Compare Energy Providers and Look into Going Green
Green energy means the energy was generated from a nature source, such as sun and wind. However, the term brown energy has been coined, referring to energy produced from polluting sources, such as oil or coal.
If you opt for a green energy contract, your energy provider has to ensure that the power you consume was actually produced and put on the network in a ‘green’ (viz. eco-friendly) manner. In other words: by opting for green power you have indeed had a positive impact on the environment and the future. Whether you’ll be consuming that ‘green power’ yourself is the only thing you can’t be sure of.
Is all green energy equally ‘green’?
Another moot point is just how ‘green’ so-called green power is. In Belgium, an energy supplier can market green power in two different ways:
He produces the power himself at his own production sites in Belgium and sells it to his customers;
He buys ‘certificates or guarantees of origin’ in Belgium or Europe. Such a certificate proves that 1 MWh of green power has been produced on the basis of renewable energy sources.
The most contentious aspect is the green power certificates. For example, the exact efficiency of the system and its usefulness has been called into question several times.
More fundamentally, the ‘greenness’ of the renewable energy sources has been contested. A biomass plant is, for example, a renewable source of energy, but how green is it actually if it burns wood pellets that are imported from Canada in big container ships? The same goes for solar panels: how ‘green’ are they if they are manufactured far away, in Chinese factories that are fired by pit coal?
Green does, therefore, come in many different colors. If you want to know how green your supplier is, then you’ll need to check his investment- and procurement policy. Some suppliers are very open about that, others much less. That transparency can, therefore, be a key selection criterion for finding the supplier that’s right for you.
Is every energy provider with green power contracts really eco-friendly?
After the energy provider has settled the levies, the costs for guarantees of origin and/or the production and transport, part of the remainder of your invoice amount is for him. He can invest that in carbon-based energy (such as pit coal- or gas-fired power stations) or, alternatively, in renewable energy (such as the sun or the wind).
So who then, do you think, is the most eco-friendly?
Your role in the energy transition