Seeing the light

THE Uniting Church has installed the biggest solar photovoltaic system in Perth at its CBD headquarters.

The 100kW solar array, which sprawls across the roof of the William Street building, is part of the church’s commitment to renewable energy.

UC is one of more than 40 organisations in Renew WA, an environmental group lobbying the state government to set a renewable energy target.

Church consultant Geoffrey Bice says caring for the environment has been a key part of the church’s ideology since its inception in 1977.

• Uniting Church reverends Steve Francis and Craig Collas with consultant Geoffrey Bice beside the new solar array. Photo supplied

“We think the major political parties have been a bit disappointing considering there are so many resources for renewable energy options,” he says.

“Our partner churches in the Pacific said to us ‘[climate change] is impacting on us right now’.

“We really wanted to do our bit for them and they were a key driver for our advocacy of renewable energy.”

Mr Bice adds that ecotheology is on the rise, prompting religions to consider their relationship with the environment.

Yes2Renewables community organiser Alastair Leith says businesses in the CBD should follow the church’s lead.

“WA is in need of a renewable energy target,” he says.

“The good thing about an ambitious target is that its transparent and if the government doesn’t make their targets then the public have accountability.”

The Greens is the only party pushing for a 100 per cent renewable energy target for the WA electricity market by 2030.

Labor recently backtracked on a 50 per cent target by 2030, while the Liberal party has not made any commitment.

“The organisation Sustainable Energy Now have developed software which has demonstrated we can achieve 85 per cent renewable energy, on the South West Interconnected System, for the same cost or less than coal,” Mr Leith says.

“There’s really no downside moving to renewable energy, except their will be a transitioning for workers into new, clean jobs.”

by CHARLIE SMITH

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