Green energy for your church and home

Photo by Arteum.ro on Unsplash

Many of our members have asked, ‘What is the greenest energy supplier to use?

Disclaimer: Buying green energy is complicated and rapidly-changing – this is our understanding of the situation in May 2021.

July 2021 update: Good Energy has written this blog on greenwashing. NB this is written by Good Energy, so they will write it from their point of view, but it is useful for helping to understand REGO certificates.

From the research we have done, the best companies seem to be:

Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Energy UK 

These are the most longstanding renewable energy companies. They only sell tariffs backed by 100% renewable electricity and supply a proportion of ‘green gas’ (from biomethane). Ecotricity uses money from its customers’ bills to fund new renewable generation. Good Energy buys its electricity from more than 1,600 independent renewable generators. Green Energy UK sells 100% green gas.

Next best seem to be:

Bulb, Co-operative Energy, Engie, Foxglove, Octopus Energy, People’s Energy and Ripple.

NB. Octopus Energy is 20% owned by an Australian fossil fuel company, so is no longer an Ethical Consumer Best Buy. Co-operative Energy and Ripple are owned by Octopus.

More detail

A Green Christian member, Judith Hyde, has put together this spreadsheet that also includes the Ethical Consumer score from February.

Ethical Consumer, which uses slightly different criteria to Which?, March/April 2021 edition recommends Green Energy, Good Energy, Ecotricity, Octopus, Co-operative Energy (but does not score highly) and Ripple as Best Buys.  BULB and People’s Energy, although they are rated highly are not listed in the Best Buys. 

What about Parish Buying?

Parish Buying, the Church of England’s recommended purchasing platform, says its energy is green. However, it uses Total Gas and Power which is 5% coal, 6% nuclear and only 32% renewables: https://www.gas-power.total.co.uk/information-centre/energy-essentials/fuel-mix-disclosure

Total are also digging new oil wells in central sub-Saharan Africa in National Parks, with unfortunate results for wildlife, vegetation and local people (who are being displaced). 

Bedtime reading

The Big Clean Switch has some good blogs. You can also switch through them.

Excellent article from 2019: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/09/how-green-is-your-energy-tariff/

Update from 25 march 2021: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-companies/article/energy-companies/how-to-choose-the-best-energy-company-aOpXt2w0re4F#renewable-energy-companies

Ethical Consumer looked at all this this February 2021. You need to subscribe to get the final rankings, but the top 3 are still the same: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/energy/shopping-guide/energy-suppliers

More information on renewable energy including the fuel-mix of the various companies: https://www.greenelectricity.org/about-green-tariffs/

A good piece in the FT on energy suppliers ‘greenwash’: https://www.ft.com/content/09852350-e938-4bfb-9a18-ed72c062b091

And another blog: https://www.greenbuying.co.uk/howgreenisyourenergy.php

Places to go to check costs for different options and switch

https://www.greenelectricity.org/ and choose Big Clean Switch

https://switchit.money/

(NB ethical criteria is again different to that of Which? and Ethical Consumer)


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Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 6 May, 2021 | Category: Climate Emergency Opinion | Comments: 3


Comments on "Green energy for your church and home"

Pearl Luxon:

September 17, 2021

Please check out Social Energy too!

Linda Johnson:

June 17, 2021

The only truly green energy is that which you generate yourself and store for future use. This is because we have only one grid (well, one for gas and one for electricity). You cannot guarantee what comes out of the grid into your home or church unless you know exactly what has been put into it. As not all electricity or gas is generated from renewable or sustainable sources, then any claims that what you are using is 100% green are not strictly true. Although producing ‘green’ gas is not easy, generating electricity from solar and using battery storage can be cost-effective for homes and churches, especially if coupled with a smart meter and ‘agile’ tariffs, such as those from OctopusEnergy utilised to fill the battery with cheaper fuel when the sun isn’t shining.

Joan Orman:

May 17, 2021

The Parish Buying website claims that the electricity they have negotiated is 51% onshore wind, 30% offshore wind and 19% solar. So is this entirely down to REGO certificates? Our treasurer gave me these figures when I queried the current supplier.

Clive:

May 7, 2021

Helpful. Thank you. Just expanding some of the concerns over people using Total via Parish Buying or maybe via other platforms. I haven’t used Big Church Switch or Church buying but know the same broker (2Buy2) who runs the energy brining offer in Parish Buying runs those other sites. Lack of disclosure of Totals status could lead many churches of any denomination involved in funding climate change, environmental destruction and other humanitarian abuses. Total Gas & Power /Total Group are involved in many other major new fossil fuel extraction projects. Mozambique- Cabo Delgado where the conflict between groups has been refuelled by Total’s LNG project at Palma. Ugandan new Lake Albert project. South Africa - Knysna coast-Total’s Garden Route project plans which will impact environment and cause displacement of indigenous people of South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia. Total is involved in humanitarian abuses in the funding of Myanmar military via its Yadana field and has been sued over past forced labour abuses. In Tanzania & Uganda - environmental organizations from France & Uganda sued Total for human rights abuses and environmental damage. Finally French local authorities & organisations have sued Total in a climate change litigation - inadequacy of its climate commitments with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.


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