Last updated 4 March 2020
The number of providers supplying renewable energy in the UK has exploded in recent years, from a grand total of zero just ten years ago, there are now more than thirty companies pumping renewable energy into UK homes and businesses – including some of the big six.
Traditionally, energy providers have supplied mainly renewable electricity with gas still coming from traditional sources. However, a growing number of providers are now going 100 per cent renewable using biomass gas, or using innovative offsetting techniques to go carbon neutral.
Those who want to green their energy supply can choose between these smaller ‘eco-only’ suppliers, or larger suppliers who offer a renewable tariff that tend to be cheaper, but may also have fossil fuel energy on their books. Other things to consider include whether the providers are also building or investing in new supply, or simply using what is already there.
In the wake of a number of energy company collapses in recent months, you will also want to feel confident that the supplier is solid enough to stand the test of time. While we can’t predict the future, we do think the below are a good crop from a service, solidity, price and renewable commitment.
Here are six options to consider:
The UK’s largest investor in solar generation, Octopus has built over 150 solar farms in the UK, generating 40 per cent of our large-scale solar. It says its Super Green tariff is fully carbon neutral, offering 100 per cent renewable electricity and full carbon offsets for gas. It has the support of Friends of the Earth, which the organisation does not give lightly.
Named as Britain’s fastest growing company in December 2018, leading renewable energy provider Bulb offers ‘carbon neutral gas’ as well as electricity, with 10 per cent of its gas supply coming from biomass – or anaerobic digestion. All of its electricity supply is renewable, generated via hydropower. It’s also a B Corporation, which means it meets certain criteria for responsible business (and is kind of a big deal). The company has one ‘single tariff’ for gas and electricity, which is competitive when compared to the dread Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) with the big six, but is not the cheapest on the market.
Green Energy is the only UK provider supplying both 100 per cent renewable electricity and 100 per cent green biomethane gas. The former is generated from solar, wind and hydro while its gas is generated through anaerobic digestion using pig waste at the company’s Gask Farm site. It is certified by the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS), which tracks biomethane through the supply chain. The firm has 4 out of five stars based on 650 reviews on Trust Pilot.
A fairly new kid on the block, Pure Planet offers 100 per cent electricity and, like Good Energy, offsets the carbon impact from its gas supply (though doesn’t offer any biogas). It does this through trading Certified Emissions Reductions (you can read about them here). It’s got 4 out of 5 on Trustpilot and it’s totally app-based, with a 24/7 digital assistant called WattBot. Pure Planet claims to apply any mark-up to its tariffs and is also a living wage employer.
One of the original green energy pioneers, Ecotricity continues to push the renewable energy envelope with its plans to boost its current 12 per cent green gas offering with its green gas mills – the first of which has just been given the green light for construction. As well as 100 per cent renewable electricity, Ecotricity is also the only energy provider to calculate its entire footprint – per customer. It is also the only provider to be registered with the Vegan Society, promising that none of its biomass contains animal products.
Another old favourite, Good Energy also both generates and supplies renewable energy, with 100 per cent of its electricity generated by its wind and solar farms, as well as through hydroelectricty and biofuels. Around 6 per cent of its gas is renewable, with the remainder of its carbon footprint offset through schemes including biofuels in Vietnam, forestry projects in Malawi and small scale energy efficiency schemes in Nepal.
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