An alternative (or supplement) to generating your own energy is to sign up to a green electricity supplier.
There are plenty of options available and all the big energy suppliers now offer green tariffs to their customers. The structure of these tariffs varies considerably however and it is important to research what’s on offer before deciding which one to use.
What is Green Energy?
Green energy is generated using environmentally friendly methods, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the harm they cause.
Renewable energy is generated through:
- Wind power.
- Solar power.
- Wave power.
- Hydro power.
- Tidal power.
- Geothermal power.
There are a couple of other methods that fall into a grey area of ‘green’:
- Nuclear is widely considered ‘green’ but it divides environmentalists due to the significant issues regarding radioactive waste management and accident risks.
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is another grey area as it normally involves the combustion of fossil fuels. Where heat or electricity is being generated for a particular purpose, CHP recycles the wasted energy and uses the process to generate both heat and electricity at the same time. The secondary product is distributed for reuse elsewhere.
What can a green electricity supplier offer?
Government incentives in the form of Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs) have encouraged all energy suppliers to supply a proportion of green energy from renewable sources to customers in the UK.
There are a number of mechanisms they use to do this but the main ones are:
The supplier provides energy to the customer and in turn it buys a proportion of that energy from renewable sources. The percentage of green energy and the sources will vary with supplier and tariff but the information should be made available to you.
The electricity supplier contributes a portion of your payments to green energy funds. These funds support environmentally friendly projects, which range from developing renewable generation technologies to Carbon offset and reduction schemes.
Note – Check the details of the account, rather than just the price, before making a decision. Some ‘green’ claims can be a little misleading and further investigation is necessary to ensure you know what you are getting.
Green Electricity Suppliers
Many of the big energy companies provided Green Tariffs but have quietly discontinued them over the last few years.
There are a number of independent green energy suppliers in the market:
- Ecotricity Green Energy
- Good Energy
- Ovo Energy
- LoCO2 Energy
Out of the ‘greens’ Ecotricity is definitely worth a look. They invest more per customer than any other supplier into building their own renewable energy generation schemes to meet future needs.
To help choose a green electricity supplier, there are plenty of websites such as moneysupermarket.com that have comparisons for tariffs, prices and fuel mixes for each supplier and reviews from customers. (Make sure to click on the pie charts for a detailed break down of fuel mixes as they are unclear at first glance).
If you are interested in going green, generating your own energy and improving the sustainability of your home then visit the rest of our eco home section for more information on what else you can do.
If you are planning to build your own home, please have a look through the rest of our site.
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