The corporate and social responsibility to reduce carbon is forever rising in today’s market. How are we as consumers and businesses sure that the products we are purchasing or signing up to which claim to be ‘green’ are actually helping to create a cleaner zero-carbon future. Could our green energy efforts actually be a metaphorical wolf in sheep’s clothing?
What is renewable electricity?
As energy specialists, we often get asked what renewable energy is, is it ‘green’? it can be confusing as all energy is purchased from the wholesale market.
When purchasing an electricity contract that is 100% renewable, more than likely you will be paying a slight premium, unless the supplier provides it as standard and if so that will be stated on your contract.
Suppliers can offer renewable energy contracts by purchasing REGO’s (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) from the wholesale market. The REGO scheme provides transparency to customers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. Ofgem will provide a certificate for every megawatt-hour generated of eligible renewable output to generators of renewable electricity. The purpose of the certificate is to prove to the final customer that a given share of energy was produced from renewable sources.
What is renewable gas?
Renewable gas has become more of a talking point in recent months as it becomes more accessible in the market. Green gas (or biomethane) is made from biodegradable materials which can then be used in the same way as energy from fossil fuels – to heat your home or cook with. The biggest difference between green gas and traditional fossil fuel gas, is that biomethane is renewable and virtually carbon neutral, so it doesn’t contribute towards climate change. How is green gas made? Green gas is made by turning organic matter (like plants or vegetables) into biomethane, through a process called anaerobic digestion. This is where bacteria breaks down the organic matter in an oxygen-free environment.
How is carbon off-setting carried out?
Many suppliers also offer the option of gas and electricity contracts with carbon offsetting, this is a way of business reducing their impact on the environment. Suppliers can sign up to projects that offset the amount of carbon that is used. Organisation Carbon Footprint explain why carbon offsetting is so beneficial ‘Many of the carbon offsetting projects also provide additional benefits such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security, clean drinking water and health & well-being in developing countries.’
What is the future for energy?
As we all know renewable energy is going from strength to strength, wind, solar and will continue to grow The Guardian highlights ‘Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years’. But scientific research continues and new innovative sources of power are being discovered. Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered a fuel that can be made by an ‘artificial leaf’ that only uses sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, and which could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to gasoline. The university’s studies demonstrated that the carbon-neutral devise (the artificial leaf) directly produces the gas called syngas and was inspired by photosynthesis — the natural process by which plants use the energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into food. Cambridge University Website features full details.
If you want to ensure your business is actually contributing to a brighter greener future, making an impact and improving your green credentials as well as reducing your carbon footprint, contact us today; email@example.com / 02476 997901
Article written by Julie Plunkett-Dent, Business Development Manager