Environmental updates – church presentations and feed-in tariff changes
Simon Topping and Simon Bale, our Diocesan Environmental Officers, give two pieces of environmental news: presentations for churches on environmental issues and what the changes to feed-in tariffs for PV panels mean for churches.
“The Eco-friendly Church Programme”, is a very practical guide to ways in which local churches can help to “green” their local community through their programme of activities. The presentation does not focus on technical or structural changes to the church property but rather on activities and events which encourage environmental sustainability.
“Economics of Enoughness” takes the form of a workshop which explores the idea of “enoughness” or sufficiency, from Aristotle to Paul, to Basil the Great and on to contemporary thinking about sustainable economics. The workshop looks at whether Christianity can make a distinctive contribution to the shaping of a more sustainable economic model.
Changes to the feed-in tariff for PV installations – what it means for churches
Details of reductions and timescale
The government has decided to decrease the feed-in tariff (FiTs) by about 51% from December 12th. This means that PV panels installed after this date will be subject to the new rates (e.g. 21p per unit rather than 43p for 4kwh schemes or smaller, or 16.8p rather than 37.8p for 4-10kwh arrays).
At the national level the Church of England is urging the Department of Energy and Climate Change to extend this deadline back to the previous date of 31st March 2012 for churches and community groups in appreciation of the longer planning time required in these projects. We will let you know if the Church succeeds in securing this extension.
Energy benchmarking – training day
From next April it seems likely that churches will be required to show clear evidence that they have made efforts to reduce their energy consumption and improve their efficiency in order to qualify for FiTs. We are currently in the process of introducing an energy saving benchmarking scheme into the Bristol diocese.
This scheme has been introduced in other dioceses and it is hoped that it will provide the evidence necessary for churches to qualify for FiTs if they install a PV system from April next year. There is a training day on Thursday 17th November for the dioceses of the south west at which volunteers will learn how to conduct an energy benchmarking survey. There are spaces still available for this training day (no fee), so if you are interested in doing the training please do contact us as soon as possible.
Church of England nationally has also launched an online petition asking the government to exempt churches and other not-for-profit groups from the reduction in FiTs. The petition argues that churches and other not-for-profit organisations are using income from FiTs to promote community projects which enhance local environmental sustainability. To reduce FiTs for such groups removes opportunities both for carbon footprint reduction and the development of such community projects.