SERIOUS MONDAY: JUST HOW GREEN IS YOUR “GREEN” ELECTRICITY?

New rules are being introduced to make it easier for consumers to choose “green” electricity tariffs that deliver extra benefits.

According to the government, some suppliers don’t offer many benefits other than satisfying their legal obligation to use renewable energy sources – whereas others also make a contribution to environmental projects or the fight against climate change.

So it is planning a new ratings system that will distinguish between the potential benefits of different green tariffs. That way, you’ll know whether you are paying more just because it’s renewable energy or whether the cost includes extra environmental actions by your supplier such as planting trees.

Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, says: “I want to make sure that the green tariff market is clear for consumers.” 

He has now written to energy companies asking them to provide “the clearest possible information” about the environmental benefits of their green power and has asked energy regulator, Ofgem, to help collect information for the proposed ratings system.  

He said electricity is like any other product – people want to know what they are paying for – and this applies especially to a green tariff because it often costs more than traditional electricity.

The Carbon Trust says it supports the move because the green tariffs market is unclear and some tariffs deliver minimal extra carbon savings.

It says the sector suffers from significant double counting problems – and it’s essential that the benefits of renewables can be accurately reported by businesses towards their carbon reduction targets.

• The government has also just  announced a new round of biomass grants for  farmers and producers.

Grants of up to £200,000 will be available to support the biomass industry in England which ministers say has the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and cut our carbon emissions.

The grants will apply to a range of crops  including willow, poplar, alder, ash, hazel, lime, grass and straw.

Susan

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