How much do you save in carbon emissions by being a Good Energy customer?

Posted in: Environment

Posted on: 09.06.2020

When you join Good Energy, you join a community of like-minded people who recognise the urgent need to cut carbon emissions and tackle the climate crisis.

As one of the UK’s first 100% renewable electricity suppliers, we have done more than most to help people become part of the fight against climate change. We have also done more than most to fight for people’s right to know the true impact their energy choices make. That is why from now on we will be reporting on how much carbon is saved when a customer switches to one of our tariffs.

Good Energy sources all of its power directly from a community of over 1,600 independent renewable generators around the UK, largely small-scale businesses and communities which use the wind, the sun, water and biogeneration to produce renewable electricity. Over the course of each year, we buy enough of this power to cover the usage of every single one of our customers, which means our electricity is considered to produce zero carbon dioxide emissions.

How we calculate carbon savings

The UK has made significant progress in increasing the amount of renewable electricity on the energy grid – up from 2% when Good Energy was founded in 1999 to 38% in 2019/20. The remaining 62% is made up of power derived through other means – predominantly nuclear, coal, and fossil fuel gas.

Using National Grid’s figures for 2020, we can work out how carbon intensive our customers’ electricity usage would have been, had they been with a ‘grid average’, 38% renewable supplier, instead of Good Energy.

Then, by comparing our zero-carbon electricity and our 10% green gas to these average figures, we can tell our customers how much they are saving in terms of carbon emissions.

A customer of ours using 2,900 kWh (the UK’s typical ‘medium’ level of consumption) of electricity would save 525 kilogrammes of CO2 every year compared to the average electricity grid. Our 10% renewable gas delivers a further 220kg of savings for a typical consumer using 12,000 kWh, making a grand total of 745 kilogrammes CO2 saved across the year. Additionally, we offset the remaining 90% of our gas, through independently verified schemes in India, China and Turkey, which you can read more about here.

These current calculations are, of course, averages and we will update the maths when the government releases more official data.

What does the maths really mean?

The 745 kg saved by a Good Energy customer in one year is greater than the total CO2 emitted from taking return flights to Madrid, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

What exactly does it mean to save 795 kilogrammes of CO2 from being emitted? We’ve seen carbon comparisons which will tell you just how many platypuses-worth of CO2 you’ve saved (about 532, apparently). Now, while we do love platypuses, we don’t think they do a brilliant job of showing just how much of a difference you’re really making.

We think it’s much more helpful to think about other ways we know we could be reducing our emissions. Air travel is a notoriously carbon intensive activity, and more and more people around the world are thinking about reducing the number of flights they take. The Swedes have even coined the word ‘flygskam’, which translates to ‘flight shame.’ The 745 kg saved by a Good Energy customer in one year is greater than the total CO2 emitted from taking return flights to Madrid, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

What about cars? In 2019, the popular car in the UK was the trusty Ford Fiesta – with this model emitting an average of 150 grams of CO2 per mile driven. If our typical customer was driving one they’d have to drop their yearly mileage by over 4,700 miles to achieve the same level of carbon savings – a decrease of 60% of the annual distance covered by an average UK driver.

These are just a couple of examples showing the positive impact our customers are making. We firmly believe that the actions of individuals can make a difference in the fight against climate change. Joining us has a measurable, positive consequence, both in terms of the carbon emissions prevented, and the clear message it sends to businesses and politicians that the time for change is now.

Ready to switch?