Blog > How green is your energy?
We at GreenBuying.co.uk are always searching for genuinely eco-friendly products and services which we can then showcase to UK businesses, schools, councils and households. Given the surge in popularity in green energy tariffs over the last few years, as companies and households seek to protect the environment through their choice of energy source, we decided earlier this year that we wanted to develop a partnership with a genuinely 100% renewable energy provider. This meant we needed to research the market to ensure we selected the most ethical partner. What we discovered was an alarming amount of greenwashing within the energy market.
We found that most energy providers promoting 100% renewable energy tariffs are hardly green at all. The watchdog, Which? agrees with our concerns; like us, they discovered that the majority of energy providers promoting 100% renewable energy are simply buying “REGO” certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) from renewable energy providers (each certificate relates to megawatt-hour (MWh) and claiming that the tariff is green. Most of the tariff providers who are purchasing REGO certificates are not actually producing renewable energy themselves, nor in many cases are they contracted to purchase any renewable energy from the generators. The buying of certificates is separate from the purchase of renewable energy and so the scheme is enabling providers to buy the right to put an ecolabel on their tariffs at a very low cost. Just three certificates will match the annual energy consumption of an average household at a cost of just £1.50, which is the only cost commitment for an energy provider to claim their tariff is green for a household. The same principle holds for commercial renewable deals.
Concerningly, this is all above board, according to Ofgem rules, which states that the REGO certificates are issued to show to the end business or household consumer that a proportion of the energy was produced from renewable sources. Which? believes (and we support this view) that energy providers are misleading their customers, many of whom will be assuming (wrongly) that when they procure a 100% renewable tariff, they are genuinely receiving renewable energy and supporting the renewables sector. We believe that to claim 100% renewable tariffs, providers should be buying the power from the renewable generators or better still, generating the renewable energy themselves.
And there’s one further concern that we have. Providers who are simply buying cheap REGO certificates rather than generating or buying renewable energy are charging a premium in line with those providers which are generating renewable energy, whilst avoiding the extra cost of investing in renewable technology. This smacks at profiteering. Opting for genuine renewable energy tariffs is more expensive than the carbon-emitting fossil fuel tariffs, but of course the cheaper ‘dirty’ energy tariffs don’t take into account the social and environmental cost of climate change and pollution.
So in summary, we believe that much more clarity is needed in the energy market relating to green tariffs, how they are defined and marketed, so as to put an end to the greenwashing.
At the end of this research, we found only three genuinely 100% renewable energy providers whose behaviour actually reflects what its ethical consumers would expect – namely that they generate, or have contracts to buy sufficient renewable energy to match their consumers’ usage.
These three green energy providers are Ecotricity, Bulb and Good Energy. In the end, we selected Ecotricity.
Ten reasons why we selected Ecotricity as partners…
- It offers one tariff for gas (14% renewable and frack-free) and electricity (100% renewable). The UK average is 29% renewables.
- It generates the equivalent in renewable energy that its customers take out of the national grid.
- It invests in windmills and solar panels.
- It offers free electricity to electric car uses who use their electric charging stations around the UK.
- Rated 5 stars by Which? for its online customer service.
- Rated 4 stars by Which? for value for money (even though its not the cheapest provider in the market).
- Rated 4 stars by Which? for helping you understand and reduce energy use (joint second highest in the survey of 30 energy providers)
- Which? found that Ecotricity received among the lowest number of customer complaints of any company included in their recent survey.
- Ecotricity was the first company to offer green electricity made from renewable sources and started offering ‘green gas’ in 2010. It now offers ‘vegan energy’ which means that no animals or animal by-products are involved in the production of its electricity and gas.
- It’s local to GreenBuying’s head office (we’re both based in Gloucestershire) and our CEO supports Forest Green Rovers - the world’s most eco football club and owned by the Founder of Ecotricity, Dale Vince!!
Let us Switch your household or business energy to Ecotricity today!
If you’re a company energy buyer, please call 0800 254 0344 and we’ll help you switch over to Ecotricity.
Households: we can help you switch to 100% renewable energy with Ecotricity!
Click here to request a free quote and switch to 100% renewable electricity and frack-free green gas at home, and tell your friends, family and neighbours to do the same - help protect the planet today!
Remember that we also sell Water and Fuel Magnetic Conditioners for households (or support the install if commercial applications) which can reduce energy consumption. For more details click here.
by Matt Roper | 3 October 2019