Sustainability

How Green Is Your Energy Supplier?

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, one way you can do this quickly is by choosing a green tariff. Your business instantly lowers its emissions with this method. However, it’s important to make sure you get the right tariff; not all “green energy” suppliers get their power from clean […]

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PlanetMark
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If you’re looking for a way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, one way you can do this quickly is by choosing a green tariff. Your business instantly lowers its emissions with this method. However, it’s important to make sure you get the right tariff; not all “green energy” suppliers get their power from clean sources.

What is Green Energy?

Green energy is energy generated from sources that don’t produce greenhouse gases. Green energy is also more environmentally friendly than energy produced from fossil fuels.

Many energy suppliers label their tariffs as “green energy tariffs.” However, this is sometimes a vague term. Green energy is made from renewable resources; however, for the power to be green, it must not give off greenhouse gases when it’s used to generate energy.

Many people are confused by the term “renewable energy” when searching for a new energy tariff. When you see “renewable energy,” it means the energy comes from sources that will never run out, such as solar and wind energy. However, many types of renewable energy produce greenhouse gas emissions.

What about “clean” energy? What does this term mean? “Clean” energy can also be a confusing term; however, it refers to energy that does not release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But it’s essential to understand that not all clean energy is green for this reason. For example, nuclear energy is considered clean because it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. However, it still pollutes the planet with nuclear waste. For this reason, experts believe nuclear energy should not be considered clean, green energy.

Here’s a chart to clarify the different terms applied to types of energy.

Green energyRenewable & environmentally friendly; no harmful emissions
Brown energyEnergy generated from fossil fuels
Renewable energyEnergy generated from recyclable resources (sun, wind, and more)
Clean energyDoes not emit any greenhouse gases, yet is still bad for the environment

Today, energy suppliers are required to show where their energy comes from in an energy mix. That means you can see how much of your energy supplier’s energy comes from various sources.

In addition, green energy can be split into green gas and green electricity. Gas and electricity are generated and supplied in different ways, so they can vary in the way they’re generated.

Green Energy

Green electricity has been around longer than green gas. It’s much easier and cheaper for energy suppliers to generate this type of power. Green electricity can come from the following sources:

·          Solar power

·          Hydroelectric power

·          Wave power

·          Tidal power

·          Wind power

·          Green Gas

Green gas usually comes from natural gas. This is gas that is generated from renewable sources, including biomethane (naturally produced by landfills). However, this gas still produces CO2 and other dangerous greenhouse gases. So, it’s not considered green, though it is a renewable form of energy.

Hydrogen is another type of green gas, and it is 100% green, as it only emits water vapour into the air, with no harmful emissions. Green hydrogen will be used mostly by the travel sector. However, its popularity is growing as more energy suppliers are choosing hydrogen as part of their fuel mix.

Green Energy Usage

Energy suppliers have a mix of different types of energy to supply you and their other customers. All suppliers provide different amounts of energy to the main grid, depending on customer use. For instance, if you have a green energy tariff, the energy supplied to your business may not have all come from green sources.

When you choose a green energy tariff, your energy supplier must replace the amount of energy you use from the grid with green energy. The more people who have green energy tariffs, the higher the energy mix in the national grid becomes.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a term you may hear used more often as sustainability becomes more important to people. Greenwashing is when a company states they are environmentally conscious or their products are sustainable when the reality is that these claims are false. Some energy suppliers may market their tariffs as better for the environment or as “green,” but that’s not always the case.

Many suppliers are guilty of selling “green energy” and instead offset their non-green energy sources (such as fossil fuels) by using carbon capture or planting trees. Carbon offsetting may involve companies investing in environmental projects to balance out their own carbon emissions. These projects may involve developing clean energy technologies, purchasing carbon credits, and more.

While it is against the law for energy suppliers to lie about their tariffs, the wording of their tariffs may mislead you. This is why it’s essential to choose an energy supplier and tariff carefully. You can then avoid the issue of greenwashing and know that your energy is truly green.

Some Green Energy Suppliers in the UK

Here’s a list of a few green energy suppliers in the UK.

Npower

Npower is one of the six largest providers and they offer a green tariff that’s 100% green electricity. Their green power is generated from wind and hydropower sources. In addition, the company also offsets the carbon that they produce. And their green tariff prices are reasonable, usually placed in the middle range between the tariffs of other suppliers.

This is an ethical company that is truly committed to sustainability; however, the only drawback with this supplier is that they don’t offer green gas tariffs.

British Gas

British Gas is another large energy supplier that offers 100% green electricity, which is generated mostly from wind and solar power. The company’s also certified by the carbon trust and they offer different options on their tariffs to support your company.

In addition, British Gas also offers carbon-neutral gas. This gas is produced from biomethane; however, it’s not fully green as it does release CO2. However, the plants used to create the gas take in the same amount of carbon as they grow, which balances the carbon released by biomethane.

Crown Gas & Power

Crown Gas & Power offers gas contracts at 25%, 50%, or 100% biogas. The company is carbon neutral; however, carbon natural gas is best for business as there’s no cleaner gas appropriate for major use. This company is best for businesses looking to become more sustainable; however, they will not be using 100% green energy.

Summing It Up

If your business wants to become Net Zero, now is the right time. Reducing your carbon emissions can be challenging; however, choosing suppliers that offer truly green energy can go a long way to reaching Net Zero.

What is the business case for sustainability?

Thursday 21 February 2024, 1:00-2:00 PM

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