Who are the Best Green Energy Suppliers in 2021?
Looking to save money and reduce your carbon footprint? Switching to a green energy supplier can be good for both the environment and your wallet! In fact, signing up to a renewable energy tariff can often work out even cheaper than fossil-fuelled equivalents. Find out more about sustainable options in our guide to the best green energy suppliers.
What is Green Energy?
Green energy is the use of renewable sources such as wind, hydro, solar and biomass to produce electricity or gas. These methods are all referred to as renewable as they are either natural resources or processes that are constantly replenished and therefore don’t run out.
Traditionally gas and electricity have been produced using harmful carbon-emitting fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas, due to their abundance and availability at a lower price.
However, as green technologies have developed in recent years, and with government investment in renewable energy schemes, green energy has become just as inexpensive - if not cheaper - as their fossil fuel equivalents.
In addition to using renewable sources, Some suppliers also claim to provide green energy by paying to offset the carbon impact of fossil fuels. However, you should take into account that this is actually just compensating for carbon emissions, instead of producing truly green energy.
A word on green gasGreen gas is achieved through a process named ‘anaerobic digestion’, brought about by the breaking down of biodegradable materials, such as farm animal manure, crops and human waste.As green gas is not yet widely available, very few suppliers can actually offer truly 100% renewable gas plans. Many ‘renewable energy’ tariffs will offer just 10% green gas, with the production of the remaining 90% compensated through carbon offsets.
Why should we use renewable energy?
There are three main reasons for switching to a renewable energy supplier:
- Renewable energy is undoubtedly better for the environment because its carbon emissions are negligible when compared to fossil fuels.
Energy from coal, natural gas and oil power plants releases carbon emissions that have a negative effect on the climate and air quality. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources can help keep the harmful effects of climate change in check.
- The UK cannot meet all of its energy needs on its own. It has to rely on natural gas supplies imported from other countries. By switching to 100% renewable power sources we are one step closer to energy independence. This means not having to rely on other countries to keep our lights and boilers on.
- Fossil and nuclear fuels require drilling, burning, using and storing hazardous materials, which is actually surprisingly expensive and potentially dangerous. The reason we rely on fossil fuels so much is that power plants have been built to such a scale to make them economically viable.
If renewable energy sources had been developed to the same extent over the past 50 years, solar, wind, green gas and hydroelectric would have left fossil fuels in the rear-view mirror of history long ago.
Are the best green energy suppliers more expensive?
Your bill could actually work out cheaper or the same if you switch to a renewable energy tariff. Switching to renewable energy doesn’t mean you’re going to be spending any more than you would on a gas and electricity tariff produced by fossil fuels. In fact, some of the best green energy suppliers are among the cheapest energy providers on the market.
To prove this, we ran an energy comparison based on a typical three-bedroom household with average energy consumption. Our results found that four out of the top five cheapest dual fuel tariffs available today are green energy plans.
Are all green energy tariffs the same?
When switching to a green energy supplier, it’s worth keeping in mind that not all renewable tariffs are made equal, so some will cost more than others.
For instance, you can be expected to pay a premium if a supplier generates its own green gas, rather than relying on carbon offsetting to label its tariff ‘green’.
Which is the greenest energy supplier?
Some providers like Ecotricity and Ovo Energy rely more heavily on electricity from wind turbines, while others, such as Bulb Energy and Good Energy are able to tap into a larger portion of hydroelectricity.
While Green Energy UK is currently one of the only companies who can currently claim to provide a 100% renewable tariff including gas, this could soon change as Ecotricity is gearing up to increase its current green gas supply through significant investments in green gas facilities in the UK.
Meanwhile, suppliers such as EDF are committed to making their gas supply renewable through carbon offsets while green gas supply ramps up.
Which is the cheapest green energy supplier?
As your location and energy use are the key factors in how much you should be paying for energy, it is impossible to determine the exact cost of any green energy tariff.
However, to give an idea of what an average UK spend may be, we got our team of energy experts to run a comparison of the cheapest dual fuel tariffs with 100% renewable electricity for a typical three-bedroom household with average energy consumption.
Not sure how much energy you use?Use our handy energy consumption calculator to see how much energy you use per year. Simply enter the number of bedrooms and occupants in your home, whether you use gas or electricity to heat your house, water and cook, and what electric appliances you have, and we can tell you how much energy you use.
As green gas is not yet widely available, most of these tariffs rely on between 6-12% green gas, with the rest of their supply being offset.
|Provider||Cheapest green tariff||Price per year|
|Pure Planet||100% Green Variable||£944|
|Octopus Energy||Direct 12M Fixed||£958|
|Ovo Energy||Better Smart (1 year fixed)||£1,008|
|British Gas||Green Future March 2022 dual-fuel||£1,022|
|E.ON||Fix 1 Year v5||£1,034|
|So Energy||So Bramble (1 year fixed)||£1,044|
|Bulb||Vari-Fair (1 year fixed)||£1,152|
|Good Energy||1-year fixed dual-fuel tariff||£1,284|
|Green Energy UK||Sparkling Tariff 2022||£1,327|
|Ecotricity||Green electricity and green gas||£1,356|
All discounts and cashback have been applied to the price. The above quotes are for a three-bedroom home in London and use Ofgem's average consumption rates. Last updated: January 2021
While the rest of our top 10 are fixed-price plans, Bulb’s ‘Vari-Fair’ was the only variable tariff to make the list. Although signing up for a plan like this means you won’t be expected to pay any exit fees when switching suppliers, a variable tariff means just that - prices can vary from month to month. Therefore, it’s worth keeping a keen eye on your bills if you do decide to go for this tariff.
I'm on a prepayment meter. Which are the best green energy suppliers for me?
Although you can still get green energy on a prepayment meter, you’ll find your choices are a lot more restricted. We ran the same price comparison as before and found just seven green prepayment tariffs, all of which are variable, meaning that the unit price you sign up for won’t necessarily be the same a few months down the line.
|Supplier||Tariff||Monthly cost||Annual cost|
|Omni Energy||Omni Prepay Variable||£79.92||£959.04|
|People’s Energy||The People’s Prepay||£81.52||£978.24|
|EON||Energy Plan with Prepayment||£89.39||£1,072.68|
|Shell Energy||Flexible Prepyament 3||£97.21||£1,166.52|
|Ecotricity||Green Electricity + Green Gas||£100.28||£1,203.36|
*Information correct at time of writing. All quotes are prepayment dual fuel tariffs and based on comparison for a three-bedroom house in the South East with an average annual electricity consumption of 2,900kWh and gas consumption of 12,000kWh.
As you can see from our comparison, the cheapest green prepayment tariff is Omni Energy’s ‘Prepay Variable’. At an annual cost of £959.04, this is almost £80 more expensive than the lowest-priced green tariff on a standard credit meter.
The truth is that whether you opt for a green energy tariff or not, customers on prepayment meters usually pay more for their energy with less choice. Therefore, if your financial situation allows it, we recommend switching from prepayment to direct debit on a credit meter.
Ecotricity’s ‘Green Electricity + Green Gas’ tariff was the most expensive prepayment option we found at £1,203.36 - but don’t let the name fool you. Its gas is in fact only carbon neutral, rather than truly produced from green sources.
Extra energy saving tipsIn addition to signing up to a green tariff, follow these top 10 energy saving tips and cut your costs even further!