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Which magazine in October 2019 discussed the green credentials of the power companies - see https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/09/how-green-is-your-energy-tariff/. It seems that only 2 (or possibly 3 as Green Energy did not reply to Which) are providing genuine green energy. Good Energy and Ecotricity are both buying sufficient electricity from the green generators to meet their customers' requirements. Many others are simply buying REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origins) certificates and this enables them to call their electricity "green".

As EV drivers we tend to use more electricity than some others. Do you think we have more responsibility to buy green energy, even though it costs more? Do you think the power companies should be stopped from calling their energy "green" if it is only based on buying REGO certificates?
 

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I don't see that EV drivers have a particular responsibility to buy green energy. All electricity consumers have that responsibility. I am also not sure you can assume green energy costs more than the dirty stuff any longer. In fact, if you change to a supplier that offers a time-of-use tariff, you will probably find that you can save a considerable sum by charging at night, which most of us do anyway. The relationship between cost and time of use is getting more interesting and more complex, as those of us who are with Octopus have found out. Each year, there seem to be more occasions when the price becomes negative for a short time. We can expect this to become more frequent and for longer durations as the grid is decarbonised further. I think we can also expect more suppliers to offer TOU tariffs and services that help us to manage our use of these complex products.
As for the utilities calling their products green, I think you may have a valid point. I remember when I switched from Good Energy to Octopus I had a chat with a sales person from GE who wanted to know why I was switching (it was based on price and a nerdy fascination with TOU tariffs) and who I was switching to. They did not mind too much to be losing me to Octopus because "at least they install and operate solar farms instead of just buying certificates". Perhaps it should be made more obvious to consumers which suppliers fund the increase in renewable generation and those who only buy REGO certificates, but there's probably a supply vs. demand argument to be made here. What do others think?
 

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I switched to Ecotricity 12 years ago when I bought my house to support renewables without having to invest in solar panels etc. I switched away from Scottish Power's green tariff because it was clear they were just buying a proportion of energy from wind turbines, rather than changing the way we generate energy. I think our energy bills are a valid way to support renewables as the more of us that switch the more attractive renewables are to corporate investors. Same with gas - Octopus offset their carbon and don't use fracked gas, both things I strongly support.

Ecotricity got a bit pricey so I switched to Octopus last year. Some young salesman chap came to the door a few weeks ago, and had to admit Octopus had the cheapest available renewable or non-renewable tariff!

And no, I don't think ev drivers have a specific responsibility.
 

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Thanks for sharing. It was a great story. At first, I also thought about switching to green energy because I received unrealistically large energy bills and I decided that this could not continue anymore. I found some cool suppliers like octopus and Scottish power and started consulting with specialists. A little later, I came across an article about how to increase energy efficiency at home. There were a lot of cool tips at https://usave.co.uk/ and I decided to follow them for a month. And you know what? As a result, I got lower bills and I was very happy. Nevertheless, I am still going to switch to green energy in the future, and for this, I need your advice!
 

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The thing is that it is difficult to determine precisely what we mean by switching to a green supplier. Unless the company generates their own electricity and only sell what they generate and no more then regardless of which company you buy electricity from it is highly likely that you are buying a percentage of non-renewable power whether you like it or not. I know Ecotricity have their own turbines but I doubt that they only sell as much as they generate and no more. That would mean limiting the number of customers and/or the amount they use and that doesn't happen AFAIK. What generating their own power means is that they will need to buy less REGO certificates to cover what they sell. Also, the profits that Ecotricity makes can be ploughed back into creating more renewable generating capacity and that is why I was with them for a few years. When they stopped properly supporting EV charging and when their prices went up I left. I am now with Octopus on Agile.

So a lot of the so-called renewable energy we buy is using REGO... in fact, probably most IMO.

But in all honest... does that matter? The fact is that any power sold using a REGO certificate came from a renewable source and if your company always guarantees to buy enough REGO certificates to cover what they sell then you could buy with confidence knowing that what you pay actually buys REGO certificates and so could be classed as renewable. My fear is that some companies with a renewable tariff may sell more electricity than they can get REGO certificates for and so in that case you might think you are buying reneable power but not enough REGO certificates were bought to justify the claim. I have no evidence that this is actually happening but I wouldn't be at all surprised.
 

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Heres a quote

Same with gas - Octopus offset their carbon and don't use fracked gas, both things I strongly support.

Seriously, does anyone think that there is any meaningful quantity of fracked gas in UK pipelines, much less UK onshore fracked gas?????
 

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Heres a quote

Same with gas - Octopus offset their carbon and don't use fracked gas, both things I strongly support.

Seriously, does anyone think that there is any meaningful quantity of fracked gas in UK pipelines, much less UK onshore fracked gas?????
Unfortunately, there's not much fracking in the UK.

I use Octopus, I'm also onnthe supergreen tariff. I accept that gas is a necessary evil right now, but want to do my best to reduce my impact.
 

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The thing is that it is difficult to determine precisely what we mean by switching to a green supplier. Unless the company generates their own electricity and only sell what they generate and no more then regardless of which company you buy electricity from it is highly likely that you are buying a percentage of non-renewable power whether you like it or not. I know Ecotricity have their own turbines but I doubt that they only sell as much as they generate and no more. That would mean limiting the number of customers and/or the amount they use and that doesn't happen AFAIK. What generating their own power means is that they will need to buy less REGO certificates to cover what they sell. Also, the profits that Ecotricity makes can be ploughed back into creating more renewable generating capacity and that is why I was with them for a few years. When they stopped properly supporting EV charging and when their prices went up I left. I am now with Octopus on Agile.

So a lot of the so-called renewable energy we buy is using REGO... in fact, probably most IMO.

But in all honest... does that matter? The fact is that any power sold using a REGO certificate came from a renewable source and if your company always guarantees to buy enough REGO certificates to cover what they sell then you could buy with confidence knowing that what you pay actually buys REGO certificates and so could be classed as renewable. My fear is that some companies with a renewable tariff may sell more electricity than they can get REGO certificates for and so in that case you might think you are buying reneable power but not enough REGO certificates were bought to justify the claim. I have no evidence that this is actually happening but I wouldn't be at all surprised.
I tend to agree.

I am still a bit concerned that big 6 companies seem to have zero incentives to increase renewables even if their customers are asking for it.

I note that you can buy REGO certificates for 15p however. That suggests we are not having much of an impact when we buy “green“ electricity. If more people chose renewables the price of the certificates would presumably increase with demand? Is that how it works?
In which case there doesn’t seem to be a demand side pull here. I guess there is already enough renewables in the system to meet the requirements of those of us who care enough to choose a green tariff. You’d need somewhere near 40% of consumers to choose a green tariff to actually drive more renewables into the system.

On that basis it doesn’t appear to make a difference which supplier you choose. This choice may not matter when it is cheap to build renewables. That will drive adoption of wind and solar.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
On that basis it doesn’t appear to make a difference which supplier you choose. This choice may not matter when it is cheap to build renewables. That will drive adoption of wind and solar.
BUT as I understand it Good Energy buy direct from green generators more than 100% of the electricity they supply so they are not relying on REGO certificates (and Ecotricity also buy about 80% from the green generators). None of the other companies come close to either of these two.
If I am correct it seems there is a real advantage to encouraging renewables by buying from either Good energy or Ecotricity.
 

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BUT as I understand it Good Energy buy direct from green generators more than 100% of the electricity they supply so they are not relying on REGO certificates (and Ecotricity also buy about 80% from the green generators). None of the other companies come close to either of these two.
If I am correct it seems there is a real advantage to encouraging renewables by buying from either Good energy or Ecotricity.
Looks like if I build a wind or solar farm I can sell electricity at a profitable price on the open market.

The investment decision looks like a bet on electricity prices in 10-20 years being high enough to pay back the cost to build it.

Maybe I miss something but I don’t understand what do these businesses do that helps me make a decision to build a wind farm.
 

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Seriously I am interested if we can really make a difference here.

I am missing something?

I didn’t get how buying electricity from Good Energy is making a difference compared to buying it from e.g. Bulb? Both buy renewable electricity to meet their customers needs.
 

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I don't understand how a REGO is different from directly purchasing off a generator?

I've never understood how you choose your generation. In real time the consumer uses what is generated on the grid.
 

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Bulb shows in the table as 100% renewables?
Because they buy REGO's. They only directly buy about 20% green energy from generators. The REGO's are cheap, which is how Shell went from a few percent to 100% renewable overnight..

130223



 

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Because they buy REGO's. They only directly buy about 20% green energy from generators. The REGO's are cheap, which is how Shell went from a few percent to 100% renewable overnight..

View attachment 130223


The UK electricity mix has 37% renewables in it.
If I sign up with Good Energy they will buy slightly more of that37%. The UK then still has 37% renewables in the mix....
Or did I miss the part where they actually build a new wind farm? I don’t see that claim anywhere in their blurb.
 

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Because they buy REGO's. They only directly buy about 20% green energy from generators. The REGO's are cheap, which is how Shell went from a few percent to 100% renewable overnight..

View attachment 130223


You might also want to dig into Good Energy’s Electric mix.
It says they get 20% from BioEnergy.

I had a look at their energy farm map. I see the icons for wind and solar. I don’t see the location of the bioenergy. Nor can I find an explanation in any detail of what they mean by bioenergy. If it means burning wood chip I cannot say I’m especially impressed.

Edit. The front page says 20% Biogen, the graphic for their 2018/2019 mix says 28.4% Biogen. Looks like a significant proportion of their electricity comes from burning stuff.
 

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The REGO are just a sop dreamed up by merchant banker (rhyming) types, discuss.
So, I'm a renewables generator. I say hey, who wants my electricity? BobEnergy buy it for market price. They can now claim to be buying renewables. But, with that MWh I've also earned a REGO from Ofgem. And I can sell that to someone too, and they can also claim to be buying renewables?

Is that correct, I'm selling the energy and then the certificate for the renewables energy?
 

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So, I'm a renewables generator. I say hey, who wants my electricity? BobEnergy buy it for market price. They can now claim to be buying renewables. But, with that MWh I've also earned a REGO from Ofgem. And I can sell that to someone too, and they can also claim to be buying renewables?

Is that correct, I'm selling the energy and then the certificate for the renewables energy?
Don’t think so. I think for BobEnergy to claim to customers they buy renewables they have to buy REGOs as well as electricity.
They don’t have to buy the REGO and the electricity from same place or at the same time however that’s the issue.
Hence BobEnergy can buy electricity from the open market, then later buy REGOs to balance out their usage.

That seems quite open to misdirection.

My question is does buying Good energy’s “Fair Trade” Electricity make a difference. As far as I can see wind and solar farms are being built because they make economic sense rather than because I signed up to a green energy tariff. I can’t find a figure for customers buying green but you’d guess it less than the 37% that would force new capacity.
 
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