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Green Energy

Climate Impact:

What you can do

Switch your electricity and gas supply to a green energy tariff.

Who's doing it?

0 people

Climate impact

Switching to a green energy tariff can reduce your personal emissions by approximately 1 tonne of CO2 per year. It also changes demand in the energy sector - helping to drive the transition to a clean energy future.

The energy used to heat our homes, cook our food and power our appliances accounts for approximately 30% of the average person's annual emissions. A green tariff means that the electricity you buy is 'matched' by purchases of renewable energy. Many clean energy providers also offset the carbon emissions associated with any continued gas provision.  See impact calculations.

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Additional benefits
  • Gas and electric costs may be reduced

  • Easy to switch - only takes 5 minutes

  • Reduced national reliance on fossil fuels from other countries

Challenges
  • None

Resources

Tips
  • Use social media to tell your previous provider that you're leaving to get cleaner energy elsewhere.

  • Switch through the above links to get money off your first bills and generate referal fees for Snowball so we can reach more people.

Facts and further information
  • In 2018 one third (33%) of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources [1].

  • When you switch to a green energy provider, it does not mean that all your electricity then comes from renewable sources. There is rarely unused capacity in renewable energy facilities, so the energy you consume may still be generated by burning fossil fuels. However, good green energy providers ensure that for every unit of energy you use, a unit is produced and put on the grid by a renewable source. This helps compensate your emissions and drives the industry towards renewable energy. 

Ask the Green Energy group
 
Impact assessment

Typically green energy providers ensure that for every unit of electricity you use, a unit of renewable electricity is put on the grid. When using gas for heating and cooking, many providers offset the emissions generate by burning the gas, through regulated offsetting programs (ie tree planting schemes). For our impact calculations we will assume that a typical UK household is switching from a standard fossil fuels based energy tariff to a green energy tariff as described above. 

Calculations
Average gas used per household per year [2] = 12,500 kWh
CO2 emissions per kWh of gas used [3] = 0.185 kgCO2/kWh
Therefore, average household gas emissions = 2,313 kg CO2

Average electricity used per household per year [2] = 3,100 kWh
CO2 emissions per kWh of electricity used [4] = 0.283 kgCO2/kWh
Therefore, average household electricity emissions = 877 kg CO2

Estimate percentage reduction of gas emissions from green tariff = 75%*

Estimate percentage reduction of electricity emissions from green tariff = 66%**

Household gas emissions on green tariff = 578 kg CO2

Household electricity emissions on green tariff = 290 kg CO2

Total household reduction in emissions from switch = 2,322 kg CO2

Average number of people per household [5] = 2.3

Therefore reduction in emissions, per person, from green energy switch = 1,010 kg CO2 = 1 tn CO2

*Whilst gas emissions are offsetted by the energy provider, offsetting programs can take time to implement and sometimes are unable to effectively offset all the associated emissions. Furthermore, offsetting is a temporary stop-gap solution for a wider problem that cannot be solved through offsetting by rather relies on decarbonisation. Accordingly, we have applied a 75% gas emissions reduction when switching to a green tariff.

**As the electricity that comes out of your plug on a green tariff is likely still produced from fossil fuels it is inaccurate to assign a 100% reduction in associated emissions. However, assuming a perfect market, where an additional and equal unit of renewable energy is added to the grid for every unit of electricity used in the household, we have assumed that this demand drives a shift towards renewable energy with a 66% efficiency.
 

References
  1. UK Department for Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy

  2. https://smarterbusiness.co.uk/blogs/average-gas-electricity-usage-uk/

  3. https://www.carbonindependent.org/15.html

  4. UK Government report on energy mix (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/726911/2018_methodology_paper_FINAL_v01-00.pdf)

  5. https://www.statista.com/statistics/295551/households-in-the-united-kingdom-uk-average-size-by-country/