Currently, electric companies in the UK should include a minimum of 7% renewable content in their products. The goal is to achieve a 20% share in 2020.
Also to promote the transition to renewable electricity, the British government has launched a program known as Green Tariffs, to which you may adhere.
Solar and other renewable sources of power aren't still competitive enough; their producers need help to withstand the competition of fossil-fueled power plants. By subscribing to this program you will also be helping the transition to green electricity, by paying a small premium in your monthly energy bills (if you choose the Green Supply Tariffs option you will be buying a certain percentage of electricity coming from wind or other clean energy source).
Consumers who want to subscribe to this program may choose one of three options: 1) Green Supply Tariffs, 2) Green Fund Tariffs and 3) Carbon Offset Tariffs, involving three types of green projects that electricity companies can carry out. We explain them below.
Solar, wind, hydro and other renewables still need some sort of support. Electricity coming from fossil fuels is still cheaper, except in the case of wind, in regions with good wind resources. That support will speed the transition to more sustainable forms of energy.
Green supply tariffs: the power company will supply you (as a Green Tariff buyer) a set proportion of green electricity by every watt of power you use.
Green Fund Tariffs: the company undertakes the obligation to invest in a fund for new green power projects.
Carbon Offset Tariffs: the company assumes the obligation to invest the premium you are paying in energy improvement projects, new renewable energy facilities, tree planting projects, or other offsetting carbon projects.
Doubts about the UK Electric Tariffs
UK electric tariffs program deserves support. Many power companies are investing in new green energy projects, and consumers can boost the transition by helping them through the Green Tariffs program.
But many experts are also expressing doubts. Consumers may not be getting what they are paying for. As the Energy Trust organization puts it, the companies: “… are already obliged to supply green power regardless of whether you sign up to a green tariff.”It’s easy to sign up to the UK Green tariff program. Most energy suppliers have these tariffs, and you just have to require switching to a Certified Green Tariff.
How to avoid this trap? How to help - through the Green Tariffs program - the companies really committed with the transition for renewables?
The answer is: by knowing the policy of the different electricity suppliers, and by considering the advice of specialists in the field.