How OVO is teaming up with Ørsted to back wind energy in the UK

08 April 2021 | Aimee Tweedale

OVO teams up with Orsted

In our journey to power our members' homes with green energy, we at OVO have just taken another exciting step. We’re teaming up with Ørsted, world leaders in renewable energy, to harness the mighty power of Barrow Offshore Wind Farm, and bring it to our members’ homes.

This is all part of our mission to create a net zero carbon future.

Keep reading to find out more about Barrow Offshore Wind Farm, and how this new agreement will affect the electricity powering your home. 

Investing in the UK’s renewable future

When OVO launched in 2009, we were on a mission to supply cheaper, cleaner energy. Since then, we’ve come on leaps and bounds. In 2015, we became the first mainstream energy company to ditch coal from our fuel mix, and launched our tree-planting programme (we’ve now planted more than 1.5 million of them!). 

In 2018, we launched Kaluza, an intelligent energy platform to help make the most out of smart home tech, and green up the grid. 

But we want to go further, by directly supporting renewable electricity generation in the UK. That’s why we committed to broadening our support for the important work of renewable energy generators.

That brings us to now. We’re thrilled to have signed a Power Purchase Agreement (or PPA) with Ørsted, the company that owns Barrow Offshore Wind Farm. This agreement means that OVO will buy 100% of the power that Barrow generates from February 2021.

Find out more about wind energy, its benefits and uses, by reading our guide.

Barrow Offshore Wind Farm: everything you need to know

Barrow Offshore Wind Farm is one of the UK’s longest-standing wind farms. It appeared on the horizon in 2006, as only the second-ever offshore wind farm in Britain. (The first was North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm, off the coast of north east Wales).

Here’s 6 quick facts about Barrow:

  • Where is it? Barrow Offshore Wind Farm is in the East Irish Sea. It takes its name from the neighbouring Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness, near the Lake District. Barrow-in-Furness has been referred to as the “English Chicago” – and even as the longest cul-de-sac in the country, because of its location, way out on the very tip of the Furness Peninsula!
  • When was it built? The Barrow Offshore Wind Farm project kicked off in 2001, and the turbines began spinning in 2006. This year marks its 15th anniversary as one of the UK’s longest-standing offshore wind farms. 
  • Who owns it? The farm was founded by Ørsted, a Danish renewable energy company that currently runs 12 UK offshore wind farms. It’s named after Hans Christian Ørsted, the physicist who discovered electromagnetism – which forms the foundation of how we generate electricity today!
  • How big is it? 10km². That’s about the same size as 1-and-a-half London Gatwick airports. 
  • How many turbines does it have? There are 30 wind turbines spinning away at Barrow. Each one is 120m high. To put that in perspective, the O2 Arena is only 52m high, while the Blackpool Tower is 158m.
  • How much energy does it generate? Each year, the farm generates about 90MW (megawatts). That’s enough to power around 80,000 homes.

What makes wind power so great?

Here in the UK, our blustery shores are one of the biggest advantages we have in the journey to decarbonising energy. On Boxing Day 2020, during Storm Bella, we even saw wind produce more than half of the UK’s electricity for the first time. According to Renewable UK, the UK’s offshore wind farms could give us as much as a third of our electricity by 2030.

Wind is a source of energy we can be proud of. The turbines can keep spinning for 25 years, it doesn’t produce carbon emissions, and it’s truly renewable. Let’s face it – in this country, we’ll never run out of wind!

Find out more about wind turbines and how they work, by reading our handy guide.

What else is OVO doing to reach net zero carbon?

  • We’re making the grid more flexible. We're optimising our members’ homes with smart tech, including vehicle-to-grid EV chargers, that will make the electricity system more flexible. A more flexible grid, that can adapt to electricity demand and supply, will be essential as we get more and more of our electricity from renewables in the future.
  • We’re cutting the emissions of our operations. By working hard to replace all our fleet with electric vehicles and improve the energy-efficiency of our offices, we’re walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
  • We’re giving back. Projects funded by the OVO Foundation are empowering young people to act on climate, and supporting green energy projects in the UK and abroad. 
  • We’re advocating for change. We work with government, regulators, businesses and organisations to create a fair new energy system for everyone.

Read more about OVO’s commitment to reaching net zero carbon by 2035.

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