Renewable energy tariffs are becoming more and more popular in the UK. As the race to reach environmental target heats up, an increasing number of energy suppliers nationwide are supporting the development of renewable generation through these eco-friendly deals. But just how green are they and how much more expensive are they in comparison? In this article you’ll see that you can still save huge amounts of money on your bills, all whilst doing your bit for the environment.
Where does renewable energy come from?
In the UK, we generate renewable energy from a variety of sources: wind; solar; water; geothermal; and biomass.
Green energy providers often use one or more sources to provide a renewable tariff for your home.
In addition to investing in their own infrastructure of clean energy, supply companies also buy renewable energy from generators and private households who are feeding energy back to the grid through solar panels.
Of course you can provide your own energy yourself with solar panels; you can significantly reduce your bill or have no bill at all.
Why should you go green?
In the modern era, the need to burn less fossil fuels and become more dependant on renewable energy sources is as important as anything in the world right now. Our problem is global, so unless everyone gets involved, climate change will continue to rise.
The UK uses water as one of its main sources of renewable energy.
Every country that was involved in the Paris agreement (194 countries so far) has made a pledge to reduce their carbon emissions by the 2020’s and review them every 5 years.
The UK have said the whole country will be running 30% on renewable sources by 2020.
One of the incentives that the UK Government launched is a 20 year scheme called the “feed in tariff” where you can earn your money back from installing solar panels at home.
How green is it?
When you sign up for a renewable energy tariff, how much of what is said is actually green and how much of it do you get?
When you select a green tariff it doesn't mean the energy you receive will be green.
You are paying for the supplier to only put renewable energy into the grid, and once it’s in the grid, there is no way of tracking how much you acquire.
The most important thing you are contributing when you apply for a green tariff is, you are not using the oil or coal powered stations to get your energy; thus reducing your input on co2 emissions and on the way to stopping the use of those materials in the UK.
Of course, you can control your green energy input by installing solar panels with battery packs and harness your own electricity for free.
Which provider should you choose?
There are many suppliers out there to choose your green tariff from, but you may be surprised not to see the big six.
Currently, Npower are the only ones of the big six to offer a green tariff.
Since this is the case, many companies, some new and some old, are competing for business only in the green energy market. Don’t be put off by having not heard of the company name before.
If this is your first time looking for a green tariff, look for where the renewable sources are coming from and how long your deal is for.
All energy companies compared by Selectra are regulated by Ofgem to give figures of where their energy is sourced from, so you can see exactly how renewable it is.
You should only choose your energy supplier based on your own personal requirements and how it fits your way of life.
Here are some companies to look out for:
What will happen in the future?
There is no doubt that renewable energy will be the number one source of all of our energy needs in the years to come. Right now, renewable energy is just coming into the mainstream and we are learning more and more about it.
As it is still relatively new to have green energy fed into your home, it can be a bit more expensive or the same price as your current bill.
But, with more people using green tariffs, it will smooth out demand; if you have more and more people using energy from wind, rain and solar, the demand for energy from big nuclear or coal powered stations will fall, thus bringing the prices down.
The supplier Green Energy have introduced a programme on discounting their electricity at certain times of the day.
This tariff is called ‘Tide’. Electricity is more expensive during peak times and cheaper in off peak times.
It is encouraging you to reduce your usage during the busier times so you save on your electricity bill. This is a similar concept to Economy 7.
Nations all over the world are investing billions and billions of pounds into renewable energy. Germany are currently leading the way, investing €35 billion on creating green energy throughout the whole country and wanting to reduce their co2 emissions to only 20% by 2050.
They are already at 27% renewable in their electricity mix and over the last 25 years have installed 1.5 million renewable energy plants across the country.
Sweden want to be the first country, by 2025, to be solely running on renewable energy; however, Costa Rica have already gone 75 days relying only on hydro and wind power.
Canada have invested 11 billion mainly on wind power, but have gone to extreme lengths to try and store that energy.
They are currently the only country in the world to store energy from compressed air and store it in balloons. When they want energy, they deflate the balloons and it goes back to the grid to be used.