Green energy is produced entirely from renewable energy sources. But does it cost more and is it really 100% green? Here's the truth and the role you can play.
In this article
What is ‘green’ / ‘renewable’ energy & where does it come from?
Firstly, it’s important to establish what we mean by ‘green energy’ – or ‘renewable energy’ – as it’s commonly referred to.
Green energy is produced entirely from renewable energy sources. This encompasses the two ‘eco-friendly’ sources most of us are familiar with – solar power and wind power. But examples of renewable energy also include hydropower, biomass, tidal, geothermal energy and many more.
Hydropower – which uses energy from the flow of water stored in dams and rivers, to spin turbines and generate electricity – is the oldest and largest source of renewable energy, accounting for 54% of all renewable energy globally.
In contrast with renewable energy, the energy created from fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas, we now know is destroying our planet.
The benefits of renewable energy
The crucial benefit of renewable energy is that it’s generated from natural resources and is therefore kinder to the environment. Our current use of fossil fuels is creating damaging greenhouse gases and pollutants. As well as adversely affecting the health of the population, our usage has contributed greatly to the speed of climate change setting us on a catastrophic path.
Another clear benefit of renewable energy is the fact that it will never run out – given that it’s renewable. Fossil fuels on the other hand, will only last us estimated 40-60 years based on current usage rates.
Does switching to a renewable energy supplier give you 100% renewable energy?
Unless you are generating your own energy via solar panels, your electricity supply may not consist of 100% renewable energy. The vast majority of homes and businesses across the UK receive their energy from the National Grid – a network of high-voltage power lines, and storage facilities that enable the distribution of electricity.
The National Grid (which does not generate electricity but distribute it) is able to send power to homes and businesses via ‘Distribution Network Operators’ across the country. Energy suppliers act as a middle-man, buying up this energy, to sell it to consumers.
The energy distributed by the National Grid is generated from a mixture of renewable and fossil fuels sources. And it cannot be sorted, meaning that all customers powered by the grid receive an energy mixture. So your energy supplier can’t control the electricity that goes in through your plugs, because of the grid mix on any given day but you should speak with your supplier to see if they have the appropriate credentials to enable you to report the emissions associated with your electricity supply as zero carbon.
Is it worth me switching to a renewable energy tariff?
Although using a renewable energy supplier won’t directly change your personal energy mix, it will have a positive impact and has the power to create change. You are indirectly funding the production of renewable energy: Switching to a renewable energy supply helps increase demand for more electricity from renewable sources which is better for the planet.
Energy suppliers can claim to be supplying renewable energy to consumers if they;
Generate renewable energy themselves via production sites like Mer’s owner Statkraft
Contract directly with green generators to buy their renewable energy (Power Purchase Agreements (PPA))
Ask for guarantees of origin: called GOs or GoOs they certify that a quantity of power is generated from renewable energy sources.
So, firstly, by switching to a renewable energy tariff you are sending a clear message that renewably sourced energy matters to you – putting pressure on suppliers, generators and the government.
Secondly, although GOs are related to existing energy, an increase in certificates purchased increases the demand for a higher proportion of renewable energy in the grid mix – which should eventually lead to the production of more of it.
With a growing number of suppliers claiming to have green credentials, we do advise that when it comes to opting for a green tariff you assess each supplier’s ethos, goals and actions.
We recommend choosing a supplier whose sustainability values are aligned with your own. For example, Bryt Energy is also part of the Statkraft group – Europe’s largest renewable energy generator and a leading international hydropower company – so you can be sure that you’re working with a company that is sustainable by nature.
Does renewable energy cost more?
It’s widely believed that renewable energy tariffs are more expensive. And this was initially true when renewable generators were less common. However, as projects have increased, wholesale renewable energy costs have dropped – meaning renewable energy is now as cheap – and in some instances – cheaper, than fossil fuels.
Support for renewable energy is making a difference
We are seeing the transformation of an industry – and the more people behind the change, the more likely we are to reach our goal to be net zero by 2050.
Renewable energy for electric vehicles
By switching to an electric vehicle (EV), you could drastically cut your CO2 emissions. But taking it further, if you power your EV with a renewable electricity supplier offering 100% renewable energy, you could cut your fossil fuel emissions from vehicle usage even further.
This is why Statkraft launched Mer, a European electric charging network supporting the transformation of a sector as we move towards transport electrification.
Transport remains the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, accounting for 34% (2019) – with road transport representing the large majority of emissions. Reducing this harmful output from transport is clearly essential in the fight against climate change.
Statkraft’ commitment to renewable energy in the UK
As Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, Statkraft are contributing to industry change by providing renewable energy, PPAs and certificates of origin to our customers and partners to improve their environmental footprint. Statkraft have operated in the UK since 2006, and contribute to powering Great Britain with clean energy. To find out specifically what we are doing in the UK, read about Statkraft’s ongoing projects.
Statkraft, Bryt Energy & Mer
With Statkraft’s century of experience in renewables and Bryt Energy’s zero carbon, 100% renewable electricity supply, plus our expertise in EV charging, we are part of a passionate and an experience family dedicated to a sustainable future.
It’s time to drive the world forward. Join us to lead the way to a purer tomorrow!
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