According to BBC News, more than 5,500 churches and 15 cathedrals are now using 100% renewable electricity. In the article, published on Friday 3 August, the Church of England said the move was an effort to address climate change, which it described as “one of the great moral challenges of our time”.
With an average annual church electricity bill of around £1,000, it is estimated the churches have diverted more than £5mn from fossil fuels to clean energy providers. Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Environmental Affairs said: “Switching to responsible sources of electricity may seem like a small thing on its own, but when joined together it can make a real difference,” and added: “It’s fantastic to see churches doing their bit to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment.”
With the cost of renewable electricity generation continuing to fall, the example set by churches and cathedrals across England is one that could be followed by many businesses and organisations across the UK. For example, earlier this year Transport for London (TfL) agreed a £4.5mn refurbishment contract with electrical utility company Engie. The project, set to commence in 2019, is to include the installation of 1.1MW of new solar panels on a variety of their buildings including train depots, bus stations and offices. Battery storage and upgraded heating and lighting systems will also be installed. Along with the internal benefits of energy cost savings for TfL, execution of the plan will be a positive step towards decarbonising London and will send a message to the city’s organisations that projects like this are possible.
With targets for decarbonisation closer than ever, the requirement for businesses to adopt these techniques is increasingly urgent. Low energy costs, easy installation and the potential for a zero-carbon future are all reasons for organisations to follow suit and join TfL and the Church of England in reaping the rewards from renewable supply