Green Energy

What is ‘green’ energy?

By Peter Carr Tuesday 30 January 2018

'Green' energy describes power from renewable sources, as opposed to energy generated through the use of fossil fuels.

House in UK summer with solar panels

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Green energy is simply another name for renewable energy and can be made in several ways, including wind, solar and wave power, as well as tidal, hydroelectric and biomass. For example, a single 2.5MW wind turbine can generate enough electricity for the grid to power 1400 homes in the UK – or make 230,000 cups of tea, according to Renewable UK.

Some consumers choose green energy tariffs because it encourages suppliers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their impact on the environment. However, because all electricity is supplied by the National Grid regardless of how it’s made, there’s no real way to ensure that the energy you pay for is actually green. 

What makes renewable or green energy?

Who are the green energy suppliers?

Green energy suppliers provide the grid with ecologically sourced power, which is then divided across the UK. Among them are providers such as Green Star Energy, Ecotricity and Green Energy, whose tariffs are included in our energy comparison tool.

Mainstream suppliers that offer green energy tariffs, as well as dedicated green energy suppliers, source a greater proportion of their fuel from renewable sources, but not always 100%. 

How much of the National Grid is green?

You can check how much renewable energy your supplier (or any other) is producing by looking at its ‘fuel mix’ information. This information should be on their website, because suppliers are required by Ofgem to publish these figures annually. It shows how much of the power they sell has come from coal, gas, nuclear sources, renewable sources and other sources.

How to make your home greener

Is green power more expensive?

Green energy is quite likely to be more expensive. However, public interest is on the rise and so tariffs from specialist providers are becoming more competitive in order to attract new customers. In fact, 81% of UK residents support the increased use of renewable sources of energy, according to research from the Department of Energy & Climate Change.  

81% of UK residents approve and support increased use of renewable energy

If you are interested in a green supplier, it’s well worth checking their tariffs. Some smaller providers will have deals that often compete with more mainstream providers, especially those of the Big Six: British Gas, E.ON, SSE, npower, EDF and Scottish Power. 

Price difference between green and fossil fuel tariffs

Can I compare green energy prices if I am on a prepayment meter?

If you use a prepayment meter, you can still compare energy prices and potentially switch to another greener prepayment deal. However, swapping to a fixed-rate deal could save you money. Find out how to switch energy suppliers if you have a payment meter.


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