The world’s energy crisis is showing slight signs of slowing as more and more companies and households worldwide are beginning to participate in renewable schemes and incentives. World leaders and energy companies alike are under the microscope for their efforts toward improving climate change and global pollution levels, which has been met by a drastic increase in renewable generation . European Union targets have been set that have to be met by each individual member state, the United Kingdom included. While the bigger energy conglomerates are focusing on increasing the amount of green energy in their overall supply arsenal, the smaller, independent companies are not met by the same generation requirements and are thus free to source their energy from whether they please. This has birthed the 100% renewable tariff. In this article you’ll find out everything that you need to know about renewable tariffs and whether it would be the right move for you.
Why is a green tariff different?
Technically, the supply that you receive will not change, as all gas and electricity has to be sent through the same wire and pipeline network as your neighbours’. What does change is what is sent into the grid. Although you are not directly receiving a 100% green supply, the effect is still the same. You are supporting the growth of our country’s sustainable generation efforts and removing fossil fuel power from our national grid. The more people that sign up for these tariffs, the better our overall energy mix will be.
Originally, it was only the electricity within these tariffs that was 100% renewable; however, as generation technology has advanced, ways have been found to (relatively) easily make renewable gas. We can see this in Green Energy UK’s tariffs, in which 100% of all gas and electricity is completely green, coming from solar, hydro, wind and biomethane.
Which suppliers offer green tariffs?
Tariffs come and go. Each month new tariffs are released with different unit rates and standing charges from the last ones. We could list off a bunch of renewable tariffs through certain suppliers that are current as of time of writing, but chances are by the time you are reading this, it will have changed. As such, it is important that you make your comparison across the market as you would with any other normal tariff. Such comparison tools as Selectra and USwitch will give you details of all green tariffs on the market. Within your comparison you can apply filters to make sure that only renewable tariffs are shown in your results.
It is true though, however, that you would expect to see more green tariffs through certain suppliers than others. As mentioned earlier, these suppliers are generally the smaller, independent ones. 9 times out of 10 you won’t see a single on through any of the Big Six companies. This doesn’t mean that they are not sourcing sustainable energy, but that they are putting more of their efforts into the bigger picture; their entire generation mix.
How much do they cost?
There is no definitive answer to this one, just like with every other tariff in circulation. However, it is true that renewable tariffs can sometimes be a little bit more expensive than standard fixed tariffs. This is not always the case, but it is something to bear in mind when making your comparison.
Bulb, one of the many UK independent energy suppliers, had the cheapest tariff on the market for months in a row. This tariff was in fact a standard variable, which are generally much more expensive than fixed tariffs. This tariff was also a 100% green one, which is equally as shocking in the current state of the market. Bearing this in mind, you shouldn’t automatically expect that 1. Renewable tariffs are more expensive, and 2. That standard variable tariffs are always more expensive and prone to price increases.
Where does the energy come from?
Renewable generation will differ in every country. The nature of renewables is that we use what resources we have around us, such as wind, water and other natural elements, and generate energy from them. Some countries are blessed with certain terrain and weather that perfectly matches certain generation styles, whereas others may be suited to the complete other end of the spectrum. This is all good, as we need to take advantage of the entire world’s energy potential if we are ever going to stand a chance in a 100% sustainable world.
In the UK, we are obviously ‘blessed’ with a lot of wind and rain, which makes us a great spot for wind energy and hydropower. Scotland, in particular, has some fantastic terrain for wind turbines, which is why when driving around the remote areas of the highlands, you will see them peppered all across the landscape. This was once thought of as an eye saw, but as people have begun to understand the importance of them, we have grown to expect their presence in our daily lives. Hydropower is also another important contributor to our energy mix. Rapids and high wave power is a great natural resource for electrical generation and has helped us increase our energy mix substantially. You can read more about renewable sources here .