Switching to a green energy provider will significantly reduce your carbon footprint overnight. Not only that, but you will be investing in systems that help us move to a greener future.
In Australia nearly 80% of our electricity is still generated from non-renewable sources like coal and gas. Burning these fossil fuels generates lots of carbon dioxide which we know is a major cause of climate change. Moving to a renewable energy plan is an extremely powerful and impactful thing to do as an individual. The more Australians that choose renewable energy, the less demand there is for fossil fuels!
Energy is extracted from a range of sources (i.e burning coal or natural gas, solar, wind, hydro), converted to an electrical current and then transmitted to businesses and homes via the electricity grid.
Unless you generate your own electricity (e.g. through solar panels), the electricity you use comes from the grid. The grid transmits electricity generated from renewable and nonrenewable sources, so it's impossible to choose renewable-only electrons for your home. However, by purchasing renewable energy, you guarantee that the volume of electricity you use has been fed into the grid from renewable sources.
In other words, when we purchase renewable energy, that money goes towards purchasing more units of power from a renewable source.
So...if every home and business in Australia purchased renewable energy, there would be no demand for fossil fuels!
The term ‘green energy’ in the context of home electricity usage encompasses several options to reduce your carbon footprint. BUT they’re not all equal from the perspective of a clean energy future. One day we hope that all our electricity comes from renewable sources, but until that’s possible, we also rely on ‘offsetting’ products.
Here are the ‘green energy’ options for your home starting with the best:
The world of 'green energy' is confusing and can be overwhelming. Let’s break down some of the common terms:
This does not mean that the energy is sourced from renewables, but that the emissions from the electricity you use is offset using carbon credits.
A carbon credit funds a project that reduces or removes CO2 emissions elsewhere. For example reforestation, renewable energy, energy efficiency.
These carbon offset (or credit) projects can vary in technology, location and quality. At trace we understand the variation in quality of carbon offsets and know this can be tricky for a customer to navigate.
It’s a good idea to check how the company offsets the energy to make it carbon neutral - they may or may not disclose the credits and therefore the projects they support. Look out for externally certified or verified carbon offsets (or credits). This is a certification of the offset project itself.
You can also look out for a company certification which verifies the energy company's claims are true. It means an external body has certified that for every unit of renewable power you purchase they are offsetting that amount exactly through an externally certified offset project. An example of this is The Climate Active government programme.
This is government certified renewable energy specifically in Australia. Paying for GreenPower means that your retailer ensures renewable energy is added to the Australian grid on your behalf. You can read more about GreenPower here.
Most retailers, even those that offer non-renewable plans, offer a GP product. The great thing about GP is that it is directly funding the energy transition for Australia.
This is often used when the power is partially or fully offset or renewable. It is not a specific term. Be careful with this one - make sure the claim is substantiated.
Moving to any form of carbon neutral or renewable energy plan is a step in the right direction. If you can, switch to a renewable only provider that puts the planet-first so you know that you are funding a greener future for power in Australia.