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Renewable energy, also known as green energy, is energy that replenishes itself from nature, such as solar, tidal or wind. Did you know renewables make up 30% of the UK’s energy mix, having risen 5% in just the last quarter of 2017 alone? If you’re interested in renewable energy, you can look for a ‘green’ electricity tariff. However, you’ll still get your electricity from the National Grid, so even if you get a green tariff the electricity coming into your home won’t come completely from renewables.
Regular energy comes from fossil fuels. They release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. ’Going green’ can help the environment as renewable energy is pumped back into the National Grid – so it’s worth checking out. You don’t have to get all your energy from renewable sources. You could compromise and find a supplier that supports environmental projects or sources just some of its energy from renewables. Alternatively, you could make your own renewable energy. There’s been a lot of press around how the way some suppliers get their green energy emits about the same carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Of course, even electricity generated from renewable sources has some impact on the environment – think of the manufacture, installation and operation of the equipment. Some companies, therefore, also give details of the overall carbon content of their electricity.
We’ll include green tariffs in the list of plans when you complete your comparison request. They’ll be shown alongside all the other great deals in your results – so you don’t have to worry about specifically ‘going green’ with your search criteria. You’ll also be able to read about the supplier and see features explaining how green they are. Suppliers can offer up to 100% green energy. If they offer a mix of energy (some renewable and the rest from traditional sources), then they have to be up-front about the percentage mix so that you know what you’re getting
There are basically two types of green tariff:
Ways to do it include:
For more on generating your own green energy, see the Energy Saving Trust
Potentially, yes. Although there’s usually a large initial cost for installing energy-generating technology, there are long-term savings to be had. Firstly, you’ll save money on your bills because you’ll be making your own power. Plus, under a government scheme called feed-in-tariffs (FITs), you could be paid for the electricity you generate. If you’re eligible for FIT payments, for every unit of energy that you make yourself, you’ll receive what’s known as a ‘generation tariff’. Then, for every unit you don’t use and sell back to the National Grid, you’ll get a payment called an ‘export tariff’. The amount of money you’ll get back per unit of energy you create or sell is set by Ofgem.
The feed-in-tariff (FIT) is a government scheme for people who generate their own electricity using renewable or low carbon technology. Any excess energy created is sold back to the National Grid.
Most green technology aimed at households – such as solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectricity (energy from water) –will entitle you to FIT support. How much money you could get back via the FIT scheme depends on how much energy you generate, and how much you sell back to the National Grid.
Payments can only be made by a FIT licensee. Most of the big energy suppliers are licensees but if in doubt, check. Find out more about generating your own energy in our guide to solar power.
Switching energy supplier doesn’t mean anything has to change regarding your feed-in-tariff set-up. Your electricity supplier doesn’t have to be the same as the one that pays you under the FIT scheme – you can keep the two separate from each other. So, there’s nothing to stop you searching for a better deal on your energy and keeping your FIT agreement as it is.
Alternatively, you can switch your FIT agreement as well, although this won’t affect the amount of money you get because that’s set by Ofgem. Just make sure before you switch, your new provider is happy to oblige and make the payments to you.
Take a look at some of our guides: