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Episcopal Power and Light


Abstract A project of the San Francisco based Regeneration Project, an inter-religious organization for deepening the connection between ecology and faith, Episcopal Power and Light (EPL) was established in 1997 as a religious response to global warming. Conceived as a pilot program to mobilize the faith community around climate change and renewable energy, EPL began as a coalition of Episcopal churches that banded together to purchase electricity from a green energy supplier after the deregulation of California’s electric industry in the late 1990s. EPL is now a national initiative that aims to convince not only Episcopalian, but other denominations and faith communities as well, to help protect Creation by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in a common effort to stop the global warming trend. By joining the initiative, participating churches agree to purchase electricity from nonpolluting, renewable sources. In return, they receive a free energy audit, which helps them determine how to become more energy efficient. In addition to purchasing green energy, congregations are urged to conserve energy by improving their buildings, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, and installing solar panels. By reaching out to congregations, EPL aims to create both emission-free churches and energy-conscious parishioners who will practice energy efficiency in their own homes. The recipient of numerous awards and much media attention, EPL has inspired a number of similar Power and Light initiatives, especially state-wide interfaith initiatives modeled after California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL), which EPL founded in 2001. EPL has recently produced a video about the religious response to climate change entitled, Lighten Up.
Religion Christianity
Geographic Location United States of America
Duration of Project 1997–Present
History

When the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA passed a resolution urging energy efficiency in 1997, Reverend Sally Bingham of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and Steve MacAusland of Dedham, Massachusetts founded Episcopal Power and Light under the auspices of the Regeneration Project. The deregulation of California’s electric industry in 1997 opened the market to green power suppliers. Over the next several years, EPL signed up sixty Episcopal churches to purchase clean electricity. Although California’s green suppliers could no longer compete with local utility companies after the energy crisis of 2001, they were able to compete in other deregulated states, and the mission to mobilize faith communities around the problem of global warming grew. Seeking to widen the scope of the EPL initiative, the Regeneration Project joined forces with the California Council of Churches and founded California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) in 2001. Along with Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light (MaIPL), which was founded in 2000, The Regeneration Project has helped generate similar interfaith initiatives in numerous states, including Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. In 2000, EPL was one of twenty-five groups honored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Alliance for Religion and Conservation (ARC) in Nepal, and in 2002, Mikhail Gorbachev presented EPL with the prestigious international prize for sustainable energy projects, the Energy Globe Award, in Austria.

Mission Statement Episcopal Power and Light exists to help carry out the Regeneration Project’s mission of effecting a revolution in the way energy is generated by mobilizing the religious community. It does this by encouraging Episcopal congregations to become better stewards of Creation by purchasing clean, renewable energy and by implementing energy conservation strategies in their churches and homes. With the founding of its interfaith affiliate, California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL), EPL seeks to encourage and collaborate with other faith communities in the endeavor reduce emissions, conserve energy, and promote sustainability.
Partner Organizations The Center for Resource Solutions
Environmental Defense
United States Climate Action Network
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Other Green Energy Suppliers
Various State Councils of Churches
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information: The Regeneration Project
The Reverend Sally G. Bingham
The Presidio
P.O. Box 29336
San Francisco, CA 94129
Ph:       415.561.4891
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)