Merlin Entertainments switches to 100% renewable electricity for UK attractions

Legoland, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds operator Merlin Entertainments is now sourcing 100% renewably-generated electricity across its UK attractions, after signing a supply deal with green power firm Ecotricity.

Merlin Entertainments operates more than 120 attractions worldwide, including 32 in the UK

Merlin Entertainments operates more than 120 attractions worldwide, including 32 in the UK

As of Friday (7 December), the entirety of Merlin Entertainments’ estate of UK attractions will be powered by electricity generated from UK-based wind and solar arrays, with the Ecotricity contract set to last for one year.

The company operates 32 venues nationwide, including big-name theme parks such as Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures and landmarks like the London Eye – all of which have never been powered by 100% renewables before.

“This is a significant step forward in making our business more sustainable as we look further forward and assess the viability of increasing the amount of power we generate ourselves, which will help reduce our carbon footprint and energy costs further,” Merlin Entertainments’ procurement director John Butcher said.

“Working with Ecotricity, we are showing we can save money and reduce our impact on the planet by buying our electricity from renewable sources.”

The firm notably operates a rooftop solar array from its Gardaland Hotel in Italy and a geothermal facility at its Benalmadena Sea Life Centre in Spain.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince added that the deal would serve to raise public awareness of the importance of lowering carbon emissions, with most of the general public more aware of their local theme park offerings than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report on global warming. 

“Energy from fossil fuels is the biggest cause of climate change, so green energy is the simple answer and a fantastic place to start on the journey towards sustainability,” Vince said.

Renewables revolution

The announcement comes shortly after The Climate Group published an annual update to its RE100 scheme, revealing that more than 155 companies across 140 global markets have now committed to shift to 100% renewable power.

Companies to have signed up to the initiative, which encourages businesses of all sizes and sectors to publicly commit to source 100% renewable power, are now collectively sourcing 188TWh of clean power annually. According to The Climate Group, this figure is greater than the electricity demand of Argentina and Portugal combined.

The Climate Group argued in its progress report that this growing trend towards corporates sourcing renewables is being driven by a surge in the business community’s ambition to align itself with a 1.5C trajectory – the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement.

Currently, only four companies have achieved approval from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) for 1.5C goals, namely Tesco, Carlsberg, BT and Pukka Herbs.

Given the IPCC report’s conclusion that the 0.5C difference between a global temperature increase of 1.5C and 2C would “significantly worsen” risks of water scarcity, food insecurity and extreme weather events for millions of people, experts have predicted that this number will rise sharply in the coming months.

Sarah George


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