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The best green energy supplier for you may be slightly different to the best green energy supplier for your friends or neighbours. It’s all about what you value most as an energy consumer. Let us show you everything that our team considers when we choose the best green energy supplier and tariff for your household.
Last update: June 2022
As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage driving up costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated on a daily basis you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.
Are you ready to save the planet? Don’t worry, you don’t need to have been rocketed to Earth from another planet or bitten by a radioactive spider to do this. You just need to think twice about your choice in energy supplier. Switching to a green energy supplier can drastically reduce your household’s carbon footprint and save you money. But which is the best green energy supplier? That’s a tricky question for a number of reasons. Fortunately, the Papernest team are here to help you find the answer.
What is green energy?
Just so we’re all on the same page, it’s worth discussing what we mean when we talk about green energy. Green energy is electricity that is sourced from 100% renewable means. There are lots of suppliers out there that offer green energy tariffs, but this doesn’t necessarily make them green energy suppliers.
Even the “Big 6” energy suppliers (British Gas, Scottish Power, EDF, SSE / OVO, E.On and N Power) now boast 100% renewable energy tariff, and an estimates 50% of tariffs on offer have at least some green credentials.
It’s important to note that not all green suppliers or tariffs are created equal. Some suppliers simply buy green energy from renewable sources and match what they sell to the customer with these purchases. This is known as energy matching. Other suppliers invest in their own green infrastructure so they can generate green energy themselves.
Why should I choose green energy?
Perhaps it’s easy to ask why you shouldn’t? As an energy consumer you won’t notice any difference between the energy from a green supplier and the energy from a supplier that provides energy from fossil fuels. And when the Papernest team help you to choose the best green energy supplier for your needs, you also get to enjoy the following benefits:
- Switching to a green tariff means you prevent over 1 tonne of CO2 from entering our atmosphere.
- Switching to a green energy supplier increases the demand for green energy and encourages the market to move away from fossil fuels.
- According to ClimateAction.org, if we all switch to renewable energy, we could reduce carbon emissions by 70% worldwide by 2050.
- The renewable energy market creates thousands of jobs every year, so choosing a renewable energy supplier can help to strengthen and diversify the economy.
- Given that many of the UK’s cheapest suppliers are also green suppliers, you could even save money.
Are there any disadvantages to green energy?
It’s clear to see that green energy tariffs are hugely beneficial for your household and the environment. But like all energy plans, they have some caveats. While we feel that they are more than offset by the benefits, we include them here so that we can help you to make an informed decision for yourself:
- While you certainly can save money with a green energy supplier, some plans are much cheaper than others. Which is why a helping hand in choosing the best green energy supplier for you is always worth considering.
- Energy suppliers need to spend a lot of money on investing in green energy and buying Renewable Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates. Because the industry operates on wafer-thin margins, the cost can (and has) put some smaller suppliers out of business. Green Network Energy is one such recent casualty.
- The land used for renewable infrastructures like solar and wind farms could potentially take up space needed for agriculture or rewilding.
- Some consider the appearance of wind turbines and large solar arrays to be a blight on the natural beauty of the British countryside.
What kinds of green energy are there?
Green energy comes from a range of different sources. Some green energy suppliers use energy that exclusively comes from one source (usually because they’ve invested in their own green energy infrastructure) while some purchase energy from a mix of different fuels.
Sources of green energy include:
Most of the UK’s green energy comes from wind farms. In fact, the UK is actually the world’s leading supplier of wind energy with an impressive 24,000 Megawatt (MW) capacity.
Aside from the 800,000 homes throughout the UK that use photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate energy, we also have a sizeable network of solar farms. These use the same kind of PV solar panels as domestic users, but on a much larger scale. There are 425 of these solar farms all over the country. Combined with the nation’s domestic solar panels, they have a total capacity of 13,000 MW.
We may be known for our grey and gloomy climate, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t generate renewable energy, whatever the weather.
Hydropower is perhaps the lowest contributor to the UK’s renewable energy fuel mix. In the third quarter of 2020 (the most up-to-date figures at the time of writing), the UK generated just 1.12 tWh of energy from hydropower. Nonetheless, it is very useful when it comes to generating quickly and efficiently to augment the National Grid during times of peak demand. There are also micro hydropower systems at work all over the country, generating energy for households that are close to moving bodies of water.
Finally, biomass is energy that’s generated from burning renewable sourced wooden pellets. This may not seem like a carbon-neutral energy fuel at first glance, but the plants that are the source of biomass energy capture as much CO2 through photosynthesis when they grow as is released when biomass is burned. Thus making it a carbon-neutral energy source. It’s also an efficient way to deal with the problem of waste wood, of which the UK generates around 8.5 million tonnes every year.
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List of green energy suppliers
Before we can choose the best green energy supplier for you, we need to introduce you to the green energy suppliers that are available. In the table below, we have included the energy suppliers within today’s market that offer 100% renewable energy. Most also offer either green biomethane gas or carbon-offset gas. More on that shortly.
Please note that these are not the only suppliers that offer 100% renewable tariffs. However, each has a completely renewable energy fuel mix, with no fossil fuels or nuclear energy present. Some larger suppliers may offer at least one renewable tariff yet still have fossil fuels present in their mix.
For each green energy supplier we have included a brief description, and their current Trustpilot score at the time of writing.
|Supplier Logo||Supplier Name||Supplier Description||Supplier Trustpilot Score (/5)|
|Bristol Energy||Bristol Energy is the last of the municipally-owned power companies, generating 100% electricity and supporting local communities.||3.5|
|Bulb||Bulb is one of the most popular renewable suppliers on the market, providing affordable renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas. They also have just one variable energy tariff that offers excellent value for money.||4.6|
|Click Energy||Click Energy is one of the most popular renewable suppliers in Northern Ireland and has branched out into England, Scotland and Wales.||2.9|
|Ecotricity||Ecotricity is currently the nation’s only 100% vegan energy supplier with no energy coming from animal sources. Not even their renewable biomethane gas (all of which comes from plant waste). They provide 100% renewable electricity, most of which comes from wind farms.||3.4|
|Green Energy UK||Green Energy UK provides both 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral biomethane gas, with no exit fees or lengthy contracts.||4.5|
|Good Energy||Good Energy is, in fact, the UK’s first renewable supplier, bringing clean energy to UK households since 1999. They also now offer 100% carbon-neutral gas.||4.1|
|Gulf Gas & Power||Gulf make it easy to manage your account with helpful digital tools to go with their renewable electricity and carbon-offset gas.||4.5|
|M & S Energy||The popular supermarket chain also offers green energy and gas in association with Octopus Energy.||4.9|
|Octopus Energy||Octopus Energy has caused quite a stir in the energy market since its arrival in 2015, winning multiple “supplier of the year” awards in recent years. They combine 100% renewable energy and carbon-offset gas with acclaimed customer service.||4.8|
|Orbit Energy||Although it’s part of petrol giant Shell, Orbit Energy offers 100% renewable energy tariffs including a tracker tariff that’s linked to Ofgem’s energy price cap.||3.8|
|OVO Energy||After acquiring “Big 6” supplier SSE in 2020, OVO became one of the country’s biggest suppliers. It is also one of the biggest to offer 100% renewable energy.||4.2|
|Outfox The Market||Outfox The Market combines 100% renewable wind energy with a proactive approach to pricing that ensures that customers always get market-leading rates..||4.6|
|Pure Planet||Because Pure Planet is a “digital-only” supplier they have no call centres, and no costs associated with running them. So they can pass their savings onto you. Worth a look if you don’t mind managing your account online.||4.6|
How to compare green energy suppliers
Green is the new black. That is to say, it’s very fashionable these days for energy suppliers to make eco-consciousness and renewability at the forefront of their branding. But how do you know the truly green energy suppliers from the savvy marketeers?
Needless to say, the Papernest team can help you to cut through all the marketing bluster and find the best green energy supplier for you, with a tariff that’s carefully matched to your needs and priorities as an energy consumer.
But how do we compare green energy suppliers when we’re trawling for the best deal on your behalf? Here are some of the questions that we will consider when find you a green tariff:
- Is 100% renewable electricity offered across all of their tariffs, or just some of them?
- Does the supplier have a 100% renewable energy fuel mix? Even suppliers that offer green energy tariffs may still have the presence of some fossil fuels or nuclear energy in their fuel mix.
- Is the natural gas that they supply carbon-offset?
- Do they use carbon-neutral biomethane gas as well as / instead of carbon-offset natural gas?
- Do they just sell on green energy, or have they invested in generating their own?
Who is the cheapest green energy supplier?
At Papernest, we understand that in looking for the best green energy supplier, many energy consumers are, in fact, looking for the cheapest green energy supplier. But the cheapest energy supplier for you may not be the cheapest for your best friend or even your next door neighbour.
There are numerous factors at play from your location to how much energy you use (and when you use it) to the type of meter you have. That said, we can look at some of the cheapest green energy tariffs on average.
In the table below, you’ll see some of the cheapest tariffs from the cheapest suppliers. Estimated annual usage is based on unit rates averaged out across the country. We assume that you use both gas and electricity, with a moderate consumption of 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Each tariff’s estimated annual spend is compared to the Ofgem Energy Price Cap, which currently stands at £1,042 per year across both gas and electricity:
|Supplier & Tariff||Estimated Annual Spend||Savings Against Energy Price Cap|
|Octopus Energy Octopus 12M Fixed||£940.71||£101.29|
|Outfox The Market Fix’d 20||£904.44||£137.56|
|Pure Planet 100% Green Fixed 12 month||£888.92||£153.08|
Which is the best green energy supplier?
Again, the best green energy supplier is a very personal thing. It all depends on what you value the most in a green energy supplier. Are you looking primarily to save money? Or are you willing to pay extras for a supplier with real green credentials? Which supplier will give you the best range of tariffs or offer a tariff that’s best suited for your needs?
- If you’re looking for a cheap supplier, choose Bulb, Outfox The Market, or Pure Planet.
- If you’re looking for a supplier with great green credentials, consider Ecotricity, Bristol Energy, or Green Energy UK.
- If you’re after great customer service, choose Octopus Energy or OVO.
- If you want a tariff that gives you more freedom, choose Bulb or
Of course, the experts at Papernest can take the time to find the perfect supplier and tariff for your needs. So you can switch energy plans with complete peace of mind.
Who has the most balanced energy mix?
|Energy Supplier||Energy Fuel Mix|
|Bristol Energy||Wind, solar and hydro (percentages not disclosed)|
|Bulb||78% wind, 18% solar, 4% hydro|
|Good Energy||53.9% wind, 28.4% biomass, 13.4% solar, 4.3% hydro|
|Ecotricity||97.42% wind, 2.07% hydro, 0.51% solar|
|Green Energy UK||Solar, biomass, hydro and wind (percentages not disclosed)|
|Octopus Energy / M&S||75.3% wind, 21% solar, 3.7% hydro|
|Orbit Energy||Wind, solar and hydro (percentages not disclosed)|
|Outfox The Market||100% wind energy|
|OVO Energy||Wind, solar and hydro (percentages not disclosed)|
|Pure Planet||89% wind energy, 11% solar|
Who supplies green gas?
|Energy Supplier||Green or Carbon-Offset Gas?|
|Bristol Energy||Green gas|
|Green Energy UK||Green gas|
|Octopus Energy||Carbon-offset gas|
|Pure Planet||Carbon-offset gas|
Who supplies the cheapest green gas?
That will depend on your area, your gas consumption, and the tariff that you ultimately choose. However, if you’re looking for 100% green gas, you’ll be able to get it from any of the following:
- Bristol Energy
- Green Energy UK
The Papernest team can help you to determine which is cheapest for you.
Which is more important: Energy match, Green investment or Carbon-offsetting?
In truth, these are all important and necessary steps towards creating a more renewable energy market. But it could be argued that energy matching and carbon-offsetting are interim measures.
Energy matching is good. But suppliers investing in generating their own green energy is better. By the same token, carbon offsetting is good. But investing in being able to generate biomethane is better as it is not only 100% carbon neutral but can help aid in the battle against industrial and agricultural waste.
Will making my own energy save me money?
Almost certainly. Although most UK homes that generate their own energy do so with PV solar panels, you could also potentially generate energy with a domestic wind turbine or a hybrid system that collects both wind and solar energy. If you live close to a body of water, you may also be able to install your own micro hydropower system.
Not only can generating your own energy save you money, but it can also make you money. Whatever energy you don’t use to power your own home can be stored in batteries or fed back into the national grid. Your energy supplier will pay you for this. The mechanism by which this was paid is called a feed-in-tariff (FiT). These are lengthy contracts (usually around 20 years) between energy suppliers and consumers.
However, these have now been phased out for new applicants. While FiTs will continue for those who already have them in place, newcomers will get paid via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) instead. This works just the same, but the rates are slightly different. Rates for the SEG range from 1p to 5.5p per kWh.
Of course, if this is something you are interested in, the Papernest team can help you combine the best rates with the cheapest energy prices.
If I switch energy supplier, what will happen to my feed-in-tariff?
Don’t worry, you’ll still retain your feed-in-tariff or Smart Export Guarantee. Your arrangement remains in place, no matter who supplies your energy. So you can switch suppliers as often as you want (Ofgem recommends switching every 12-18 months) without needing to worry about losing your FiT or SEG.
How can I get the cheapest Green Energy?
Sure, you could trawl through the market to find the best green energy supplier on your own. But why not let the Papernest team search on your behalf? We can scour the energy market to deliver a green energy plan that’s perfectly aligned with your needs, preferences and priorities as an energy consumer.
Better yet, we can manage your switch for you from end-to-end. So you can enjoy cheaper, greener energy sooner with no hassle whatsoever.
Sound like a plan?
Why not give us a call right now on 0330 818 6225.
We’re available from 8am to 6pm.
Find out more about green energy suppliers here:
What’s a feed-in-tariff (FIT)?
A feed-in-tariff is the mechanism by which energy companies pay their customers for renewable energy that they feed into the grid. This usually comes from PV solar panels, but it can also come from domestic wind turbines or micro hydropower systems.
However, these tariffs have been phased out for new applicants as of January 2019. They have been replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee. This works exactly the same as a feed-in-tariff, but the rates paid are a little lower.
Can I get green energy if I have a prepayment meter?
Yes, absolutely. Most of the green energy tariffs on the market accommodate prepayment meters for those who prefer the Pay As You Go approach. Our team can help you to find the perfect green energy tariff for you, whatever your meter type.
Can I get my energy straight from renewable generators?
Alas, no. The energy that comes into your home is a mix of different kinds of energy from all kinds of different sources. When you sign up to a green energy tariff, your supplier matches your contributions with purchases of renewable energy. The greenest thing to do is opt for an energy supplier that generates their own green energy like Green Energy UK, Good Energy or Ecotricity.
How do you measure the greenness of a supplier?
Not all green energy suppliers are created equal. If you’re looking for the greenest possible energy supplier, you should choose one that:
- Has a 100% renewable energy fuel mix
- Generates its own renewable energy
- Offers 100% carbon-neutral gas
Updated on 15 Jun, 2022
Energy Specialist & Copywriter