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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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New deal on renewable energy saves Catholic dioceses nearly £200,000 in costs of heating and lighting churches

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The costs of lighting and heating parishes are being reduced thanks to a new deal between two Catholic organisations to provide renewable electricity to churches across the country.

Interdiocesan Fuel Management Ltd (IFM) this month entered into an alliance with Churchmarketplace (CMP) to bring renewable energy to 16 of the 23 Catholic dioceses of England and Wales.

Their collaboration means that more than 3,200 parishes are buying electricity from “green” suppliers of renewable sources.

The new agreement brings together the dioceses served by IFM, a fuel procurement company which was set up by a number of Catholic dioceses in 1994, and the eight dioceses that have been procuring energy from Churchmarketplace, a collaborative buying group serving the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The new alliance was formed some six months after the exemption from Climate Change levy was withdrawn from renewable electricity bills, a development which meaning that all dioceses were facing an increase in their electricity costs. There was also a premium cost attached to purchasing renewable electricity which meant that the dioceses previously outside of IFM could face significant costs in moving to renewable energy.

But by combining the buying power of all 16 dioceses together, significant savings were achieved that offset the impact of Climate Change levy as well as making renewable energy available to all at a manageable price.

The premium for purchasing renewable energy through IFM is about £5 per meter per year compared to about £49 per meter per year outside of the contract, a total saving of more than £180,000 for all dioceses.

The 16 diocese served by the agreement are Arundel and Brighton, Birmingham, Cardiff, Clifton, East Anglia, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Menevia, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, , Salford, Shrewsbury and Westminster.

Both partners in the alliance hope that the remaining five dioceses will soon join the buying group so they too might enjoy the same benefits gained from obtaining their energy on a 100 per cent renewable tariff.

In addition to the work being carried out among the parishes, CMP and IFM are now exploring how their new partnership can replicate the successful collaboration the parishes are enjoying for Catholic schools, academies and universities.

By pooling together the huge volumes of energy, CMP/IFM’s intentions are to make renewable energy an affordable option for all Catholic organisations in England and Wales.

Jenny Williamson, director of Churchmarketplace, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with IFM, another Catholic organisation to deliver an affordable renewable energy solution for parishes. We look forward to doing the same for Catholic schools with IFM, stronger together.”

Carol Lawrence, director of Interdiocesan Fuel Management Ltd, said: “This agreement is great news for Catholic parishes throughout England and Wales. Both IFM and CMP have been for a long time deeply committed to helping parishes to have access to affordable renewable energy. Our new partnership helps to advance that objective in harmony with the teaching of Pope Francis on the care for the environment.

“It is a real breakthrough and it puts us in a strong position to expand these highly valuable services to other Catholic institutions.”


(Photo by Simon Caldwell)