Heart of UK government running on renewable electricity

Renewable energy is now supplying all the needs of No 10 Downing Street and 75% of the Cabinet Office as part of the latest efforts of the UK government to meet tighter internal renewable energy targets than it has set for the rest of the country.

Under the government’s internal greening policy, every central government department has a Green minister, who has agreed targets to help the government achieving 10% of energy supply from renewables by 31 March, 2008. This is two years ahead of the national target of 10% by 2010, but is subject to availability and cost. There is also an on-going 1% annual target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions against 1990/2000 levels, across the government estate.

Last year, a quarter of the electricity consumed by the two Cabinet Office departments came from renewables, and eight other departments were already purchasing a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. A further eight were either actively involved in negotiations with suppliers, or had longer term plans and targets for its purchase. The Department of Social Security had the first site totally supplied by renewable resources, with contracts in place to supply a further 31 major sites, according to last year’s review. The latest update on progress is due at the end of November.

At Whitehall, the latest contracts are both 12 months long, and were won following a competitive tendering process, which involved six companies. British Energy will be supplying electricity to 10 Downing Street and 70 Whitehall, and TXU Energy, to the Admiralty Arch. Together, they are estimated to save around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the coming year, according to Cabinet Office Green Minister, Chris Leslie.

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