The Vatican Goes Green to Set an Example

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about how Ethiopia, a country not necessarily known for their renewable energy plans, made an announcement that their country was home to a potential 60,000 megawatts of renewable energy resources. Today, I wanted to mention another unlikely renewable energy candidate in the form of the Vatican. Recently, the Vatican and the Catholic Church itself has come under fire for a variety of scandals that have hit the international press and caught like a wildfire. However, perhaps in an effort to divert attention from the negative press, The Vatican has been talking about the efforts they are making to make the Vatican a green state and some of the projects they have in mind to do so.

Earlier this week the Vatican’s official news paper L'Osservatore Romano, or The Roman Observer, announced that the city state had become one of the greenest nations in the entire world thanks to their adoption of solar panels for a variety of purposes. According to the newspaper, the Vatican has managed to reach a solar energy power production per capita of 200 watts per person by using their new solar panels. They have decided to compare this figure to the German solar energy power production per capita of approximately eighty watts per person to illustrate the efficiency of their system. The article also outlined that since the installation of photovoltaic solar panels on one of the main conference halls the Vatican has saved the small nation around ninety gallons of oil that would normally be needed to provide electricity to the building. Aside from those solar cells, the Vatican has also boasted about the installation of a solar powered cooling unit that is used in one of the main cafeterias found in the country.

Although the installation of solar panels in the Vatican has been one of the biggest bits of renewable energy news to come from the city state recently, Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he is looking for someone who can design an electric vehicle to replace the current popemobile. Though several models of the popemobile are used by the Pope while on visits in foreign countries or even for events within the Vatican itself, the most popular model is based off the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. According to Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who acts as the President of the Vatican, the Pope is looking for an electric vehicle to act as the popemobile in lieu of a fossil fueled model. Ideally, they are looking for a model that uses solar panels of some sort to generate the electricity needed to move the vehicle.

With the solar cells being used for a variety of purposes in the Vatican and the Pope requesting designs for an electric popemobile, many media outlets around the world have taken to calling Pope Benedict XVI the “green pope”. So far, he believes is it crucial that the Vatican show that the change to renewable energy is critical in the world by leading from example. Whether or not that will happens, remains to be seen, but it should be interesting to see who will come forward with an electric popemobile design.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons