How green is your energy supplier?

9 September 2021

Most energy suppliers offer 'green' tariffs: but just how green are they? Thanks largely to REGOs (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin), some are greener than others.

Any electricity generator which generates power from renewables is eligible to receive a REGO certificate from OFGEM for each unit generated, to certify that it is green. 'Renewables' are defined as renewable non-fossil energy sources, that is, wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases.

The problem is that REGO certificates can be sold completely separately from the power, (known as "unbundled"). Suppliers are free to source all their energy from fossil fuel sources, then buy REGOs in order to market it as green.

Some suppliers may generate some renewables, and rely on REGOs to 'green' the balance of what they sell.

A few suppliers sell 100% renewable electricity, of which Ecotricity is one. Ecotricity says it generates about 20% of the power it sells, and carbon neutral gas. About 5% of its gas is 'green' and it says it invests in carbon reduction schemes to offset the carbon in the rest of the gas it sells. 

Ecotricity invests in windmills and solar panels, and says it will begin building its first 'green gas mill' in Berkshire in 2021 to generate gas by fermenting grass and straw.

If you have an electric vehicle, you could be eligible for a discount on your electricity bill. Ecotricity has also built electric vehicle charging stations around the country as part of its Electric Highway, which let you charge at half the price of the normal rate if you're a Ecotricity energy customer.

We have an agreement whereby for each customer switching to Ecotricity, the company donates a minumum of £40 to Sustainable Crediton. You can find out more about Ecotricity by following the link at the foot of the newsletter.  If you decide to switch, and would like to activate a donation to Sustainable Crediton, follow this link or if arranging by phone, quote reference SC1.

John Craythorne