In the UK, all electricity, no matter how it’s generated, is fed to the National Grid. Renewable and non-renewable energy isn’t separated. So, regardless of whether you have a green energy tariff or not – your electricity is likely to be from a mix of renewable and non-renewable sources.
However, the big difference between green energy tariffs and non-green tariffs is that your supplier makes a commitment to match a portion, if not all, of the electricity you consume with a purchase of energy from green sources, such as solar arrays or wind farms.
Suppliers can also purchase Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates, issued by Ofgem. REGOs act as proof that energy originated from a clean source. A supplier has to hold enough REGO certificates to cover the energy consumed by its customers on a tariff in order for it to be labelled as ‘green’ or ‘100% renewable’.
You might find when you shop around for your next energy deal that the green energy tariffs are a little more expensive. Many green energy suppliers increase or lower their prices in line with wholesale gas and electricity prices. The ongoing investment suppliers need to make in sustainable energy projects and renewable technology also impact prices. It’s not a given that you’ll pay more though.
According to National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) report for last year (2022), 33 per cent of the electricity generated in the UK came from green energy sources – with wind at 26.8 per cent, solar at 4.4 per cent and hydro at 1.8 per cent.
Gas still remains the dominant source at 38.5 per cent. However, coal, which once held a share of 43 per cent back in 2012, has fallen to just 1.5 per cent.
The main benefit of green energy is that your organisation can reduce its carbon footprint. By switching to renewable sources, you aren’t relying on fossil fuels that pollute the environment to generate your electricity. And ultimately it’s this that will help to limit or reduce the impact of global warming.
Additionally, if your business is in a position to generate some or all of its energy through wind turbines or solar panels, you get to be self-sufficient to a certain degree, reducing the amount you have to spend on electricity every month. This will help to reduce running costs and save your organisation money.
There are some disadvantages to green energy, however.
Unfortunately, the weather (particularly in this country!) is very changeable. And wind turbines and solar panels rely extremely heavily on weather conditions being just right. On a still day, a wind turbine won’t generate the power you need, and on a cloudy or overcast day, your solar panels aren’t going to catch enough energy to keep operations running.
The initial outlay needed on such equipment is likely to put it out of reach of the vast majority of businesses. There are longer-term incentives to consider – you can earn money by selling any additional power you generate back to the National Grid.
The most accessible alternative for most businesses will be to switch to a green energy tariff. Here, at Utility Bidder, we can help you find the best green business energy deal. Simply scroll and hit the save more button. Once you’ve entered some key information about your current supply, we’ll scour the market in minutes to find the best prices.
Prefer to speak to one of our expert energy brokers in person? Contact us on 0800 007 4001.