Secrets of the Disruptors: Ripple Energy’s Sarah Merrick

Sarah Merrick, founder of Ripple Energy

Ripple Energy founder Sarah Merrick on trusting your instincts and creating radical change, in an extract from the new Secrets of the Disruptors report

Sarah Merrick is the founder of Ripple Energy, an energy company that seeks to create a renewable energy future owned by people and not big energy companies. Ripple Energy provides coowned onshore wind farms through the Community Benefit Society, and the members – i.e. households – are able to draw on the energy supply produced by the development.

Merrick has worked in renewable energy for 18 years, including as vice chair of the board of directors for RenewableUK, one of the UK’s leading renewable energy trade associations.

What does your organisation do and how is it challenging the industry status quo?

Ripple’s vision is a renewable energy future owned by people, not companies. We will enable people, ordinary domestic households, to collectively own onshore wind farms and be supplied by the low cost electricity they produce. People no longer need utilities to choose whether to build renewables, nuclear or gas plants to supply them with electricity. They can do it themselves.

Why is this disruptive model critical for tackling climate change and other environmental challenges?

Incremental change and tinkering around the edges just won’t cut it. The world needs a scalable way to deploy renewables on a subsidy-free basis – our model can deliver that. It mobilises consumers’ capital in the fight against climate change. 

How do you create a business and investment case for this kind of approach?

People love onshore wind and want low electricity bills. Onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest source of electricity, which makes a pretty compelling investment case. We think demand is going to be really strong.

What are the challenges?

Finding a way for our co-owners’ electricity bills to reflect their ownership of the wind farm has been the biggest challenge. Customer billing systems aren’t necessarily designed with generation ownership in mind.

How do you build public support for rapid disruption of established business models and infrastructures? Does it present a communications challenge?

Ripple is creating a totally new customer proposition. We need to explain it really simply so people understand it and also give enough detail to the people who want it. We’re focusing on early adopters first. They are more receptive to new ideas and want to help us make it work.   

Tinkering around the edges just won’t cut it

 

What do you expect your industry to look like in 10 years’ time?

We want to transform large-scale wind from being a business-to-business industry to a business-to-consumer one. That’s a huge change. In 10 years I think the whole energy market will be much more diverse with people playing a far more central role. People will be able to decide how they get their electricity; not simply which company supplies it. 

How should the business community address the risk that disruption will create stranded assets and job losses in key industries?

The transformation of the energy sector will create loads of opportunities. Companies and people need to be flexible and adapt. I’ve worked with ex-soldiers who moved into wind turbine maintenance. Sometimes you get really unexpected crossovers in skill sets, but you might need to dig a bit to find them.

What can policymakers do to accelerate green economic transformation?

Do the really obvious, no-brainer stuff immediately. Like requiring new homes to be super energy efficient, not blocking new onshore wind projects and banning non-electric car sales from 2030. Policymakers need to make the transformation something to embrace, not something to fight against.  

Which other sectors do you think are most ripe for green disruption?

Finance. It’s moved so slowly when the climate science signals have been so clear.

How do you think the business world is going to change by 2050?

I’d like to think that sustainability will become baked into business models because it makes economic sense, not just reputational sense. Ultimately, we can’t rely on the goodwill of companies to protect the environment, we need a market framework that properly prices in the environment. We shouldn’t need to wait until 2050 for that to happen. 

What are the characteristics that lie at the heart of disruptive business models?

Really disruptive ideas need to make people think ‘Of course that’s how you do it!’ It also has to be the right time. We couldn’t have done Ripple five or 10 years ago; onshore wind wasn’t cheap enough.

What advice would you give to a green start-up looking to shake up a market today?

Go for it. It’s not going to happen unless you do it.

What is the secret of your success disrupting the status quo?

I waited for the right idea and the right time then totally went for it. Also listening to and learning from what people say has really helped. I’ve not been afraid to tweak the model, whether it’s after discussing something with colleagues, suppliers or our amazing advisory board.

You can read the full Secrets of the Disruptors report here, produced in association with Greenhouse PR.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


Privacy Policy

WideBitcoin.com is committed to safeguarding your privacy. Contact us at if you have any questions or problems regarding the use of your Personal Data and we will gladly assist you.

By using this site or/and our services, you consent to the Processing of your Personal Data as described in this Privacy Policy.

Table of Contents

  1. Definitions used in this Policy
  2. Data protection principles we follow
  3. What rights do you have regarding your Personal Data
  4. What Personal Data we gather about you
  5. How we use your Personal Data
  6. Who else has access to your Personal Data
  7. How we secure your data
  8. Information about cookies
  9. Contact information

Definitions

Personal Data – any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.
Processing – any operation or set of operations which is performed on Personal Data or on sets of Personal Data.
Data subject – a natural person whose Personal Data is being Processed.
Child – a natural person under 16 years of age.
We/us (either capitalized or not)

Data Protection Principles

We promise to follow the following data protection principles:

  • Processing is lawful, fair, transparent. Our Processing activities have lawful grounds. We always consider your rights before Processing Personal Data. We will provide you information regarding Processing upon request.
  • Processing is limited to the purpose. Our Processing activities fit the purpose for which Personal Data was gathered.
  • Processing is done with minimal data. We only gather and Process the minimal amount of Personal Data required for any purpose.
  • Processing is limited with a time period. We will not store your personal data for longer than needed.
  • We will do our best to ensure the accuracy of data.
  • We will do our best to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.

Data Subject’s rights

The Data Subject has the following rights:

  1. Right to information – meaning you have to right to know whether your Personal Data is being processed; what data is gathered, from where it is obtained and why and by whom it is processed.
  2. Right to access – meaning you have the right to access the data collected from/about you. This includes your right to request and obtain a copy of your Personal Data gathered.
  3. Right to rectification – meaning you have the right to request rectification or erasure of your Personal Data that is inaccurate or incomplete.
  4. Right to erasure – meaning in certain circumstances you can request for your Personal Data to be erased from our records.
  5. Right to restrict processing – meaning where certain conditions apply, you have the right to restrict the Processing of your Personal Data.
  6. Right to object to processing – meaning in certain cases you have the right to object to Processing of your Personal Data, for example in the case of direct marketing.
  7. Right to object to automated Processing – meaning you have the right to object to automated Processing, including profiling; and not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated Processing. This right you can exercise whenever there is an outcome of the profiling that produces legal effects concerning or significantly affecting you.
  8. Right to data portability – you have the right to obtain your Personal Data in a machine-readable format or if it is feasible, as a direct transfer from one Processor to another.
  9. Right to lodge a complaint – in the event that we refuse your request under the Rights of Access, we will provide you with a reason as to why. If you are not satisfied with the way your request has been handled please contact us.
  10. Right for the help of supervisory authority – meaning you have the right for the help of a supervisory authority and the right for other legal remedies such as claiming damages.
  11. Right to withdraw consent – you have the right withdraw any given consent for Processing of your Personal Data.

Data we gather

Information you have provided us with
This might be your e-mail address, name, billing address, home address etc – mainly information that is necessary for delivering you a product/service or to enhance your customer experience with us. We save the information you provide us with in order for you to comment or perform other activities on the website. This information includes, for example, your name and e-mail address.

Information automatically collected about you
This includes information that is automatically stored by cookies and other session tools. For example, your shopping cart information, your IP address, your shopping history (if there is any) etc. This information is used to improve your customer experience. When you use our services or look at the contents of our website, your activities may be logged.

Information from our partners
We gather information from our trusted partners with confirmation that they have legal grounds to share that information with us. This is either information you have provided them directly with or that they have gathered about you on other legal grounds. See the list of our partners here.

Publicly available information
We might gather information about you that is publicly available.

How we use your Personal Data

We use your Personal Data in order to:

  • provide our service to you. This includes for example registering your account; providing you with other products and services that you have requested; providing you with promotional items at your request and communicating with you in relation to those products and services; communicating and interacting with you; and notifying you of changes to any services.
  • enhance your customer experience;
  • fulfil an obligation under law or contract;

We use your Personal Data on legitimate grounds and/or with your Consent.

On the grounds of entering into a contract or fulfilling contractual obligations, we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • to identify you;
  • to provide you a service or to send/offer you a product;
  • to communicate either for sales or invoicing;

On the ground of legitimate interest, we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • to send you personalized offers* (from us and/or our carefully selected partners);
  • to administer and analyse our client base (purchasing behaviour and history) in order to improve the quality, variety, and availability of products/ services offered/provided;
  • to conduct questionnaires concerning client satisfaction;

As long as you have not informed us otherwise, we consider offering you products/services that are similar or same to your purchasing history/browsing behaviour to be our legitimate interest.

With your consent we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • to send you newsletters and campaign offers (from us and/or our carefully selected partners);
  • for other purposes we have asked your consent for;

We Process your Personal Data in order to fulfil obligation rising from law and/or use your Personal Data for options provided by law. We reserve the right to anonymise Personal Data gathered and to use any such data. We will use data outside the scope of this Policy only when it is anonymised. We save your billing information and other information gathered about you for as long as needed for accounting purposes or other obligations deriving from law, but not longer than 1 year.

We might process your Personal Data for additional purposes that are not mentioned here, but are compatible with the original purpose for which the data was gathered. To do this, we will ensure that:

  • the link between purposes, context and nature of Personal Data is suitable for further Processing;
  • the further Processing would not harm your interests and
  • there would be appropriate safeguard for Processing.

We will inform you of any further Processing and purposes.

Who else can access your Personal Data

We do not share your Personal Data with strangers. Personal Data about you is in some cases provided to our trusted partners in order to either make providing the service to you possible or to enhance your customer experience. We share your data with:

Our processing partners:

  • facebook.com
  • google.com
  • bing.com
  • twitter.com
  • pinterest.com

Our business partners:

  • facebook.com
  • google.com
  • bing.com
  • twitter.com
  • pinterest.com

Connected third parties:

  • facebook.com
  • google.com
  • bing.com
  • twitter.com
  • pinterest.com

We only work with Processing partners who are able to ensure adequate level of protection to your Personal Data. We disclose your Personal Data to third parties or public officials when we are legally obliged to do so. We might disclose your Personal Data to third parties if you have consented to it or if there are other legal grounds for it.

How we secure your data

We do our best to keep your Personal Data safe. We use safe protocols for communication and transferring data (such as HTTPS). We use anonymising and pseudonymising where suitable. We monitor our systems for possible vulnerabilities and attacks.

Even though we try our best we can not guarantee the security of information. However, we promise to notify suitable authorities of data breaches. We will also notify you if there is a threat to your rights or interests. We will do everything we reasonably can to prevent security breaches and to assist authorities should any breaches occur.

If you have an account with us, note that you have to keep your username and password secret.

Children

We do not intend to collect or knowingly collect information from children. We do not target children with our services.

Cookies and other technologies we use

We use cookies and/or similar technologies to analyse customer behaviour, administer the website, track users’ movements, and to collect information about users. This is done in order to personalize and enhance your experience with us.

A cookie is a tiny text file stored on your computer. Cookies store information that is used to help make sites work. Only we can access the cookies created by our website. You can control your cookies at the browser level. Choosing to disable cookies may hinder your use of certain functions.

We use cookies for the following purposes:

  • Necessary cookies – these cookies are required for you to be able to use some important features on our website, such as logging in. These cookies don’t collect any personal information.
  • Functionality cookies – these cookies provide functionality that makes using our service more convenient and makes providing more personalised features possible. For example, they might remember your name and e-mail in comment forms so you don’t have to re-enter this information next time when commenting.
  • Analytics cookies – these cookies are used to track the use and performance of our website and services
  • Advertising cookies – these cookies are used to deliver advertisements that are relevant to you and to your interests. In addition, they are used to limit the number of times you see an advertisement. They are usually placed to the website by advertising networks with the website operator’s permission. These cookies remember that you have visited a website and this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers. Often targeting or advertising cookies will be linked to site functionality provided by the other organisation.

You can remove cookies stored in your computer via your browser settings. Alternatively, you can control some 3rd party cookies by using a privacy enhancement platform such as optout.aboutads.info or youronlinechoices.com. For more information about cookies, visit allaboutcookies.org.

We use Google Analytics to measure traffic on our website. Google has their own Privacy Policy which you can review here. If you’d like to opt out of tracking by Google Analytics, visit the Google Analytics opt-out page.

Read more about cookies on our Cookie Policy

Contact Information

email: [email protected]

Changes to this Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to make change to this Privacy Policy.

You can configure your Internet browser, by changing its options, to stop accepting cookies completely or to prompt you before accepting a cookie from the website you visit. If you do not accept cookies, however, you may not be able to use all portions of the WideBitcoin Websites or all functionality of the Services.

Please note that disabling these technologies may interfere with the performance and features of the Services.

You may also disable cookies on the WideBitcoin Sites by modifying your settings here:

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.

Last Update: May 25, 2018