How renewable is your renewable energy?

Increasingly, suppliers are offering renewable energy contracts to attract customers who want to make environmentally conscious decisions. However, not all renewable energy contracts are the same. Whilst we are all receiving the same energy mix from the grid regardless of whether we choose renewable or not, some customers with all good intentions are being mis-sold ‘renewable’ contracts that are in fact ‘greenwashed’.

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘greenwashing’, it refers to the process by which non-renewable energy can be sold as renewable. How does this happen? All renewable generators receive renewable energy guarantee of origin certificates (REGOs) from Ofgem for each unit of power generated. These certificates can then be bought along with the energy. However, some suppliers buy from non-renewable sources and then purchase REGOs to ‘greenwash’ the power and sell it on as renewable energy. A recent article in The Times highlighted this murky practice.  Renewable doesn’t always mean clean. The Times suggests that green certificates can be bought for as little as 93p per customer and they can then claim their supply is green.

Going green or becoming carbon-neutral are hot topics for UK businesses trying to improve sustainability. For some, it could be to address commitments within Environmental, Social and Governance or Corporate Social Responsibility policies. For others, it could be the simple desire to protect the planet for future generations. When looking at carbon emissions, energy choices can make a significant difference to achieving carbon neutral goals through efficient energy consumption and choosing a renewable energy supply.

At CNG, we provide 100% green gas as an alternative to natural gas for customers wishing to make environmentally sensitive choices. We source our gas from UK renewable generators and buy certificates for all renewable energy purchased. For businesses looking to be more sustainable and tackle climate change, understanding the source of the energy you buy is essential. If you want 100% renewable, make sure you dig a little deeper before entering into a contract to make sure you don’t accidentally fall victim to ‘greenwashing’.