Decarbonising the energy system will limit the impacts of climate change and make a better future. The answer is to produce and consume low carbon energy. Switching to renewable energy helps drive this change whilst driving down carbon emissions from electricity consumed.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is generated through resources that replenish themselves over and over again. These are unlike fossil fuels, which are limited in supply and will eventually be depleted.
Renewable electricity comes from wind turbines, solar farms, wave, tidal and geothermal energy sources and hydroelectric plants. Currently, over one-third of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources.
There are also sources of renewable gas supply, which are sourced from methane captured from farms or sewerage facilities. Currently under 1% of gas in the natural gas grid comes from these sources.
Does switching to a renewable energy supply mean I’m consuming just renewable energy?
No. All energy is fed into national grid networks for electricity and gas. The electricity you use is drawn from those grids. However if you buy renewable energy, you are purchasing energy endorsed by a REGO certificate.
For every 1 MWh of renewable electricity created by a renewable energy generator, OFGEM (the energy regulator) issues a REGO Certificate, which is used to certify that the energy bought and sold is from renewable sources.
In buying renewable energy you can be assured that the equivalent of the energy you use has been created from a renewable source. This helps drive the renewable energy marketplace.
Does it matter who I buy from?
The options to switch are growing all the time with many mainstream suppliers providing a green tariff. You need to be careful when choosing your provider though, as some call their product ‘green’ or ‘eco’ when the energy is not 100% renewable. Check what percentage is renewable before you buy!
When you buy 100% renewable energy, this means it all comes endorsed with a REGO certificate. Some suppliers simply trade energy, with the origins of that energy being difficult to determine. There are others who produce all their own energy, and you can be guaranteed of how it was supplied.
Often REGO certificates and the electricity won’t necessarily be sold together. Some suppliers will buy renewable electricity but not the REGO certificate. There can be REGOs leftover that other suppliers can buy to make their power appear green, when in fact they’re supplying brown (non-renewable) electricity on the wholesale market.