Reducing the amount of energy we use in the home is important but so too is knowing where the energy comes from. Choosing the right energy tariff is becoming another matter to take into consideration if you want to become more environmentally aware.
As a result of growing concern over finite fossil fuel resources and the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere as a result of burning them, energy companies are developing ‘green’ tariffs. These allow you to specify that you only want your energy to come from renewable energy sources, or that you want your energy company to make a commitment to tackle green issues on your behalf.
Often, switching to a green tariff costs you no more than a standard one, but you can be safe in the knowledge that next time you switch on the heating, you’ll also be minimising the impact it’s having on the environment.
Read what the big energy companies are doing. Please consult them directly for current offers and deals they may have.
British Gas offers a green energy tariff at no extra charge to their standard deal. They guarantee to supply electricity generated from renewable sources, such as wind and hydro-electricity.
For every unit of electricity you use when signed up to the GreenPlan, Powergen replaces with one from a renewable source. They also contribute an average of £9 per person every year to the GreenPlan fund. This helps to fund local and community projects involving renewable energy sources. For example, residents in Kielder, Northumberland, are now receiving their heat and water from renewable sources, saving 155 tonnes of CO2 per year, as a result of GreenPlan fund investment.
The tariff, known as H2O, matches the amount of electricity each customer uses with the equivalent generated by hydro-power. Scottish Power runs hydro-power stations in Lanark, Galloway and Cruachan. Alternatively, you can also support renewable energy by signing up to the Green Energy Fund. A donation of £10.50 is made for each customer to the fund, which helps run renewable energy projects around the UK.
As a Juice customer, npower matches every unit of electricity with one from a renewable source and puts it back into the National Grid. They will also contribute £10 a year to the Juice fund, set up to support wave and tidal technologies. For example, money raised so far has funded research into tidal energy capabilities off the Cornish coast.
Scottish and Southern Energy
Scottish and Southern Energy have teamed up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to helps raise funds to protect local wildlife and bird species. They offer to contribute £10 to the RSPB when you switch your gas supply and £10 for your electricity, plus a donation of £5 each year you remain on the scheme.
EDF’s Green Tariff replaces the electricity you use with the equivalent from wind, landfill gas and hydro-electricity sources. Signing up involves paying an extra 0.42 pence per unit or an annual flat fee of £13.86, which will be matched by EDF and paid into a fund. This green fund is invested into community based and educational projects, such as <#66#>installing solar panels for schools<#>. Their Climate Balance tariff is for existing customers, who contribute 0.42 pence per unit of electricity and 0.147 pence per unit of gas they use. This money is invested in sustainable energy projects to offset the CO2 emissions they have created.
Not only have the main energy companies developed greener tariffs, but there are also specialist green energy companies offering environmentally conscious offerings. Here are a couple of the companies currently on the marketplace, though there are likely to more entering it soon – again, you should consult them directly for current offers.
Ecotricity’s electricity is derived from renewable sources, which the company builds, runs and invests more money in. In 2006, they invested £7 million in wind energy, and run wind farms across the UK, from London to Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire.
Good Energy supply 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, solar or hydro power. For every unit of electricity used, an equivalent unit is derived from a renewable source and supplied to the grid. An average customer saves two tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and reduces their carbon footprint by a third. Good Energy submits a Renewable Obligation to OFGEM to provide additional financial benefits for the renewable energy market in the UK.