Crackdown on 'green' energy deals that rely on fossil fuels

Crackdown on ‘green’ energy deals that rely on fossil fuels: Tariffs claiming to be eco-friendly will be reviewed over fears some benefits are exaggerated

  • 9 million UK homes on tariffs branded as 100 per cent renewable or eco-friendly 
  • But experts say claims are misleading, accusing companies of ‘greenwashing’ 
  • Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates offset use of fossil fuels 
  • But energy companies don’t have to reveal how much of their energy is based on 

Electricity tariffs that claim to be ‘green’ will be reviewed by the Government over concerns that some firms are exaggerating their environmental benefits, it was announced today.

There are about nine million UK households on tariffs branded as 100 per cent renewable or eco-friendly.

But experts warned the claims may be misleading. They have accused companies of ‘greenwashing’ by marketing their tariffs as environmentally friendly when some of the energy they supply is from fossil fuels.

Pure Planet said its electricity is classed as renewable in line with watchdog Ofgem rules

They can do this by purchasing Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates to offset the use of fossil fuels, with each certificate guaranteeing a similar amount of green energy is produced by a renewable generator. 

But energy companies do not have to reveal how much of their energy is based on the purchase of certificates or how much is directly from renewable sources, such as wind farms.

Options being explored include looking at whether the system around these certificates needs to be smarter, as well as whether suppliers need to provide clearer information to households about their green tariffs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the energy minister, said: ‘An amazing nine million households have sought to cut their carbon footprint by signing up for green energy tariffs. 

‘But anyone looking to make this move needs to be certain they are backing companies that make a conscious choice to invest in renewable energy. 

‘That’s why today, I’m launching a review to make sure companies are delivering on what they promise.’

Energy companies do not have to reveal how much of their energy is based on the purchase of certificates or how much is directly from renewable sources

Earlier this year, consultancy firm Baringa Partners found the worst culprits for ‘greenwashing’ include Bulb Energy, Pure Planet and Shell Energy. 

It found as little as 3 per cent of the power supplied by them is ‘genuinely green’.

Pure Planet said its electricity is classed as renewable in line with watchdog Ofgem rules. 

Bulb said it only uses certificates that support renewable generators, while Shell said its customers can feel confident they are doing their bit to support renewable generation.

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