St Paternus Church, North Petherwin - Renewable Energy Projects

Back in 2007 Bill, the then Bishop of Truro Bishop, set about encouraging local churches to reduce their carbon footprint. This initiative was brought about by the Church of England's concern that the worst effects of climate change would fall on those who were the least able to do anything about it and more importantly from a moral viewpoint had done the least to cause it.

In our parish of North Petherwin, located in North Cornwall, the members of St Paternus Church set about the task. Initially concentrating on conservation by utilisation of low energy lighting within the church. Subsequently various renewable energy technologies were examined and finally a small wind turbine project was adopted. Significant effort was involved in taking the project through planning, faculty approval and obtaining finance. It was a fairly modest project at a total cost of just over £5000 funded by grants from the following organisation coupled with considerable voluntary effort from members of the congregation:

The Duke of Cornwall's Benevolent Fund;

Naturesave Trust;

Low Carbon Buildings Community Fund;

`Awards for All` Lottery Fund.

Finally, in December 2010, the 750 W micro-wind turbine was installed on the church tower on a special load distribution frame designed to minimise the effects of the turbine on this ancient building. At this point we had been awarded First the bronze, then Silver and finally the Gold Award for Green Churches in the Diocese of Truro .

After giving a good service for some time the turbine became less reliable and in January 2016, after 4 years operation, it failed during a force 10 gale, having generated by then just over 2000Kwh and earned an income for the church of some £830. However the company who manufactured the turbine was no longer trading and spares were not available so the decision was taken to remove the turbine and replace it with 4 X 250 w solar panels mounted on the same frame but oriented to face the sun. These panels were kindly donated by Adam Paynter, after we had obtained Diocesan permission to carry out the modification. So at this time, although these panels are producing less energy than the turbine, they are more reliable and require less maintenance. The church has for some time bought electricity from Good Energy - one of the few 100% green electricity suppliers.

More recently Green Church awards are encouraging the congregation to consider what they can do personally as well as the church to reduce their own carbon emissions in terms of energy conservation measures at home and methods of transport, etc and we have completed the Eco Church A Rocha Questionnaire but more work is needed . This can be viewed on the Eco Church website: