No matter what tariff a bill payer chooses, every house in the country pulls power from the national grid. About 37 per cent of that comes from renewables, with gas, coal and nuclear making up the rest. Energy companies can ‘green’ their supply matching the amount of power their customers use with power they buy from wind and solar sites they either own or have struck deals with. That is the approach Good Energy takes. It has been leading the charge against what it terms “greenwash tariffs”. “For every unit of power that our customers use, we match that with a unit that we have either generated from our own assets or bought from a renewable generator,” explains Kit Dixon, Good Energy’s policy and regulation manager. “That means that for every customer we sign up we have to go out and buy more power.” Ecotricity and Green Energy UK deploy a similar approach. But not all suppliers follow the same process. Many rely heavily on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (Rego) certificates to green their tariffs. Regos are issued by the energy regulator Ofgem to renewable generators like solar or wind farms whenever renewable power is put onto the grid. The problem is, Regos are very cheap, costing as little as 20p per MWh. They vary in quality. And they can be sold to suppliers without them also buying the green energy they represent. Offering a standard household a ‘green’ tariff only costs suppliers about a £1 in Rego certificates. Good Energy argues Regos therefore provide little incentive for renewable power generators to build more wind turbines and solar panels. “We did the maths on one of our own sites, and the revenue that we would generate from selling Regos alone would barely be enough to cut the hedges,” says Dixon.
iNews 22nd Jan 2021 read more »