How to get your electricity from renewable sources

As a business, cutting your energy consumption is crucial in helping to reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

One way to do this is to switch to green tariffs, electricity tariffs that are generated by renewable sources such as solar panels or wind turbines.

This can help to reduce your carbon footprint and make your business more environmentally friendly.

Green tariffs

A green tariff is a type of energy plan that enables businesses to reduce their energy consumption.

The tariff works by ‘matching’ the energy that a business purchases with renewable energy bought on their behalf by an energy supplier.

This helps to encourage businesses to switch to cleaner energy sources (like solar, wind, and hydroelectric) and reduces the overall demand for energy generated from fossil fuels.

Over half of all new electricity tariffs launched are now labelled as ‘green’ or ‘100% renewable’.

A green tariff can be a great way to set your business apart from others in terms of sustainability.

Purchasing green tariffs on top of methods to reduce energy consumption can also help your business to save money.

Not only do you benefit from reduced costs, but you can also gain a competitive edge from improving your energy consumption.

When considering green tariffs, it is important to choose the option that best suits your needs.

The greenest tariffs are those where your supplier buys renewable 'green' electricity and has the corresponding certificates directly from the generators.

This ensures that you are getting your energy from a sustainable and secure source.

GEUK, Ecotricity, and Good Energy are all companies that operate in this way and are transparent about where their electricity comes from.

Different types of Green tariff

When it comes to choosing an electricity supplier, it's important to be aware of the different types of green tariffs available.

It’s worth remembering that not all green tariffs are 100% renewable energy.

Some tariff suppliers are backed by the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme, this provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.

The certificate shows what percentage of the energy generated came from renewable sources and how much came from so-called brown energy sources.

Brown energy sources (also known as brown power) are fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil.

A green tariff from a mixed-source supplier may divert some potentially 'dirtier' energy towards your business so it's important to remember that these tariffs don't necessarily lead to increased support for renewable generation.

Another issue is ‘greenwashing’.

Some companies claim to supply 100% renewable energy by simply buying excess REGO certificates to offset any energy generated by fossil fuels.

These cheaply available certificates are available at times of excess production across the European Union, which means that little is done to encourage the generation of renewable energy in the UK.

If you're interested in supporting renewable generation, speak to your supplier to ensure their tariff is 100% renewable.

This way, you can be sure that your business is supporting the growth of renewable energy.

Other ways your business can go green

You could also implement ISO 50001:2018 as an energy management standard, ensuring that your business is compliant with the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme, further improving your energy efficiency.

All of this leads to tangible ways to reduce your company's carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices.

With the cost of energy soaring for businesses across the country, being green is not only good for the planet – it can also make good business sense.

Changing the source of your energy is a big step in becoming net zero but don’t forget the small steps too.

Other ways to reduce your energy consumption include swapping to energy-saving LED light bulbs and switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

By looking at how you use your energy as well as where it comes from, your business can make a big difference in the fight against climate change.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Green Decoder

Featuring a glossary of sustainable terms curated in partnership with the Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, our green decoder is helping smaller businesses decipher the terminology surrounding decarbonisation.

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