Ask for more: sign up to green electricity
A 'critical mass' of subscribers to green electricity tariffs is needed and we want you to help this crucial point to be reached.
With only a small minority of people signed up, existing renewable energy (controlled by a' for each supplier of just a few percent a year) is simply shuffled around and 'assigned' to those customers, while a higher proportion of everyone else's electricity is assigned to power generated by old technologies, including nuclear.
Because of this, hardly any new investment in renewable technology currently results from the thousands of people signed up to green electricity tariffs.
We want millions of households and businesses signed up to green electricity - not so they can feel good about themselves, but to send a strong message to the Government that we want our money invested in green energy not nuclear power.
Every person currently signed up needs to recruit just 10 more households or businesses in order to send this important message. Don't we all know at least that many people who would be interested?
Which company should I support?
Three electricity companies are linked below, all of which were set up with the aim of boosting the vital green energy industry. Each uses slightly different strategies to make sure your money goes to real investment in new green energy, but all make a real difference.
Consumer Focus sets out how each 'green' tariff provided by these companies and many of the bigger energy companies is put together. Links to the individual assessment for each of these companies are provided below.
In addition, you can check the range of fuels used to supply a range of companies on the Fuel Mix website (figures available up to 2008)
Ecotricity takes the money its customers spend on electricity and invests it in clean forms of power likeenergy.
This year it hopes to more than double its electricity generation as new wind power projects come online with enough energy to power another 20,000 homes.
It only takes five minutes to switch and Ecotricity will plant a broadleaf tree for every new customer. Ecotricity also promises to match the standard price of your regional supplier, so you don't have to pay more for switching.
Consumer Focus profile of Ecotricity's tariffs
Find out more about Ecotricity (external link)
Good Energy were established in 1999 and supply 100% renewable electricity from small or medium sized, and power generators from across Britain. Good Energy will also work customers who have generation on their property.
Good Energy want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with the renewables industry, which is why they offer supply and purchasing products. Good Energy don't build renewable generation, they work on building demand for renewable energy to create a market for green energy generators.
Good energy supply both households and businesses with green electricity.
Consumer Focus profile of Good Energy's tariffs
Find out more about Good Energy (external link)
Green Energy UK
Green Energy UK offers two tariffs for customers, one offers 10% more green electricity than the government requires, for the same price as your regional supplier, and a second tariff offering 100% green electricity at a small premium.
The company gets its green electricity from a variety of sources, including, , , and including biomass (miscanthus grass and woodchip supply 30% of electricity) and organic pig waste.
50% of Green Energy UK's energy comes from newly commissioned facilities that have been constructed since 2001. 20% is supplied byschemes from independently funded projects in Cumbria and the Peak District.
They offer green electricity to household and business customers and will buy surplus electricity from thegeneration on your home or business.
Consumer Focus profile of Green Energy UK's tariffs
Find out more about Green Energy UK (external link)
The Renewables Obligation
The Renewables Obligation is a Government requirement for electricity suppliers to purchase or generate a certain proportion of the electricity they supply to customers from renewable sources. The 2005/6 target was 5.5% and this will rise in stages to 15.4% by 2015/16.
For each megawatt hour of renewable energy that is generated by eligible methods (including microgeneration by householders), a certificate called a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) is earned, which can then be sold.
Suppliers can comply with the Renewables Obligation by:
- generating renewable electricity and earning ROCs
- buying ROCs from renewable energy generators
- paying a buy-out price of £30 per MWh to the Government
The money raised from buy-out payments is held by the Government until the end of the year, and is then paid to companies and householders who still have ROCs.
The Government expects the Renewables Obligation to raise up to just £1billion per year by 2010 to support the renewables industry.