Committing to manage and reduce the impact of the WRU Group on the environment, the WRU today announced a new, 'green' energy plan for the Millennium Stadium and, in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government and SWALEC, published a guide to help rugby clubs around Wales to save money while saving energy.
The WRU Group accepts climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and hopes the measures and the impact of today's announcement will have a positive effect on WRU club members, Welsh rugby supporters, and visitors to the Millennium Stadium.
SWALEC, the WRU's national community partner and sponsor of the SWALEC Cup and League competitions and the international age grade teams at U18 and U20 level, is the WRU's chosen energy provider. Today, the Millennium Stadium has switched its energy supply to SWALEC's business green tariff.
By switching to the green tariff, Scottish and Southern Energy, SWALEC's parent company and the leading generator of renewable energy in the UK, has committed to match the energy used by the Millennium Stadium by generating the same amount of energy from renewable energy sources.
'Tackling Climate Change' is the energy saving guide for clubs published today and produced by the WRU, in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government and SWALEC. The guide contains valuable hints and tips to help cash-strapped rugby clubs across Wales to save money and energy. The advice will help clubs and their officials and volunteers make practical changes in their day-to-day running of club houses and rugby teams which will help them make significant financial savings, while helping to tackle climate change. These tips range from more energy efficient ways of washing sets of kit and heating changing rooms to recycling rain water for watering the pitch.
To help kick-start this campaign and increase awareness of the savings that can be made, SWALEC will be offering up to 400 energy-saving light bulbs to all clubs affiliated to the WRU. Clubs will be able to apply for the light bulbs over the coming months and collect them at the next Welsh Rugby Union AGM.
Launching the moves today, WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said:
"We are pleased to announce these modest, but significant measures to help tackle climate change, both as a commercial business, in terms of the Millennium Stadium's switch to SWALEC's business green tariff, and in terms of the wider community with 'Tackling Climate Change', the energy saving guide which will hopefully help our clubs and their army of volunteers to save money while doing their bit to help the environment.
"Rugby clubs are very often the heartbeat of our communities around Wales and due to the popularity of rugby in Wales, we hope that promoting energy efficient behaviour in rugby clubs will have a significant knock-on effect on club members and supporters to help Wales' bid to tackle climate change.
"In this current financial climate, we believe that clubs can make important financial savings by following the advice laid out in the energy saving guide, while at the same time benefitting the environment. The measures vary in cost (some are free) but they will all contribute to a long term financial saving by reducing energy bills."
Minister for the Environment, Jane Davidson said:
"The Welsh Assembly Government is pleased to support the WRU in their efforts to be more green. If we can get clubs, players and supporters thinking about the energy they use this will certainly help Wales reduce its carbon footprint.
"Our target is to cut emissions in Wales by 3 per cent a year from 2011. To achieve this everyone will have to do their part, no matter how small. Action at the grass roots of Welsh society will play a big part in this."
Alan Williams, Director of Energy Sales for SWALEC, added: "We are delighted to provide the Millennium Stadium with this renewable energy contract and to support the Welsh Rugby Union and its clubs through the production of 'Tackling Climate Change', the energy saving guide. Next season, we're launching an awards scheme that rewards clubs for local community and development initiatives and this will now be extended to include an energy efficiency element.
"Scottish and Southern Energy Group is one of the leading generators of renewable energy and our aim is to reduce the carbon impact of our generation by 50% by 2020. The announcement today goes a little way towards this goal and we hope many other businesses and consumers will follow this lead."