About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

This event took place on Tuesday 18 October. You can watch the recording below.

A transcript will be added to the website shortly.

In this Nesta talks to… Sarah Merrick, CEO and founder of Ripple, and Nesta’s Oliver Zanetti discussed Ripple’s business model and the opportunities that collective energy ownership could provide.

Green energy startup Ripple aims to make energy ownership affordable for everyone. Its innovative business model enables householders to join coops, finance and power their homes at a discount through owning small-scale wind farms and supplying this energy through the national grid. Although many suppliers offer green tariffs as an option for consumers to buy renewable energy, bills are still going up because electricity from the grid is traded and determined by gas prices. In comparison, Ripple bypasses the market by buying energy directly from wind farms, with the difference in market prices and Ripple’s offer being paid towards its members.

In the wake of the energy crisis, Sarah highlighted how Ripple’s green energy coop offers great advantages for consumers to protect themselves from spiralling electricity prices. Energy ownership through Ripple ensures that when prices are high you gain big savings, as your electricity bills become the operating costs for Ripple’s wind farms. Furthermore, Ripple’s coop members support decarbonisation as everyone buys as much of the farm as they want and this money goes directly towards funding new wind farms.

Coop members are increasing the volume of renewable energy generation in the UK and benefiting from long-term cost savings – something many households will be looking to do this winter. While Ripple offers greater alternatives for consumers, Sarah outlined that the future of energy ownership involves a combination of cooperative ownership alongside existing institutional structures. Coops such as Ripple send a useful signal to the energy market that renewables are in demand – they are a valuable resource towards growing the renewable energy market and getting us further to net zero.

The opinions expressed in this event recording are those of the speaker. For more information, view our full statement on external contributors.


Sarah-Merrick- (1)

Sarah Merrick

Sarah Merrick is Founder and CEO of Ripple. She set up Ripple to bring clean energy ownership into the mainstream. She was frustrated that big companies could access low cost clean energy direct, but people couldn't. She has worked in the wind energy industry for 18 years. Prior to setting up Ripple she was Head of Public Affairs for Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer. Alongside her day job she was vice-chair of RenewableUK, the UK's trade body for wind and marine energy.


Oliver Zanetti

Oliver Zanetti is a Mission Manager for Nesta’s sustainable future mission, which focuses on home decarbonisation and economic recovery. Oliver leads research and innovation projects in the sustainable future mission. In particular, his work focuses on increasing the appeal of low carbon heating to householders and boosting the skills and capacity in the market to meet that demand. With a PhD in human geography, and five years of postdoctoral experience, Oliver manages the research and analytical capacity of the sustainable future mission. He joined Nesta following a two year postdoctoral position at the University of Oxford examining the social impact of smart city technologies. He has also previously worked as a researcher at the Open University and lectured in geography at Queen Mary, University of London.