Who are the best green electricity suppliers?
Time to go green – find out how well these energy suppliers do when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the deregulation of the energy industry in Australia, smaller retailers have entered the market. The top three “green” energy providers are Powershop, Diamond Energy and Momentum Energy.
Background on Australia’s energy industry
Coal and gas-fired power stations are the main sources of Australia’s energy. Australia also has one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions per person on the planet.
Although paying for a more green energy company may be more expensive, in the long-run, it could actually be more beneficial. Ensuring that the planet is looked after could make paying that little bit extra worthwhile.
Best green energy suppliers
Powershop is a company of problem solvers dedicated to providing energy to houses and businesses in Australia and New Zealand. It is owned by Meridian Energy, a 100% renewable electricity company.
- Powershop is a strong advocate for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as opposed to other energy companies who are directly opposed to the RET.
- The Mount Mercer wind farm is the most recent Australian project which is capable of providing enough energy for the entire population of Ballarat - approximately 80,000 households.
- Powershop only owns renewable assets with zero emissions.
- This retailer also has the greatest GreenPower sales.
- Information on the efficiency of energy is not displayed clearly on its website.
- Price of 100% GreenPower is slightly cheaper than average.
- Diamond Energy only holds renewable assets with zero emissions.
- The company doesn’t participate in any interests concerning coal seam gas, coal generation or coal mining.
- Strongly support the development of the RET.
- Solar export prices are slightly above the state average.
- Small proportion of GreenPower sales relative to total sales.
Momentum Energy is owned by Hydro Tasmania and offers renewable energy on King and Flinders Islands to cut down on the use of diesel generators. Momentum provides energy in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia.
- The majority of assets are renewable and have a zero emission performance.
- Momentum is good at providing sustainability performance records in accordance to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
- The general offer is marketed as "renewable" but it's not accredited and it's competing with GreenPower.
- GreenPower, which is very expensive, is only available in conjunction with Momentum and its offer.
Did Australia’s big three energy companies score well on the green front?
Origin, AGL Energy and Energy Australia are the three main energy providers in the Australian market.
Origin is Australia’s biggest listed energy company. It provides services to over 4 million people. Origin has a number of gas plants but they also have a few solar farms and investments in hydropower. It is a major investor in coal seam gas (CSG) in Queensland.
Despite advocating a cutback in the RET in 2014, Origin promised to cut coal investments and no longer participate in coal investments by 2030.
Origin has the least expensive price of 100% GreenPower in comparison to other retailers. Its solar prices are slightly more competitive than the state’s average.
This is the second biggest energy provider in Australia. Recently, AGL invested heavily into CSG and expanded its coal power plants. Despite this, it has invested generously into wind farms and solar plants.
- AGL provides sustainability information in accordance to the GRI targets.
- Owns and currently developing new renewable energy generation.
- By 2050, AGL is committed to closing all coal-fired power stations.
- AGL will continue to invest into clean, renewable energy technologies.
- Still investing in coal stations and CSG with a bad emissions intensity.
- It does not support the maintenance of RET.
- The non-solar options are less expensive than the solar options provided.
Energy Australia is a foreign owned company and is the third largest provider to the Australian market. Due to the coal plants it has in Victoria and NSW, Energy Australia takes second place when it comes to carbon pollution in Australia.
- The products offered via the website are easy to grasp and very energy efficient.
- Against purchasing energy that is made by destroying native forests.
- Cost of 100% GreenPower is more cost effective.
- Supported the weakening of the RET.
- Still investing in coal plants and CSG.
- Emissions level above the NEM average.
What is GreenPower?
GreenPower is a government accredited renewable electricity, generated from a source like wind or solar and built since 1997. It is the only voluntary program that allows your electricity provider to purchase renewable energy on behalf of your business.
In your home
- Install low-energy LED and Fluorescent lights.
- Turn off lights that you're not using. Turn off all appliances that aren't in use to save more power.
- Dress appropriately for certain weather conditions and set your home temperature to 18-20 degrees celsius, if you can. Every one degree less will save about 10% on your heating bill.
- You can install heaters that target specific areas of your house so you can be more efficient with your heating and expenses.
In your business
- Consult an energy expert. Your expert will take a look at your energy spending and help you figure out what suppliers would be best for you.
- Computers have a standby mode which uses half the typical energy a computer would use.
- Laptops can save you more on your energy bill. They use roughly 85% less energy than desktops.