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Global Wind Day 2024 with Britain’s greenest energy company

a profile picture of Imo Ford, the author of the blog
Picture of Imo, the author of this blog

My name’s Imo and I’m Content Manager at Ecotricity, Britain’s greenest energy company – and we were also the first!

But I’ll let you in on a secret – we’re more than just an energy company. We’re dedicated to changing the way energy is made in Britain, and we’re on a mission to end the use of fossil fuels. At the end of the day, your energy bill is just a bill you have to pay – but doesn’t it make sense to pay it to a company whose values align with your own?

Who are Ecotricity?

Picture of the Ecotricity logo, a union jack with green, white and black colours instead of red blue and white

Ecotricity was the first energy company to offer its customers green electricity. We started with one windmill in Gloucestershire and have carried on building new wind and solar parks around Britain, plus we’ve actually just connected our first green gas mill to the UK grid, making gas from grass. It’s really exciting to be part of a business which is truly making a difference. With every bill that our customers pay, we reinvest their money into building more sources of green energy ourselves, rather than just using up what’s already out there.

But back to wind – it is Global Wind Day, after all! There are a lot of myths out there about wind energy, so I wanted to put some of them to bed here.

Windmills kill birds

A well sited windmill shouldn’t kill birds because there are a number of ecological surveys carried out in the area to ensure we’re minimising risk against species and habitats. It’s undoubtable that some birds do unfortunately hit windmills, but did you know that fossil fuel power plants actually kill 35x more birds than windmills?!

Windmills are noisy

Our windmills actually have to be over 800m away from houses to prevent noise pollution, and you wouldn’t hear anything from that distance. Even at just 300m away, the noise would be similar to the hum of a fridge.

Offshore windmills drive whales crazy (you can thank Donald Trump for that one)

There’s not been any scientific evidence to support this at all – and honestly, this kind of claim just takes away from the very real threat to whale populations from other issues like getting stuck in fishing equipment or being hunted illegally.

Windmills have a short lifespan

Whilst most have an average lifespan of 25 years, our oldest is actually 28 years old now! Once they reach 25, our team carry out annual MOTs to make sure they're running as they should. We also get asked about what happens to the parts when our windmills reach the end of their life, but we haven't got to that point with any of ours yet - they're still going strong.

The Young Green Briton Challenge

We’re really proud to support the Young Green Briton Challenge, empowering young people to think about the issues facing both the local and wider environment and to come up with a solution.

The project is in its second year now and I’ve been a volunteer mentor from the start, working with Stroud High School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, to deliver the programme and support KS3 students in bringing their ideas to life.

Growing up, when (or even if) you thought about climate change, the image that would come to mind would be of a polar bear standing on a melting clump of ice – and as powerful as that was, it wasn’t relatable. Yes, it was impactful, but it didn’t drive home the fact that there are other issues going on – whether that’s biodiversity loss in your local park or food waste at your school. The Young Green Briton Challenge invites students to think outside the box to come up with impactful, realistic solutions – from transforming unused and vandalised gardens to grow vegetables at school (Go Green Gorillas, 2023 winning group from Corbridge Middle School) to designing a website to share projects to boost biodiversity (Bio Revival, 2023 winning group from Stroud High School), the projects are really inspiring and fill me with so much hope.

I’d highly recommend getting involved as a mentor if you’re an individual working in, or even just interested in, the world of sustainability and youth engagement – it really is an unforgettable experience.

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