8 April 1998

Christopher Hall Co-ordinator, Christian Concern for One World

The average Brit uses 186 times as much energy as an average Ethiopian. Somehow we in the UK must cut our consumption, or better still use renewable sources of energy.

A 1994 Shell Briefing on Renewable Energy quotes a World Bank statistic that the total energy needs of the world could be met with photovoltaic cells on an area less than that used to grow grapes. It should be a planning requirement that the roofs of all new buildings should be clad in photovoltaic cells.

The new spire of a Catholic church near Lake Constance in Switzerland is clad in PV cells. I would like to see the south-facing roof of every church building in UK clad in PV cells. Their energy bills would be reduced, and power could be generated for use in their local community when not needed by the church, obviating the extra costs of power transmission. Here's a project for the Millennium Fund.

To those who say we don't get enough sun, I can reply that my small (11 watt 24 volt) PV panel keeps a fountain playing in a pond even when there are no shadows, making no use of mains electricity.

I would ask those who would object to the visual impact, as Bernard Ingham does to wind generators, to choose between their aesthetic sensibility and the welfare of human and other species.

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