Energy Garden, a network of community energy projects in London, from next month will supply renewable electricity to two outlets of Patagonia, the upmarket clothing label selling repairable adventure outerwear.

The energy activist group has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to light and heat the clothing retailer’s stores in Bristol and Manchester.  Both parties celebrate the deal as a UK first; no deal has ever aggregated electricity from multiple community-run energy sites, they believe.

Based in south London, Energy Garden engages and trains up inner-city youth and other volunteers in making clean power through from renewables. With the blessings of Transport for London, London Overground and City Hall, the capital’s railway platforms, awkward in-fill plots and other neglected sites are focuses for the group.

Younity, the joint venture of Octopus Energy with Co-Op Energy focused on local, community-led clean power, put the deal together. It will meet 80 MW of demand each year.

Any power from Energy Garden’s solar output left consumed by Patagonia’s two outlets will supply Co-op Energy’s Community Power Tariff.

Agamemnon Otero leads the Gardeners. He won the MBE for his work originating out of earlier urban community energy ventures around the capital, including pioneering Brixton Energy and Hackney Energy.

Energy Garden’s initiative comes as part of Patagonia’s “We the Power” campaign. Launched in April with this video, “We the Power” introduces individuals to the joy and empowerment of local energy co-operatives and understanding energy politics.

Patagonia’s environmental action and initiatives director Beth Thoren told another source “We hope that.. we have opened doors for businesses, of all sizes, to enter their own agreements with Energy Garden and other community energy projects.”

“Patagonia’s UK stores have a small footprint – as there’s just two of them, and a showroom – but this PPA has a greater impact, making it easier for others to purchase community energy.”

Research commissioned by the label calculates around one million people in the UK and across the EU contribute already to community energy’s mounting wave.

Patagonia was founded in California in 1973 by rock climber and environmentalist Yves Chouinard.  Stressing the reparability and endurance of its garments and gear, it considers itself an ‘activist company’.  Since 1985 with other retailers it has donated a share of sales values to environmental groups, under the ‘One Percent for the Planet” banner.

Interest declared: the author invests in several UK energy co-operatives.


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