A Higher Calling; First S.F. Church Plugs Into Clean Power
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Aug. 6, 1998 — Propelled by daunting issues such as global climate change, and responding to a new trend of environmental activism within the Bay Area's religious leadership, the first San Francisco church switched to clean, renewable energy for a portion of its electricity needs last week.
"They say 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' — why shouldn't that apply to clean electricity?" said Jan Smutny-Jones, Executive Director of the Independent Energy Producers (IEP), a non-profit trade association representing wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal companies.
St. Aidain's Episcopal church in Diamond Heights picked Green Mountain Energy Resources (GMER), as one of several power marketers pitching clean power products in California, to keep the lights on at the 44-year-old church. GMER will insure that 75 percent of the power used at the church will come from renewable sources such as biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.
Bavi Rivera, rector for St. Aidain's, acknowledged that, "purchasing power from renewable resources is a policy we recently adopted and feel quite comfortable with since such power purchases move us closer to a safer, better world." Rivera noted that she has been encouraging members of the congregation to also plug into clean power.
"I think buying green electricity is an appropriate response by people of faith in light of our present environmental woes," Rivera said.
Sally Bingham, chair of the Commission for the Environment of the Episcopal Diocese of California, noted she expected several other parishes in the Bay Area to follow St. Aidain's lead.
"These investments in a renewable energy future by religious institutions helps educate parishioners about the need to become stewards not only for the environment, but for the health of our children," she said. "For just a few additional dollars per month, parishioners can also make a moral investment in the future of the earth," she added.
Bingham has prepared a resolution — entitled Episcopal Power and Light — that is up for adoption this October by the statewide diocese. It instructs each Episcopalian church in California to buy clean, renewable power.
Bingham has also been involved with an Interfaith Task Force on Renewable Energy (ITRFE) which is comprised of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders that represent 1,000 congregations and more than 100,000 individuals in the five-county Bay Area. The task force plans on presenting a novel and comprehensive approach to buying green energy for Bay Area religious institutions, businesses and residents within the next few months.
CONTACT: Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Lori Jablonski, 916/442-7785