Environmentally conscious consumers now have the choice of either renewable energy plans or GreenPower accredited energy plans. Both types of plans enable Australian households to use energy from renewable energy sources. Some electricity providers offer both types of plans.
GreenPower is a joint initiative of several State & Territory government agencies that have joined together to run the GreenPower accreditation program. Set up in 1997 by the NSW State Government in conjunction with non-government organisations such as Greenpeace, and the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as the national energy industry, GreenPower encourages new investments in renewable energy.
The energy companies that supply Green Power are audited annually to ensure that the service provided still meets the requirements of this independent organisation.
The national GreenPower accreditation program sets the rules and requirements for energy suppliers who supply renewable energy products and want to market them to Australian consumers. These include:
- Renewable energy sources which meet strict environmental standards
- Renewable energy sources built since the introduction of the scheme in 1997
GreenPower agencies audit electricity retailers' sales and purchases as well as the electricity generators operations to ensure they meet the set accreditation criteria and to ensure that consumers get what they pay for.
GreenPower offers Australian residential users the unique opportunity to choose renewable energy to power their home. While most of the electricity on the power grid comes from coal fired power stations, which is a polluting and non-renewable source of energy, purchasing GreenPower accredited products means that energy suppliers must buy a minimum proportion of renewable energy on your behalf.
For example, if a household chooses a 50% GreenPower plan, their electricity supplier will have to purchase the equivalent of 50% of that household's energy usage from accredited renewable energy sources.
What's the difference between renewable energy and GreenPower?
Choosing either a renewable energy plan or a GreenPower plan will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is important to be aware that energy can be generated from renewable sources but not meet the requirements of GreenPower accreditation.
Such a situation often occurs because the source of the renewable energy was built prior to 1997 or has adverse environmental impacts. The most common examples of this in Australia are the hydro-electricity schemes such as the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Whilst the electricity generated in these schemes comes from water, which is a renewable energy source and does not create significant greenhouse gases, most of these hydro-electric schemes were built prior to 1997 and have also been judged to have had adverse environmental impacts because of the damming of rivers required to operate the schemes.
Renewable energy plans generally cost less than GreenPower plans but may not be quite as environmentally friendly and do not directly encourage investment in new renewable energy sources. We leave it to you to make the choice.
Why is GreenPower accreditation so important?
Unlike other schemes, GreenPower accreditation means that energy suppliers are purchasing renewable energy which is in excess of the existing mandatory requirements.
Electricity suppliers are already required by law to purchase between 2 - 3% of their energy supply from renewable sources. By purchasing GreenPower energy, the customer knows that this purchase is in excess of the mandated minimums.
How GreenPower accreditation works
By signing up to a GreenPower plan, consumers can elect to have between 10 - 100% of their electricity supply generated from renewable sources. There are 19 electricity suppliers around the country which offer GreenPower plans, covering a majority of the Australian population.
The Moneyhound energy section is powered by Switchwise, who have commercial agreements with several of these electricity providers and thus offers customers the opportunity to choose an electricity plan that offsets carbon emissions with renewable energy. We can help you find a cheaper deal on GreenPower in your suburb. Try the Switchwise powered calculator here on Moneyhound to start your switch to greener energy.
Using GreenPower in the home
Purchasing GreenPower accredited products means that energy suppliers must buy a minimum proportion of renewable energy on your behalf. For example, if a household chooses a 50% GreenPower plan, their electricity supplier will have to purchase the equivalent of 50% of that household's energy usage from accredited renewable energy sources.
It is important to note that you do not actually receive GreenPower electricity directly into your home. There is no way to separate the type of electricity that goes into your home from the electricity that goes into your neighbour's home. Instead, your electricity supplier will purchase a percentage of the electricity you use from renewable energy sources. The more households that use green power means the less our electricity comes from non-renewable sources in Australia. You will know that you have helped to make a difference in reducing your impact on global warming and climate change. In addition, you will help create a virtuous circle; the more that renewable energy is used the cheaper it becomes for all Australians.
There are close to 900,000 Australians who have chosen GreenPower plans, and their efforts in reducing carbon dioxide emissions has equated to taking over one million cars off the roads.
This information is kindly supplied by Switchwise.com.au
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