How to switch to 100% renewable power – Act today!

Blog, Guest Blog – Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Off-shore wind farm

Our first guest blog has been written by friend of the CCCA, Paul Gehres, a carbon professional with over 7 years of experience working on climate and sustainability issues for companies. Paul has summed up nicely how to take action on your carbon footprint by simply purchasing renewable energy. By putting these steps into action you can reduce your business footprint and support the decarbonisation of the UK energy grid. (The CCCA will explain how to properly account for this change in your annual carbon emissions inventory in our next CCCA breakfast workshop on the 7th July – sign up today!).

Original post written by Paul Gehres and posted on 1 June 2016 at www.paulgehres.com/blog

UK-based, want to fight climate change, but feeling helpless?
Switch to 100% renewable power.

Thought about offsetting your organisation’s impact, but overwhelmed by the complexity and jargon of the carbon offset world?
Switch to 100% renewable power.

Seeking to push your business towards a more sustainable model, but need some quick wins to boost your confidence?
Switch to 100% renewable power.

Green, climate-friendly electricity is available to UK consumers today. Yet far too many are unaware that this option exists and that you could take positive action today!

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘100% RENEWABLE POWER’?
Over half of UK electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. Over 80% comes from either fossil fuels or nuclear power. Less than 20% of electricity is generated by renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydropower.

Traditional power companies will buy a mix of energy from different sources. The path from traditional electricity generation to your electric bill looks like this:

Electricity generated — Distributed across power lines — Consumed by households — Charged in electric bill

Electricity generated — Distributed across power lines — Consumed by households — Charged in electric bill

Green electricity’s pathway is similar, but with a crucial difference at the beginning:

Energy transfer to your work

(Green) Electricity generated — Distributed across power lines — Consumed by households — Charged in electric bill

In the UK, switching to green power is an administrative change of ‘who sends the bills’. Your new electricity bill payments will purchase kilowatt-hours of renewable zero-carbon power.

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT BUYING RENEWABLE POWER?
Renewable electricity produces zero greenhouse gas emissions when generated (e.g. when the wind blows or the sun shines).
For example, let’s say you’re a medium-sized UK company using 500,000 kWh of electricity per year. If your energy company buys electricity from a coal-fired power plant, generating your power directly produces approximately 154 tonnes of CO2 emissions. If your energy company buys only renewable electricity from wind farms, generating your power produces zero direct CO2 emissions.

That’s a big deal. Buying 100% renewable power means your office or facility can use electricity but avoid the CO2 emissions that usually result from power generation. New energy-efficient appliances like a monitor or refrigerator might reduce your climate impact by 5%. But purchasing green power reduces your impact by 100%.

HOW DO I START?
(1) Find a green power company that you like

There are many options in the UK. The folks at Ethical Company compiled & reviewed a list of green energy tariffs. At the time of posting, the following companies offer a 100% renewable electricity tariff (in – mostly – alphabetical order):
Ecotricity & Good Energy – these are two mature, well-known green power providers in the UK. Both are worth mentioning up front as veterans of the sector who actively explore innovative green ventures (e.g. generating green gas, electric vehicle recharging)
Bulb Energy
Green Star Energy
LoCO2 Energy
Ovo Energy
• … and more I’m sure!

(2) Check out a few websites and find a provider you like
In addition to the companies above, the organisation uSwitch has a comparison tool on its website.

(3) To clarify any questions about the switch, contact your preferred provider by phone or online to discuss the switch
Confused.com offers a nice overview of the switching process (ignore the upselling). Be mindful that you’ll have to pay any unsettled bills to your old provider.

(4) To proceed with the switch, complete their online web form and they will guide you through the switching process
It’s that easy. In a month, you’ll be with a new provider.

FINAL THOUGHTS
In conclusion — find a provider that resonates with your values and budget, and join the movement!

Stop paying hard-earned cash to a generic energy company. Your bills can pay for green electricity. Some providers even use your payments to build new renewable electricity & gas infrastructure right here in the UK.

So stop delaying. It’s 2016. The Paris COP has come and gone. Get off the bench, get in the game. Your business can help to finance a better world by switching to 100% renewable power!

 

End note: The companies and websites listed in this blog are free to use are are provided to aid readers. Paul Gehres and the Camden Climate Change Alliance donot receive any compensation for the mention of them, or clicks, or any other affiliate programmes.