Last updated: 22/10/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Green energy suppliers
There is a growing trend among UK energy suppliers towards offering environmentally friendly, or ‘green’, energy to households. Whilst in the past this was reserved for those who could afford high prices, or even install renewable generators on their homes, the growing demand means the cost has plummeted in recent years. This guide will take you through everything you need to know before switching to green energy. It will also run through the key players in the green energy market.
In This Guide:
- What is green energy?
- Can you generate electricity yourself?
- Things to remember before switching to a green provider
- Choosing the right green energy supplier
What is green energy?
Often, when you think of green energy you think of using renewable sources such as
- Wind - Through spinning wind turbines either on or off shore.
- Sun - Solar panels either in big farms or even on top of peoples homes.
- Water - Hydropower, which converts electricity through the energy from water in rivers or streams.
Currently, only 32.8% of the UK’s fuel mix is made up of renewables. However, green energy can also mean that the company ‘offsets’ its fossil fuel use by donating to causes such as planting trees. Ofgem, the energy regulator, actually have a system in place where firms can voluntarily have their energy production checked to certify it as ‘green’.
Can you generate electricity yourself?
There are ways that you can supply your home with electricity through renewables yourself. Solar panels and wind turbines can both be fitted at your home. Long term this will save you money but there are large up front costs that need to be taken into account, so you may be better off simply switching to a green provider.
Things to remember before switching to a green provider
There is a growing shift in the market towards renewables as people want to have a more environmentally friendly energy consumption. There are a few things to consider before you try to switch:
- Green does not mean renewable: Typically when you think of green energy you think of only using renewable sources. However, some companies offer ‘carbon offsetting’ where they use fossil fuels but ‘pay it back’ by planting trees.
- Gas is more difficult: Renewable electricity is becoming widely available but renewable gas is much harder to generate. For the most part, you can only offset your ‘gas’ consumption, although there are a few exceptions.
- Prices: If you want to only have renewable electricity and gas, you may end up having to pay a big price, so it may be in your interest to look at offsetting as a more viable option. Prices for renewable energy have come down in recent times though, and it’s becoming easier and easier to find gas and electricity tariffs that are friendly both to the environment and your wallet.
Choosing the right green energy supplier
A growing range of suppliers are offering mostly or entirely green energy these days, and so you should be able to find one that suits your needs relatively easily. Here is a list of some of the key players, although there are plenty more:
Green Energy UK
For the purists out there, Green Energy UK are a great option. They are one of the few suppliers whose gas and electricity are both 100% renewably sourced. The only downside of this is that you will most likely have to pay more for it. A Green Energy UK tariff is, on average, 30% more expensive than the standard non-renewable gas tariff.
Bulb is a good option for those who want to switch to green energy but don’t want to have to fork out for the privilege. They offer some of the most competitive rates in the UK, often cheaper than the Big Six. Although their electricity is 100% renewably sourced, only 10% of their gas comes from renewable sources. They do, however, offset their carbon footprint by contributing to green projects around the world.
Ovo offer cheap tariffs and use more non-renewable gas than some others, but they offset this through planting 5 trees for you. There is also a reward scheme in place where you will earn interest on the credit that is in your account.
Hailed for their good customer service, Octopus also offers varying degrees of ‘green’ energy depending on how much you pay. If you choose the green-electricity-only tariff you will save money on your bills against a standard electricity tariff. They offer the option to offset your carbon footprint on gas as well.