Who is the Greenest Energy Provider in Australia? | Finder

Australia’s greenest energy companies

Which Australian power companies really care about the environment? Find out with the Finder Green Awards.

So who are the greenest providers? See list of greenest providers
What makes an electricity provider green? Learn more

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We launched the Finder Green Awards in 2020 to recognise environmentally friendly companies in a range of the categories that we compare. We know that lots of our customers are passionate about taking action on climate change but when it comes to industries like energy, insurance or banking it's not always clear which companies are actually doing their bit. The Finder Green Awards solves this problem and gives you the answers you need.

With limited publicly available data in this space we decided to make this a submission-based awards program and sent entry forms to every provider we could think of in each of the categories we announced. We were delighted with the response, making it hard to pick finalists in each category. You can find a full list of winners and finalists on the Finder Green Awards hub page.

So who are the greenest providers?

  • Powershop was the winner of the Green Energy Retailer of the Year award for traditional retailers
  • While Energy Locals won the Green Energy Retailer of the Year award in the retail-only category.

Both companies really impressed us and this guide will unpack why.

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Powershop: Greenest provider (Traditional)

Powershop is one of the heavy hitters in the renewable energy space so it's no surprise that it came out on top in this Finder Green Awards category. It generates 100% of electricity from zero emissions electricity sources like wind farms and it also offers carbon-neutral plans at standard for all customers in Australia. Not only this but it has impressive environmental targets in place and has launched a number of innovative initiatives to support clean technology in Australia such as launching a "Super Off-Peak" tariff to support customers who are charging their electric vehicles at night.

Honourable mentions in this category should also go to the other finalists Red Energy and Origin. Red Energy scored particularly well for generating over 90% of its energy from renewable sources while Origin continues to offer government-backed GreenPower at some of the lowest prices on the market.

Here's how Powershop performed in a number of key areas of the Green Award.
CategoryMetricWhy it does well
Emissions from energy generation assets

(60% of overall score)

Emissions intensity of generationPowershp came out on top here as it only owns renewable energy generation sites like the Mt Mercer Wind Farm. This means 100% renewable energy and zero emission.
Renewable energy generatedAgain, Powershop came out on top here. None of its energy comes from coal or oil, with 100% of it produced by renewable sources.
GreenPower, carbon offsets and support for clean technology

(20% of overall score)

100% GreenPower price and customer uptakeOrigin was the cheapest when it comes to the additional cost of getting 100% GreenPower. Powershop had the highest proportion of customers choosing to pay for 100% GreenPower though.
Carbon-neutral plansEvery single one of Powershop's energy plans are certified carbon-neutral, so it got the maximum score available in this category.
Average price on solar feed-in tariffsHigher solar feed-in tariffs reward customers for greater solar generation. Powershop and Red Energy both scored well here.
Corporate environmental performance, reporting and targets

(20% of overall score)

Emissions intensityPowershop scored the best in this category, with the fewest tonnes of CO2 emitted per million dollars of revenue.
Renewable energy usedPowershop got full marks here by walking the talk and using 100% GreenPower in its corporate offices in Australia.
Public emissions reduction targetThe public emissions target set by Powershop was the most impressive of all three companies promising to halve its operational emission by 2030.

Energy Locals logo

EnergyLocals: Greenest provider (Retail-only)

Energy Locals rose to the top in the retail-only category despite only being in existence since 2016. Since then it has made sustainability one of its main focuses and this has resulted in some amazing outcomes. In particular it was its efforts in promoting clean technology that set it apart. It offers a strong feed-in tariff rate for solar customers and is leading the way on demand management through its partnership with Amber. It has also played a pivotal role in the South Australia virtual power plant which is creating a very innovative approach to energy storage. It offers carbon-neutral energy plans at no extra cost to all customers and very competitively priced GreenPower.

Honourable mentions in this category go to the other finalist Enova Energy which is another young company making waves in the energy sector. It also offers carbon-neutral energy as standard and gives half of its profits back to the community via energy efficiency, education and community projects. It couldn't match Energy Locals for support for clean technology but it's certainly one to watch for the future.

Here's how Energy Locals performed in a number of key areas of the Green Award.
CategoryMetricWhy it does well
GreenPower, carbon offsets and compliance with Renewable Energy Target(52% of overall score)100% GreenPower price and customer uptakeEnergy Locals and Enova Energy both offer affordable 100% GreenPower options for less than 4 cents per kWh. Energy Locals had the highest proportion of customers choosing to pay for 100% GreenPower though.
Carbon-neutral plansBoth Energy Locals and Enova Energy both got full marks here for offering certified carbon-neutral plans to all customers as standard.
Support for clean technology

(28% of overall score)

Average price on solar feed-in tariffsSolar feed-in tariffs effectively pay customers for energy from their solar panels that the custom doesn't use. Energy Locals came out top here offering very competitive rates for this energy.
Support for energy storageEnergy Locals came on top here thanks to the role it is playing in the South Australia "virtual power plant" which is on the cutting edge of energy storage innovations in Australia.
Support for electric vehiclesEnova Energy scored well here thanks to its involvement in supporting the Byronshire Council for EV charging stations within Byron Bay
Support for demand responseEnergy Locals scored highest here thanks to its partnership with Amber Electric which offers a spot price pass through model that enables customers to take advantage of spot wholesale prices and recommends good and bad times to use or conserve power.
Corporate environmental performance, reporting and targets

(20% of overall score)

Emissions intensityBoth Energy Locals and Enova Energy scored well in this area with less than 1 tonne of carbon emissions emitted for each million dollars of revenue.
Renewable energy usedEnergy Locals came on top here with over 70% of the energy it uses as a company coming from renewable sources.

What makes an electricity provider green?

Hopefully this guide has given you an idea of how we assess energy retailers on how sustainable they are. There are lots of confusing phrases in this space though so what do they all mean?

The different types of green energy

Green energy is an umbrella term for energy that's created from renewable sources like wind farms and solar panels. There are lots of people that want to buy green energy in order to do their bit for the planet, but the options available can be confusing. Solar panels aren't a viable option for all, and the remaining green energy options from Australian retailers can leave you wondering whether you've actually made an impact. The three main types of green energy you will here are:

  1. GreenPower
  2. Carbon neutral
  3. Green ratings

GreenPower vs carbon neutral vs green ratings: What are the key differences?

GreenPowerCarbon neutralGreen rating
What is it?A government scheme that funds renewables through your energy plan.Retailer-led programs that buy carbon credits to offset your energy usage.A comprehensive rating system that gives retailers an overall score for sustainability.
How good is it for the planet? It's the gold standard in Australia and the only way to guarantee that you're buying 100% green energy.Reduces carbon emissions but not necessarily through renewable energy. It's still better than nothing.Retailers rated above 4 stars take broad and serious action towards preventing climate change.
How much does it cost? Between 4c and 9c extra per kWh for 100% GreenPower.Select retailers offer this at no extra cost. AGL has an option for $1 a week.No additional cost for choosing a highly rated retailer.
Which retailers offer this? Almost all retailers in Australia – ask yours today for a quote.Energy Locals, Powershop, DC Power Co, Energy Australia (opt-in), AGL (additional cost).Powershop (5 stars), Diamond Energy (5 stars), Energy Locals (4 stars), Enova (4 stars).

GreenPower

What is GreenPower?

GreenPower is a government-led green energy scheme. If you opt for 100% GreenPower with your energy plan, then your retailer will buy certificates from government-approved renewable energy sources such as wind or solar farms to match your energy usage. This does not change the actual electricity that keeps the lights on in your home, but effectively, you'll be buying completely green energy. You don't have to go all-in, as retailers offer a variety of GreenPower plans to choose from, from 10%, 20% or 50% plans, right up to 100% plans.

How good is it for the environment?

GreenPower is the only government-accredited green energy scheme and it offers a very sustainable option for those who can afford to pay a little more for their energy. Buying GreenPower will mean you're doing your bit to increase renewable energy generation in Australia. Since 2009, GreenPower business and household customers have saved more than 9.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases from going into our atmosphere. That's the equivalent of taking more than 2.9 million cars off the road for a full year.

How much does it cost?

GreenPower is billed on top of your normal energy bill and the price differs depending on where you live and who your retailer is. As of October 2019, 100% GreenPower will cost you between 4c and 9c more per kWh. The average home in Australia uses about 4,200 kWh a year, so that equates to around $252 more per year for the median GreenPower option.

Who offers GreenPower?

Most retailers in Australia offer some kind of GreenPower option.


Carbon neutral

What is carbon neutral energy?

Carbon neutral energy means that the environmental impact of the energy you use will be offset by your energy retailer with carbon credits. Carbon credits are generated and sold by projects that reduce carbon emissions. These projects can include a mix of things from tree planting schemes to renewable energy generation, so a carbon neutral energy plan will reduce global emissions but does not always lead to more renewable energy generation. We've got more information on what carbon neutral means here.

How good is it for the environment?

Carbon offsets are a bit of a last resort when it comes to reducing your environmental impact. It's better to try and reduce your energy usage or find a way to source renewable energy. However, carbon neutral energy is better for the planet than energy that is not carbon neutral and it comes at a price that should make it affordable for all.

How much does it cost?

The good news is that a number of providers (like Powershop and Energy Locals) offer carbon neutral energy to all customers for free. Energy Australia will also give you carbon neutral power for free, but you have to request this directly. AGL also offers a carbon neutral option through that's certified by Climate Active, but you will have to pay $1 a week for it.

Who offers carbon neutral energy?

Powershop, Energy Locals, Energy Australia, AGL, DC Power Co.


Green energy guide ratings

What are green energy ratings?

The green energy ratings shown on our energy tables offer a different way to think about green energy. Produced by Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre, these green energy ratings are taken from the Green Electricity Guide and are designed to give an overall score for how green an energy provider is.

The calculation used factors in the elements mentioned above such as GreenPower pricing and carbon offsets, but it also includes lots of other factors including emissions intensity and support for fossil fuels. Altogether, this gives the most comprehensive representation of how sustainable each energy retailer is. You can find out more about the Green Electricity Guide and how each retailer scored here.

How good is it for the environment?

Retailers with a high green energy rating will have a significantly lower impact on the environment than those with a low rating. By buying your energy from a retailer that takes its impact on the planet seriously, you're sending a signal to all the other retailers that they need to follow suit.

How much does it cost?

There is no additional cost for choosing a retailer that scores well in the Green Electricity Guide. In fact, many of the top-rated providers are able to offer very competitively priced plans.

Who has the best green energy rating?

Powershop is the highest-rated energy provider. It's soon followed by Diamond Energy, Energy Locals and Enova. AGL is the best rated out of the big three.


So, which type of green energy should you choose?

If you've read this far, then chances are that protecting the environment is important to you. This means that working out which option is best for you will depend mostly on your budget.

If you're an eco-warrior with some spare change to throw at the issue, then it's worth noting that the three options are not mutually exclusive. You can choose a 100% GreenPower plan that is also carbon neutral and sold to you by a retailer with a high green energy rating. If you go this route, you will quickly find yourself looking at plans from retailers like Powershop and Energy Locals.

If you're more conscious of cost, then carbon neutral energy or a lower percentage of GreenPower could be the best option for you. This will reduce your environmental impact without breaking the bank. If you're already with Energy Australia, then carbon neutral energy at no extra cost could be just a phone call away.

And finally, if you haven't changed your energy provider recently, then it's quite likely that you could find a green energy plan that is actually cheaper than your current deal. So here's your timely Finder reminder to head over to our energy pages to check your options and ensure you're getting the best plan for you.

Looking to go eco-friendly? Check out Finder Green

Compare GreenPower certified retailers

Name Product Electricity availability Gas availability Features Customer service rating More details Details
1st Energy
1st Energy
NSW, VIC, QLD, TAS
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
Red Energy
Red Energy
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, ACT
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
Sumo
Sumo
NSW, VIC, QLD
NSW, VIC
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees
Go to site
More infoView details
OVO Energy
OVO Energy
NSW, QLD, SA
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
N/A
N/A
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Go to site
More infoView details
Carbon-neutral provider with no exit fees. You can also earn interest if you use less than your ‘calculated average’. Go to site to learn more.
Enova
Enova
NSW
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees
More infoView details
QEnergy
QEnergy
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
Synergy
Synergy
WA
WA
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees
N/A
N/A
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees
More infoView details
Dodo
Dodo
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA
NSW, VIC
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
  • Credit card fees
Go to site
More infoView details
Amber Electric
Amber Electric
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, ACT
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
N/A
N/A
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
More infoView details
Powershop
Green Company
Powershop
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA
VIC
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
2020 Finder Green Award Winner (Traditional brand).
Alinta
Alinta
NSW, VIC, QLD, SA
NSW, VIC, SA, WA
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
Lumo Energy
Lumo Energy
VIC, SA
VIC
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing

Customer service rating

Customer service rating
  • GreenPower
  • Solar
  • Monthly billing
Enquire now
More infoView details
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If you're not sure what the best way to go green is, the best place to start is in your home. Did you know you can switch to a green energy provider even if you’re renting? Or that making your home more energy-efficient is good for both your hip pocket and the environment? Check out the latest guides, comparisons and news for everything you need to know about making the switch.

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