Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Switching to a renewable electricity tariff - 2020 update

This year has seen enormous changes and challenges in society. But the Climate Crisis is still the biggest one facing the world. With declarations of Climate Emergencies seemingly everywhere, it can be easy to think "well what can I do?"
Everyone needs to play their part - individuals, businesses, cities, countries. So what are the easy options? One that should be quite quick, easy and cheap is:

changing your electricity supply to 100% renewable. All you need to do is select one of the UK suppliers who currently offer an entirely renewable tariff.

Cutting carbon
On Scilly the average house uses about 6700 kWh (units) of electricity per year (Reference). To translate this to carbon emitted, this depends on the amount of renewable electricity in your tariff. The UK average is 45% renewables, some offer more, some less:
100% renewable  0.48 tonnes CO2e/year
45% renewable    1.64 tonnes CO2e/year
22% renewable    2.12 tonnes CO2e/year
(Ref: Farm Carbon Calculator)

The average UK carbon footprint per person is 9.1 tonnes CO2/person/year (Reference), so changing a standard electricity supply (based on an average of 2.1 people per house) will mean a roughly 10% reduction in carbon emissions - immediately.

How much will it cost?
The simple answer is - not much; in fact you may be saving money! It all depends on the tariff, but it may not be as much as you think.


What are my options?

The table below is from Which? and is a good summary of options. The market is changing all the time and this was done last year, but it should broadly be right. As you can see there are a lot of options, so choosing can be difficult. The webpage is really helpful in navigating through the different credentials of each provider 

It's worth noting that, whilst all the above companies supply 100% renewable electricity, there is a difference in ethics between them. This is explored well in this Ethical Consumer article

It really centres around how much the company is investing in its own renewables, and what the companies' core ethics are. 

In summary, changing to a renewable electricity supply is the quickest way to cutting 10% off your carbon emissions, often with very little - if any extra cost. So what are you waiting for?!

No comments: