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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Bird lobby turns renewables retailer

Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has linked up with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to launch a "no-premium" green energy product. "RSPB Energy" offers electricity from 100% renewable sources as well as low cost gas to customers throughout Britain. Unlike most other green tariffs in Britain, which charge a premium of up to 10%, the electricity from RSPB Energy costs no more than conventional supplies and offers savings on gas. Customers' electricity demand will be matched from unsubsidised hydro, waste and wind. Much of this power will come from renewables plants previously supported under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation, but it also includes additional output resulting from efficiency gains and measures to increase the capacity of some of the hydro plants in Scotland owned by SSE.

For each household signing up to RSPB Energy, the RSPB receives £10-or £20 if both electricity and gas are chosen-with a further £5 (or £10) for every year it remains with the scheme. The RSPB, which claims to be Europe's largest wildlife conservation organisation, will use this money to help buy land for nature reserves to replace those affected by sea-level rise and loss of bird habitats as a result of climate change. In addition, SSE and RSPB are to set up a renewables fund to encourage and support new renewables projects.

Graham Wynne from the RSPB says: "The seriousness of the threats to birds and the wider environment from climate change cannot be over-emphasised. RSPB Energy gives all of us the opportunity to do something to help. It also demonstrates how environmentalists can work with business to promote clean and efficient energy in an environment that is good for wildlife."

The scheme is being marketed by RSPB to its one million members in England, Wales and Scotland, but is also open to everyone in Britain. If all the RSPB's 670,000 member households sign up, they could save more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. SSE also expects customers in its own area who presently subscribe to its "Acorn" tariff at a 5% premium to switch to RSPB Energy.

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