Climate change is currently a hot topic and one of the ways you can do your bit is to change your household to GreenPowerTM Electricity.
However you have to be careful because there’s a big difference between how “green” different electricity plans really are and you don’t want to be trapped into a long term contract (typically 3 years) with a plan that costs more but makes little difference to climate change.
Australia is the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases amongst developed nations. As we are more and more likely to be held accountable for this greenhouse debt, minimising the impact on the environment and society makes good business sense today [and also sense for individual households]
What is Green PowerTM?
Green PowerTM is defined as: “a national accreditation program that sets stringent environmental and reporting standards for renewable energy products offered by electricity suppliers to households and businesses across Australia.
If you choose a government accredited GreenPowerTM product, your energy supplier agrees that the equivalent amount of energy you nominate is produced from renewable sources [such as wind, solar, biomass, hydro etc], avoiding the use of coal-derived power.
Energy suppliers’ GreenPowerTM products are independently audited so you can be sure your money is being well spent.
The GreenPowerTM tick [as seen on the top right hand side of this page] is your guarantee that your contributions are helping facilitate the installation of new sustainable energy projects in Australia.”
GreenPowerTM is delivered to your house or office in the same way as your existing electricity. There are no special adapters to use and no special equipment to install. All you need to do is contact your electricity supplier and ask about their GreenPowerTM options.
Different Kinds of Green PowerTM
Around 50% of household-generated greenhouse gases come from the use of electricity. Signing up to 100% GreenPowerTM means you can reduce your household emissions by around 50%.
The trouble is that there are lots of different “green electricity” plans offered by the various electricity companies, but only a few are TRUE 100% accredited GreenPowerTM and the real benefit to the environment is made by electricity companies offering 100% accredited GreenPowerTM plans and investing in “new” sources of GreenPowerTM like Solar, Biomass and Wind which are added to the electricity grid not just shuffling around energy from “old” existing renewable sources of power like the Snowy Hydro project.
An example of a set of solar panels station in the Flinders ranges, South Australia can be seen at right.
So when you decide which Green electricity plan to choose from the various providers in your state/territory make sure that they certify what percentage is real GreenPowerTM with a logo like the ones at right.
What if I can’t afford 100% GreenPowerTM?
If you can’t afford 100% Green PowerTM straight away, you can still make a difference by switching a percentage of your home power across to Green PowerTM – using even 10% Green PowerTM makes a difference and some electricity companies offer it at no extra cost.
Every bit of power we get from renewable energy not only helps the environment through less emissions, it also helps to support the companies that are doing the right thing and encourages other companies to start moving towards renewable energy sources.
Who Provides the Best GreenPowerTM Deal for Your Home?
You should be able to sign up for a 10% accredited GreenPowerTM plan for either no difference in cost to your current plan or a minimal increase. As the percentage of accredited GreenPowerTM in your electricity plan rises the cost does as well so shop around and see which plan suits your budget best. To the best of my knowledge there are currently plans offering: 10%, 20%, 50% and 100% accredited GreenPowerTM across the various electricity companies.
Step 2. Then see how the electricity companies in your area measure up in the Green Electricity Watch GreenPowerTM ratings and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) State by State GreenPowerTM Report Card
An excerpt from the WWF report shows that some people who think they’re choosing a real GreenPowerTM plan are getting a “Fake” plan instead because (quoting the WWF report):
These electricity products are believed to come from renewable sources that have been part of our electricity system for a very long time or are already part of legislated schemes – buying from them will not reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions or contribute to making more clean energy.
Don’t buy these if you want your electricity to come from new clean energy!
ClearAir – offered by Energy Australia
GreenFuture – offered by Energy Australia
Red Energy – offered by Red Energy