Good News

Not All Green Tariffs are Created Equal Part 3

Posted in: Energy

Posted on: 03.10.2017

I have recently written two blogs explaining how Good Energy is different from other suppliers.

The first blog - green tariffs and REGOs - explains how some suppliers offer a low price ‘green tariff’ without working with any renewable generators, by buying green certificates known as REGOs.

The second - not all green tariffs are created equal - looks at suppliers who also offer non-renewable tariffs, and how they use a simple trick to re-assign the green electricity from their brown tariffs to their green tariffs – without actually generating or buying any more renewable power.

This time, rather than discussing what other suppliers do to pull the wool over their customers’ eyes, I’m turning my attention to all the fantastic things that Good Energy does to go that extra mile in supporting the transition to a cleaner, greener energy system.

Supporting Independent Generators around the UK

At Good Energy, we pride ourselves on looking after the interests of small independent generators.  We have contracts to buy electricity from over 1,400 independent generators spread across the country, which we then sell on to our customers. Working in this way is an important part of what makes Good Energy different from other suppliers.

This relationship gives independent generators a ‘route to market’.

Brixton Energy solar project

Many of our partner generators, particularly the smaller ones, have told us that they have real trouble when dealing with some of the big suppliers. They have found that big suppliers don’t seem to value small generators, and the service they receive is often poor. At Good Energy, we‘re proud to be able to offer a good standard of service to our generators, and pay them a fair rate for the power they provide. This makes it easier for them to get on with doing what they do – producing lots of lovely renewable power for Good Energy customers to use. 

Partnering in this way means we get power from a huge range of generators right across the country. So even if it’s not very sunny in Cornwall one day, it might still be sunny in the Midlands; or on a day with very little sun at all, it may be windy; or it may have rained recently, meaning that our hydro generators will be kicking out power Our well-balanced portfolio of generators means we have a good supply of renewable power for our customers.

Supporting small generators across the country is fantastic for communities.

Small scale local renewables help to keep money in the local area, and also give people a better appreciation of where their energy comes from. This is even more the case when the generator is owned by the local community – something we strongly advocate.

By sourcing all our power from the UK, we’re helping to keep our customers’ energy miles low. Other forms of generation such as coal or nuclear power rely on fuel which is often shipped thousands of miles before it is turned into electricity. This can be inefficient and carbon-intensive. Renewables on the other hand, don’t have that problem. Yes, it’s hard to argue that solar energy hasn’t come a long way to get to us (!) but it’s notoriously fast to get here with none of the carbon involved in shipping coal or gas. Find out more about energy miles here.

Hydro power - part of our fuel mix

We support some of the smallest generators on the electricity system – right down to homes with solar panels on the roof. Good Energy is one of the largest administrators of the Feed-In Tariff, the government scheme that pays households which generate power. As well as home-owners, we are also proud to look after Feed-in Tariff contracts for a number of social housing providers, which are instrumental in keeping electricity bills low for social tenants.

Going one step further than a Green Tariff

To us, the world’s a better place when people can have a closer relationship with where their electricity comes from. We are helping to achieve this through our tariffs.

We offer local tariffs to people in the communities that live around our wind farms. These even include a ‘windfall’ payment, so if our wind farm does well – our nearby customers see the benefit in their bill.

For our business customers, we’ve brought them even closer to the energy they buy, by creating Selectricity. This service helps our customers decide which generators their power comes from, giving them the ability to support their local community and economy. We’re looking to start trials of Selectricity with some household customers soon too.

It’s not just about electricity, but heat for our homes and business as well.

Taking the carbon out of space and water heating is one of the biggest challenges to meeting our climate change goals, and we campaign hard to ensure the government tackles this challenge.

In the meantime, we are doing our part by providing 100% carbon neutral gas to our domestic customers. 6% of this gas is from biogas produced by our partners at Cannington. We carbon-offset the rest of our gas with verified schemes in Malawi, Vietnam and Nepal. For every tonne of carbon emitted by our gas customers, we help reduce the carbon emissions in these communities by one tonne. As well as protecting the environment, these schemes also have important social benefits, such as improved gender equality, higher rates of employment and education, and reductions in infant mortality and premature births.

The last piece of the puzzle is to decarbonise the transport sector.

Transport in the UK is responsible for approximately one third of all the country’s carbon emissions. In July 2017, the government announced that it will ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. But, if electric vehicles (EVs) are to help in the fight against climate change, they must be charged with low-carbon electricity. This is why we’ve created our new EV tariff. It’s one of the only tariffs on the market designed for EV drivers that want to power their journeys with 100% renewable, zero-carbon electricity.

Innovation in Renewable Technology

Good Energy has always been a leader in the transition to a greener energy system. We were the first supplier to offer only 100% renewable electricity, and we’re the proud owners of what was the first commercial onshore wind farm in Great Britain – Delabole.

To reward households for generating renewable energy, back in 2004 we launched our HomeGen scheme, which paid  independent generators for the energy they produced, and became the blueprint for the Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, which has seen over 800,000 people homes install solar panels on their roofs.  Similarly, our HotROCS scheme encouraged use of renewable heat technology and was a precursor to the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, which has helped households across the country to install biomass boilers, heat pumps, and solar thermal technology.

A voice for change

Finally, we are big believers in not just supporting the change to a 100% renewable energy system through the actions we take, but also being a voice for change and influencing the debate.

We have a team of experts who engage with government, the industry regulator Ofgem, and other organisations to influence policies and regulations to ensure they are fit to deliver the 100% renewable energy system of the future.

offshore wind

We publish regular reports, results of research and thought leadership pieces to educate and influence policymakers and the general public. We also partner with organisations like the National Trust and the Eden Project to support their great work and spread the message about the need for a renewable transition even more widely.

So what does this all mean?

What this means is that there’s a lot more to Good Energy than just supplying 100% renewable electricity. Everything we do is geared towards supporting the transition to a cleaner, greener future for everyone. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, then you can sign up to Good Energy today.

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