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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this article on the Scottish Power website appears to suggest that Octopus Energy's green electricity is 97% not genuinely green (under their proposed definition.


Scroll down to the graph where they write "We believe Anonymised Suppliers 2 and 3 are Octopus Energy and Smartest Energy respectively".

Either they don't know what "respectively" means, or they're saying only 3% of their green energy is green, assuming they're right about who the anonymous suppliers are.

Pretty disparaging and also rather hard to believe as it seems Octopus is the darling of the EV charging enthusiasts I've come across on this forum.

Probably if you understand PPAs and Certificates of Origin (which I don't) you may have an opinion on whether this is a manipulated claim.

Related: I am currently with Scottish Power and looking to switch as my (previously Tonik) tariff is coming to an end and Octopus have always seemed appealing in both price and greenness.
 

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Yes it all depends on your acceptance of the REGO system or not. This article is making the case for PPAs and CoOs and undermining the REGO system. There is some validity on both sides. There are only as many REGOs as can be supported by real renewably produced electricity. Since ALL of our power is pooled, if you have REGOs equivalent to the power that you sell then you can claim that your power is from the renewable bit of the pool...and somebody else cannot claim that about their power - it is fairly rigorous and zero sum.

The main argument against is that the companies buying REGOs will probably have little or no renewable generation themselves so they've just paid a fee to get a green label. The reason it could really help is that IF there was a significant demand for REGOs then there may not be enough to go round, their price would inflate, there would be incentive to invest in more renewables to produce more REGOs. However, we the market are, for the vast majority, more price sensitive than enviro sensitive, and there's actually very little demand for renewable tariffs if they are offered at a premium rate vs a bargain rate. Therefore with relatively low demand REGOs have stayed relatively cheap so companies can still turn a profit buying REGOs and trumpeting their green credentials while providing little incentive to develop or invest in more renewables.

One other point, netting out and settling up of all this happens in the summer which is when you'll find all of the startups start to go bust as they can't afford to settle up for the REGOs they committed to on their supply claims.

As usual with these things its mostly smoke and mirrors...
 

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If I run an organic fruit and vegetable shop, and I buy in the veg from a third party rather than grow it myself, does that mean my veg isn't organic? No, as long as my suppliers conform with the standards for organic veg.

It's the same with REGO energy. It meets the strict criteria for 'renewable' so it should be OK. Scottish Power have huge amounts of their own renewable energy, so that's what they are pushing as a selling point.
 

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The whole thing is a marketing game of smoke and mirrors, anyway. No consumer has a clue where their electrons come from, and if they are deluded enough to believe that somehow paying for a "green" tariff means that the electrons to their house will only come from "green" generation then that says as much about the gullibility of people as it does about the success of bullshit marketing. If you happen to live somewhere like the Orkneys, then there's a fair chance that most of your energy does really come from local wind generation, but for those living in the main population centres they will be getting a mix, and most of it will be coming from gas, coal and nuclear, no matter what they believe from their suppliers bullshit.

The whole reason these various "green" credential trading schemes exist is to hoodwink consumers, IMHO. Tariffs and all the various "green" trading chits are not the thing driving changes in generation, the major driver, bar none, is simple economics. It is far cheaper (as much as half the price) to generate energy from wind and sun than it is from nuclear, gas or coal. The reason so many wind and solar farms are springing up is because it is a very profitable business to be in, with a relatively short payback time. We will see growth in distributed battery storage as well, for the same reason, it's a very profitable thing to do. There are big profits to be made from arbitrage in the wholesale electricity market, and battery storage can have a remarkably short payback period (the big Hornsdale Power Reserve paid for itself in about 24 months, for example).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
.... No, as long as my suppliers conform with the standards for organic veg.
Which presumably Octopus's do? and Scottish Power are ignoring this fact on purpose? They aren't simply saying they don't generate their own green energy, they are saying the green energy they advertise is not green. The fact they can say this publicly and not get sued shows what nonsense the whole thing is. It's extremely misleading to the consumer.
 

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Reminds me of Clarkson reviewing a Fiesta "Is it green?" <cuts to shot of bright green car> "Yes."
 

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The way I look at it, the best you can hope for with a 'green' provider is really that they have open accounts that show the profits are going into renewable infrastructure investment - the day to day usage is as Jeremy and MPx mention, largely smoke and mirrors. But, I don't think it's an empty gesture. Some of these 'green' organisations are more transparent and more open to scrutiny, with less baggage than other energy organisations. There's certainly something in giving your money to Octopus over Shell for example...
 

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Which presumably Octopus's do? and Scottish Power are ignoring this fact on purpose? They aren't simply saying they don't generate their own green energy, they are saying the green energy they advertise is not green. The fact they can say this publicly and not get sued shows what nonsense the whole thing is. It's extremely misleading to the consumer.
The definition of 'green' that Scottish Power is using is:

  • Suppliers that can truly back up their 100% green tariff claims are those that:
    • Generate their own renewable electricity, with an internal Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to match the renewable electricity those assets generate with the electricity their customers use on these tariffs.
    • Buy their electricity direct from a renewable generator in the UK through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Other suppliers can call their energy green if it is backed by REGO certificates. REGO stands for Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin. The clue is the word 'guarantees'. Ofgem wouldn't let a supplier call their product renewable if it wasn't.

So, are other suppliers 'greenwashing' or is Scottish Power 'virtue signalling'? I think the latter.
 

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So there might be a nuance to this that Scottish Power have chosen to ignore or misinterpret.

Octopus Energy is only the retail business of Octopus Group. Octopus Group also includes Octopus Renewables business. The latter business being one of the largest owners of renewables energy infrastructure in Europe.

Scottish Power's business is vertically integrated with Renewables generation division, distribution division and retail division all within one business.

ETA nuances of wording.
 

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The whole thing is a marketing game of smoke and mirrors, anyway. No consumer has a clue where their electrons come from, and if they are deluded enough to believe that somehow paying for a "green" tariff means that the electrons to their house will only come from "green" generation then that says as much about the gullibility of people as it does about the success of bullshit marketing.
Well, contrary to public opinion, electrons move very slowly indeed. An electron in a torch is unlikely to make it round the circuit before the batteries run out.

So, it may be possible that the electrons you get could have been supplied by a previous long defunct utility company. What matters, like ball bearings in a pipe, is that when an electron falls out of the end of the wire in your house a brand spanking shiny one, newly picked for freshness and recently polished, is pushed in to the other end by your supplier.
 

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From a ‘dumb’ consumer perspective, for me green energy is where my 1 kWh used has a one-to-one relationship with 1 kWh generated.

If the company isn’t spending any money on new renewables but living off existing production that’s fine by me. No reason producers and suppliers have to be the same company.

Green washing, again to me, is if there isn’t a link. So if 1kWh produced from a wind farm is sold as ‘brown’ and the REGO is sold separately I start to get a bit cynical.
 

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If I run an organic fruit and vegetable shop, and I buy in the veg from a third party rather than grow it myself, does that mean my veg isn't organic? No, as long as my suppliers conform with the standards for organic veg.

It's the same with REGO energy. It meets the strict criteria for 'renewable' so it should be OK. Scottish Power have huge amounts of their own renewable energy, so that's what they are pushing as a selling point.
Your analogy isn't right, it's more like: a farmer grows 100 organic carrots, each carrot comes with a certificate proving it was organically grown. He agrees to sell those carrots, but not the certificates, to Shop A. He sells the organically grown certificates to Shop B, who also buys 100 carrots from the market some or all of which may be non-organic. Shop B then sells the mixed carrots along with the organic certificates to his customers.

Which shop is selling the organic carrots? Shop A or Shop B ?

The problem is that the certificate proving something is X (X can be organic, green etc etc) has become separated from the underlying item, and because they are being sold to different people, both believe they have bought X.
 

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The whole thing is a marketing game of smoke and mirrors, anyway. No consumer has a clue where their electrons come from, and if they are deluded enough to believe that somehow paying for a "green" tariff means that the electrons to their house will only come from "green" generation then that says as much about the gullibility of people as it does about the success of bullshit marketing. If you happen to live somewhere like the Orkneys, then there's a fair chance that most of your energy does really come from local wind generation, but for those living in the main population centres they will be getting a mix, and most of it will be coming from gas, coal and nuclear, no matter what they believe from their suppliers bullshit.

The whole reason these various "green" credential trading schemes exist is to hoodwink consumers, IMHO. Tariffs and all the various "green" trading chits are not the thing driving changes in generation, the major driver, bar none, is simple economics. It is far cheaper (as much as half the price) to generate energy from wind and sun than it is from nuclear, gas or coal. The reason so many wind and solar farms are springing up is because it is a very profitable business to be in, with a relatively short payback time. We will see growth in distributed battery storage as well, for the same reason, it's a very profitable thing to do. There are big profits to be made from arbitrage in the wholesale electricity market, and battery storage can have a remarkably short payback period (the big Hornsdale Power Reserve paid for itself in about 24 months, for example).
I was about to say something similar...

also the national grid cant choose who gets green and who gets fossil fuel generated... the grid just supplies what is created.
What 'green' companies do it pay for the supply from the green sources and dont fund non green sources! As Jeremy says... its cheaper to produce green sources energy.

So what that means is your electricity supplied and what you consume, might not be from a green source (shock horror) but you are not going to pay for any production from non green sources ie fossil fueled generation.

As people stop paying for non green sources, then these dont get paid by national grid and so they end up supplying but without getting paid. (yeh like that happens in reality!!!)
If they are not profitable, they shut down!!!

Currently, we gather about 43% of our supply from fossil fuels (as seen over last year)... National Grid: Live Status
 

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With AC, do,electrons really move or just vibrate back and forth, so who is sending the strongest electron wave?
 

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Think of electroplating. That is actual atoms moving from A to B. It takes an age to move a fair number of them, far slower than the speed of light.
 

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Your analogy isn't right, it's more like: a farmer grows 100 organic carrots, each carrot comes with a certificate proving it was organically grown. He agrees to sell those carrots, but not the certificates, to Shop A. He sells the organically grown certificates to Shop B, who also buys 100 carrots from the market some or all of which may be non-organic. Shop B then sells the mixed carrots along with the organic certificates to his customers.

Which shop is selling the organic carrots? Shop A or Shop B ?

The problem is that the certificate proving something is X (X can be organic, green etc etc) has become separated from the underlying item, and because they are being sold to different people, both believe they have bought X.
Although there may be some cases of renewable energy being ‘sold twice’ the problem is not as widespread as you suggest. Especially in the UK we have a huge amount of renewable energy generation. I see the system moving from REGOs to PPAs to improve transparency. However, any energy company that does not have a large generation capacity will have to buy energy from a third party.
 

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Pretty disparaging and also rather hard to believe as it seems Octopus is the darling of the EV charging enthusiasts I've come across on this forum.
The 5p per kWh rate for 4 hours per night is the main reason that Octopus is the ‘darling’ of some EV enthusiasts, let’s be honest.

If it’s cheap enough, many won’t care whether the electricity is generated by burning kittens, just as long as it’s cheap. 😂

Free > Cheap > Market Rate > Green…

I think most people, contrary to the views of some, do actually know that if you pay for green electricity then you just get whatever is locally generated.

The main thing is that the concept is leading to a genuine increase in the amount of renewable energy generated, which is good for all of us.
 

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The 5p per kWh rate for 4 hours per night is the main reason that Octopus is the ‘darling’ of some EV enthusiasts, let’s be honest.

If it’s cheap enough, many won’t care whether the electricity is generated by burning kittens, just as long as it’s cheap. 😂

Free > Cheap > Market Rate > Green…

I think most people, contrary to the views of some, do actually know that if you pay for green electricity then you just get whatever is locally generated.

The main thing is that the concept is leading to a genuine increase in the amount of renewable energy generated, which is good for all of us.

It's not any sort of "green" concept driving the installation of renewable generation, it has always just been simple economics. The initial development costs were subsidised by grants, although those grants didn't need to last for long. The reason for those grants had more to do with replacing ageing generation infrastructure quickly, and at an affordable price, than it did with any environmental aspirations from government. Of course it's always good for any government or organisation to put some sort of attractive spin on what they are doing, but the big switch to renewables is wholly down to economics.

Right now, installing wind generation capacity, for example, costs much less than half the cost of installing nuclear generation capacity, and it's about 10% to 20% cheaper to install than CCGT generation. That makes it more attractive to investors than other forms of generation, so that's primarily why we're seeing such rapid growth in new wind farms. The other big attraction is that these new wind farms can amortise the grid connection costs (which are a big chunk of the total installation cost) by installing distributed battery storage. The added cost of a connection and space for batteries at a wind farm grid connection point is pretty small.

Domestic consumers aren't really that influential, either. UK electricity consumption has been dropping a lot over the past decade or so. It's now about 20% down on what it was 15 years ago, for example. At the same time, the competition between the supplier busineses has increased dramatically, so we now have dozens of suppliers all buying electricity at the same wholsale price and vying with each other as to how they can best attract customers. One consequence of this is that consumers now have no really easy way to compare the true cost of electricity for them for any of the more complex tariffs. The comparison sites are flawed - anyone who's handy with a spreadsheet, has detailed records of their half hourly consumption over a year or two and has the time to sift through supplier tariffs can quickly show this. Over the past three or four years none of the supposed "best deals" on any comparison site has actually been the best for us, for example. In fact, I've found that the best deals have been from suppliers that were way down the comparison site lists.
 
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