About renewable energy
What is renewable energy?
Electricity can be generated from natural and renewable energy sources that have less of an impact on the environment than fossil fuels. Examples of renewable energy sources include: solar, wind, and waterflow (hydroelectricity). We call these "renewable energy" sources because, unlike fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, they will not run out.
The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has been one of the UK’s largest contributors to the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which leads to climate change. The emission of carbon dioxide is significantly reduced by generating electricity from renewable sources, rather than from fossil fuels; therefore, switching to renewable sources is crucial to efforts to limit climate change.
Energy suppliers that provide electricity from renewable sources guarantee that, over the period of a year, every unit of electricity their customers use is matched by a unit being put into the National Grid from wind and solar farms and other renewable generators.
Why should we use renewable energy?
Using renewable energy enables you to reduce the carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere because of the energy you use, which is known as your carbon footprint. This helps to reduce climate change.
By using renewable energy sources like solar energy, we also reduce our dependence on fossil fuel gas and oil reserves, which are becoming more expensive and difficult to find. It also reduces our dependence on imported fossil fuels, improving our energy security.
The UK is cleaning up its act, with 24% of our electricity generated from renewable sources in 2016. Switching means money we all spend on our electricity bills turns into investment in generating more clean power speeding up the change.
Where will my renewable energy come from?
Depending on which supplier you switch with this will vary. Each supplier has details of their fuel mix and generation sources on their own website.
Is renewable energy more expensive than standard energy?
The cost of generating electricity from renewable sources in the UK can be more expensive than generating energy through fossil fuels and nuclear sources; although wind power is now one of the cheapest forms of energy available, with new solar power also being cheaper than coal and nuclear. The difference in generation costs is getting smaller all the time.
Some green energy plans do cost a little more - the money is often used to fund renewable energy production or environmental projects.
We recognise that some churches are not currently getting the best energy prices available and so they may still save money against their existing tariff when switching.
Switching to an energy supplier that sources 100% renewable electricity may not be the cheapest electricity available, but it is better for the environment. We encourage churches to consider both the cost to their finances and the cost to the environment when choosing their energy supplier, as part of their wider stewardship of resources.
Renewable energy and the church
Why should my church switch to renewable energy?
By switching as part of this campaign you can practically demonstrate your care for creation.
You will also help show demand for renewable energy and show our governments and business leaders one way we can shift finance into clean, renewable energy that can help all God’s people to flourish.
As more churches join the campaign, together we will put greater pressure on governments and businesses to follow suit by investing in renewables.
Reducing investment in fossil fuels will lower carbon emissions and help to limit climate change which is already affecting the poorest communities around the world. By increasing investment in renewables we can improve the technology and infrastructure so that all communities across the world can utilise energy that is safe, clean and reliable.
Why is the Church getting involved in this kind of campaign?
Our vision is a world where everyone can live life in all its fullness, and where nobody is hungry, thirsty or gets left behind. This sounds ambitious, but we believe it’s possible. As Christians we are called to live in a way that brings about God’s kingdom - giving life, hope, and restoration to our earth and its people. When we use our time and money to care for creation, we join in with God’s work of renewing the earth, and stand alongside the world’s poorest people who are most affected by climate change. One way we can do this is to take small positive steps in our homes, churches, and communities - and like mustard seeds, these actions will multiply for real impact.
“Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)
How much of a difference does this make to our church’s carbon footprint?
This campaign is to show demand for electricity generated from renewable sources and to show our government and business leaders that we are prepared to lead in shifting finance out of fossil fuels and into clean, renewable energy that can help all God’s people to flourish.
Your church’s carbon footprint will be dependent on your current supplier and energy usage; and the supplier you switch to. There are a great number of ways your church can reduce its carbon footprint; see A Rocha’s Eco Church or CAFOD's LiveSimply award or the Eco-Congregation programme in Scotland and Ireland.
We switched to a renewable energy supplier years ago, are you saying I should now choose a different provider?
Not at all! If you’ve switched to a 100% renewable electricity provider already that’s great. However, if you are considering switching to a different provider you are also very welcome to use the Big Church Switch and see if you can get a better deal. You aren’t making a commitment until you see the final deal, so you have nothing to lose.