Members of the Corporation’s policy and resources committee agreed that the switch to renewables should be achieved through a combination of purchasing renewable energy certificates, buying clean power that is already on the market, installing onsite generation and increasing investment in external green energy projects.

“Sourcing 100% renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity,” City Corporation’s policy and resources committee chair Catherine McGuinness said.

“By generating our own electricity and investing in renewables, we are doing our bit to help meet international and national energy targets. This is a big step for the City Corporation and it demonstrates our commitment to making us a more socially and environmentally responsible business.”

The Corporation, which governs the Square Mile commercial and financial district, already generates solar power at several of its sites, including the Parliament Hill Lido on Hampstead Heath and The Warren in Epping Forest. It has not yet specified where the new solar arrays will be, when they will be installed or how much power they will generate.

Through the new policy, City Corporation aims to drive demand for renewable energy in the UK and also sees it as a long-term energy cost investment.

Renewables: the new mainstream?

Corporate demand for renewables is expected to grow as technology costs fall and companies seek ways to reduce utility bills. 

The move from City Corporation comes as a report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that corporates have actively sourced renewable energy equivalent to the overall demand of France.

A notable aspect of the report is that the 2,400 corporates studied sourced more power from onsite generation (165TWh) than unbundled energy attribute certificates (130TWh), corporate power purchase agreements (114TWh) or green procurement programmes (34TWh).

Other UK organisations to have invested in onsite arrays in recent months include Whitbread, which will roll out its onsite solar array scheme to a further 70 of its Premier Inn locations this year, and The University of Cambridge, which recently completed a 150-hectare sustainable community with thousands of homes fitted with solar PV.

 Sarah George

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