Patagonia to power key UK stores with community-owned renewable energy
Outdoor wear and gear brand Patagonia is to switch to 100% renewable electricity from community-owned projects for its Manchester and Bristol stores from next month.
The energy demands of Patagonia’s showroom in Manchester will also be covered by the initiative.
Under the initiative, Patagonia has signed on to a power purchase agreement with Energy Garden – a network of 27 wind and solar projects across Greater London, with its headquarters in Streatham, South London. All projects are co-located with nature conservation, restoration or creation. The brand claims the PPA is the first of its kind, in terms of a private sector company offtaking community-generated renewables from multiple aggregated projects.
As well as purchasing the energy, Patagonia has agreed to pay an additional premium to help support Energy Garden’s work in local communities. This funding will be used to deliver programmes including community engagement, training for young people and clean energy education in local schools.
This PPA has been facilitated by Younity, a joint venture between Co-Op Energy and Octopus Energy that is dedicated to supporting the growth of community energy. It covers around 80 MW of demand annually. Any power from Energy Garden’s solar site which is not consumed by Patagonia will be used to supply Co-op Energy’s Community Power Tariff.
“We hope that, by going through this process, we have opened doors for businesses, of all sizes, to enter their own agreements with Energy Garden and other community energy projects,” said Patagonia’s environmental action and initiatives director Beth Thoren.
“Patagonia’s UK stores have a small footprint – as there’s just two of them, and a showroom – but this PPA has a greater impact, making it easier for others to purchase community energy.”
The PPA builds on the ongoing work Patagonia is doing through its ‘We The Power’ campaign, which supports community renewable energy and expanded into the UK this year following success in the US and EU.
According to research commissioned by Patagonia for the campaign, there are currently more than one million people involved in the community energy sector across the EU and UK. But, with the right support from bodies like councils and NGOs, as well as enabling policies, this number could increase to 260 million.
Patagonia has been putting pressure on policymakers as well as directly supporting new and existing community clean energy projects.
Beth Thoren was interviewed by edie for the recent biodiversity-focussed episode of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast. You can stream that episode, also featuring the Woodland Trust and Earth Security, here.
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