12 November 2015
Our latest Values and Ethics report, published in July 2015, announced that The Co-operative Bank sourced 99% of its electricity from renewables in 2014. This achievement is part of a long term involvement in renewable energy by the Bank stretching back over 10 years.
In 2004, we signed an innovative eight year contract with Ecotricity for the supply of electricity from renewable sources, helping the green energy provider to fund increases in its wind power capacity.1 We have been sourcing the majority of our electricity from renewable resources ever since.
In addition to the green energy agreement, the Bank and the wider Co-operative Group were at the vanguard of actively developing micro-generation scale renewable energy projects across its estate. The Solar Tower project, completed in 2006, clad the 25 storey CIS building (pictured below) in over 7,000 photovoltaic cells - the UK's largest solar power installation at its launch.
Scottish Power currently provides "green" electricity to the Bank, mainly through wind power and small hydro technologies. This means that 99% of the electricity we used in 2014 was from renewables. Scottish Power is the UK's biggest wind power developer, with 30 operational windfarms covering both onshore and offshore developments.2
The Bank's green energy supply is handled by Co-operative Power - a buying consortium of over 40 enterprises, including co-operatives from across the country and charities such as the National Trust. Nigel Holden, Head of Energy Enterprise at Co-operative Power said: "We are proud to have been working with The Co-operative Bank for over 15 years to supply energy from renewable sources whilst supporting the growing infrastructure of green energy across the UK."
In 2014, 19.1% of the UK's total electricity usage came from renewable resources, increasing from under 4% in 2004. 50% of this renewable energy comes from wind power, 35% from bioenergy, 9% from hydro and 6% from solar energy.3 Internationally, the United States generate 13% of their electricity from renewable sources, whereas for Iceland this figure is 100% through hydroelectric and geothermal energy programmes.4
To achieve its EU energy and climate commitments, the government is targeting 30% of energy from renewables by 2020. So electricity from wind, biomass, solar electricity and hydroelectricity should be an increasing part of our energy supply in the future years.
Whatever the future of renewable energy, The Co-operative Bank remains on target to source the vast majority of its electricity from green energy in 2015, continuing its history of renewable energy use.
1. http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/assets/pdf/bank/aboutus/sustainabilityreport/sustainabilityreport2006.pdf (page 76).