill money is going, so we wanted to give you a quick update on our current and upcoming green generation sites.

green gasmill
Green gas – made from grass

Last year we finished building our first green gasmill in Reading, and it’s now pumping green gas, made from grass, into the local grid. It’s the first technology of its kind to use grass as a feedstock to put green gas into the country’s gas network. This gasmill supplies gas to around 4,000 local homes.

The grass is cut four times a year and put into a silage plant, which is a big chamber where it sits for a couple of months to break down. We then put it into the digester, and it gives off a methane rich gas, which we clean up a little bit, before putting it into the domestic gas network. The advantage of grass is that it’s a very clean, consistent feedstock – and you can use the waste as fertiliser to grow more grass!

But we’re not stopping there – we’re already designing our next green gasmill, which will be twice the size of the first. We’re hoping to start construction later this year, so we’ll make sure to keep you updated on our progress. Find out more here.

Our solar parks

We have exciting plans for two new solar parks this year too, with a total capacity of approx. 16MW between them.

The first will be added onto our existing wind park at Fen Farm, Lincolnshire, making the site our third hybrid wind and solar park. Fen Farm II, the solar addition, will supply enough power for 1,200 homes and save over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The second is a slightly smaller project which will sit on a greenfield site, with plans for construction to kick off this autumn and grid connection expected next year.

Both of these sites will use bifacial solar panels, maximising the amount of energy they can generate as the backs aren’t covered by a frame like older solar panels. Instead, they have a second side which generates electricity from the reflected light that comes from underneath the panel, rather than directly from the sun.

Battery storage

We’re almost there! Grid connection is now complete, and we’re expecting the testing and commissioning of the batteries to be done over the next month or so. This will help us to balance supply and demand through green energy stored at times of low demand and released when there’s high demand.

battery alveston

Find out more about our grid-scale battery storage site at Alveston here.

What about wind?

The de facto ban on onshore wind from the Tory party in 2015 definitely put a spanner in the works, but we’re still determined to build more. We hope that the upcoming general election will overturn the ban – and when it does, we’ll have plenty of planning applications ready to make up for lost time.

Not with us yet? Switch to Ecotricity and we’ll use your bill money to invest in new sources of renewable energy and build a greener Britain.

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