Thousands of UK churches across several major denominations have converted from fossil fuels to clean energy tariffs - potentially taking millions from the carbon emission-intensive industry

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

More than 5,500 UK churches have converted to renewable energy tariffs – exorcising  fossil fuels to the tune of £5m a year.

The churches switching over to 100% green electricity providers include Anglican cathedrals such as York Minster, Bristol and Salisbury.

According to Christian Aid, the bulk switch away from fossil fuels includes churches from most major denominations of the faith.

The Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam said: “Climate change is one of the great moral challenges of our time and so it’s fantastic to see churches doing their bit to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment.

“It’s very encouraging to see more churches walking the walk and making concrete steps to ensure our common home is greener and cleaner, thanks in part to the church’s shared energy basket ‘Parish Buying’ now sourcing 100% renewable energyHopefully the number continues to grow.

“Climate change is an enormous injustice and is hurting the poor first and worst.

“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.”

UK churches conversion takes £5m away from fossil fuels

Oil, energy
Christian Aid claims that the bulk switch to renewable tariffs has also saved churches money on bills.

Figures by the church buying group 2buy2 show the average church electricity bill stands at £1,000 a year – meaning churches will shift around £5m from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury and Christian Aid chairman Dr Rowan Williams said: “The Church of England recently took a positive step in agreeing to sell its shares in fossil fuel companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris climate agreement.

“Churches are part of a global network and so are often very aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather around the world.

“The UK Government also claims to care for people living in poverty around the world which is why it would be good to see it commit to setting a net zero emissions target for 2050.   

“That would be in line with the Paris agreement and ensure Britain remains a green and pleasant land at home and a climate leader abroad.”

While some cathedrals made the switch through the Church of England procurement group Parish Buying, others went through the Big Church Switch campaign.

The scheme overseen by 2buy2 and backed by Christian Aid uses combined purchasing power to negotiate cheap energy tariffs.

Christian Aid claimed that the renewable tariffs that churches switch to are often cheaper than the fossil fuel alternative.