Comparing Green Energy Suppliers: A Guide

You don’t have to compare green energy suppliers alone. The Papernest team can trawl the market to find the very best green energy plan for your needs. But there’s no such thing as being too prepared. So, let’s take a look at how you can compare green energy suppliers, help the planet and potentially save money.
Last update: October 2021

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.

Energy consumers like you are superheroes. No, really! You have the power to change the world. And you can do it one boiled kettle, one episode of Friends, or one hot bath at a time. All you need to do is switch to a green energy tariff. It’s easier than ever to compare green energy suppliers. Find the right one for you, and you could prevent around 1 tonne of carbon from being released into our atmosphere every single year.

List of green energy suppliers

If you’re looking to compare green energy suppliers, there are plenty to choose from. Although Green Network Energy, unfortunately, went out of business in January 2021, there are still a great many other suppliers offering 100% renewable energy.

Supplier Logo Supplier Name Supplier Description Supplier Trustpilot Score (/5)
bristol-energy-logo Bristol Energy One of the last municipally owned power companies, Bristol Energy is 100% renewable and supports local communities. 3.5
bulb logo Bulb Bulb has a simple approach to pricing with just one variable rate tariff . They provide affordable renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas. 4.6
click energy logo Click Energy “Northern Ireland’s top energy supplier”, Click Energy is now available in mainland UK. 2.9
ecotricity logo Ecotricity Possibly the greenest supplier in the UK, Ecotricity is also the nation’s only 100% vegan energy supplier. They provide 100% renewable electricity and biomethane gas. They also support anti-fracking campaigns. 3.4
green energy logo Green Energy UK Green Energy UK is not necessarily the cheapest on the market. But they provide both 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral biomethane gas. 4.5
good energy logo Good Energy Good Energy is the UK’s first renewable supplier, and has been delivering clean energy to UK households since 1999. 4.1
gulf energy logo Gulf Gas & Power Gulf combine renewable electricity and carbon-offset gas with digital tools that make it easy for customers to manage their accounts 4.5
m&s energy logo M & S Energy The nation’s favourite posh supermarket has teamed with Octopus Energy to deliver renewable energy. 4.9
logo octopus Octopus Energy Octopus Energy has won multiple “supplier of the year” awards since coming on the scene in 2015. They have 100% renewable energy, carbon-offset gas, affordable tariffs and great customer service. 4.8
orbit energy logo Orbit Energy Part of Shell Energy, Orbit offers 100% renewable tariffs that can also help you stay ahead of the Ofgem energy price cap. 3.8
ovo energy logo OVO Energy OVO became one of the biggest suppliers in the UK last year after acquiring SSE. It also owns prepayment specialists Boost Energy and Spark Energy. 4.2
outfox energy logo Outfox The Market Outfox The Market offers 100% renewable wind energy. It constantly reviews wholesale energy prices and adjusts their prices accordingly to give customers great value for money. 4.6
pure planet logo Pure Planet Pure Planet is a “digital-only” supplier. Because they have no call centres, they can pass their savings onto you. 4.6

As you can see, there are a lot of green energy suppliers to choose from. But there’s no need to be bamboozled. The Papernest team can search through these suppliers to find a tariff that’s perfectly in line with your needs.

How to Compare Green Energy Suppliers

Which is the best green energy supplier?

That really depends on your personal priorities and circumstances. Are you just looking to save money? Or are you looking for the greenest possible energy supplier? Do you need to have over-the-phone customer service? Or are you happy to manage your account online?

The Papernest team will take the time to compare green energy suppliers on your behalf and match you with a tariff that’s perfect for you. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a good all-rounder, the following might be a good start:

  • Bulb
  • Octopus Energy
  • Good Energy

Who is the cheapest green energy supplier?

That depends on a few factors. These include your location, your usage, and what kind of meter your household uses. For your convenience, however, we’ve compiled a list of the cheapest green tariffs on the market in the table below.

Estimated annual usage is based on national average unit rates and assumes consumption of 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year. For each tariff, we’ll compare estimated annual spending to the Ofgem Energy Price Cap. This is currently £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
Bulb Varifair £923.26 £118.74
Outfox The Market Fix’d 20 £904.44 £137.56
Pure Planet 100% Green Fixed 12 month £888.92 £153.08

Who supplies green gas?

There are a number of green energy suppliers that provide either carbon-neutral green gas (i.e. biomethane), carbon-offset gas or a combination of the two. You can see them listed in the table below:

Energy Supplier Green or Carbon-Offset Gas?
Bristol Energy Green gas
Bulb Carbon-offset gas
Ecotricity Green gas
Good Energy Both
Green Energy UK Green gas
Octopus Energy Carbon-offset gas
Pure Planet Carbon-offset gas

How do you measure the greenness of a supplier?

This is a tricky one. There aren’t really set criteria by which we can measure a supplier’s greenness. What we can do, however, is ask the right questions. This is something the Papernest experts will do on your behalf when they compare green energy suppliers on your behalf.

When you tell us that you’re looking for the greenest possible energy supplier, we look at each of the suppliers on the market and ask:

  • Do they offer 100% renewable electricity across all of their tariffs?
  • If so, do they have a 100% renewable energy fuel mix? Some suppliers offer green energy tariffs, but they may still have some fossil fuels in their fuel mix.
  • Is their gas carbon-offset?
  • Do they use carbon-neutral biomethane as well as carbon-offset natural gas?
  • Do they invest in carbon-neutral or green energy projects at home and overseas to ensure a more renewable energy market in the future?

Who has the most balanced energy mix?

Green energy suppliers have different energy fuel mixes. Some offer energy from just one renewable source, while others use a combination of wind, solar, biomass and hydro.

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

Energy match, Green investment or Carbon offsetting: What’s the difference?

When you compare green energy suppliers, you’ll likely come across the terms “energy match”, “carbon offsetting” and “green investment. All of which are integral facets of running a renewable energy company. But what do they mean?

Energy matching

Energy supplier match the energy that they provide their customers with sustainable energy that they buy from wind, solar, biomass or hydropower generators around the country and overseas.

Green investment

Green investment can refer to both investing in green energy from verified sources, and investing in their own green infrastructure. Ofgem holds energy suppliers to account by ensuring that they supply Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates on the energy that they purchase.

Carbon offsetting

Not all suppliers are able to offer green gas, or offer 100% green gas. Where this is the case, they offset the carbon generated from burning natural gas elsewhere. This often comes in the form of renewable energy projects or carbon-negative projects at home and overseas, thereby making the gas carbon-neutral.

It is very important that energy companies continue to do all of these 3 things. Between them, these can help to create an energy market in the UK that is 100% renewable.

Comparing Green Energy Suppliers

What is green energy?

The term “green energy” refers to electricity that is sourced from 100% renewable means. This is purchased from green energy generators around the country and added to the fuel mix. Energy suppliers match the energy you purchase with energy generated from renewable sources.

What kinds of green energy are there?

There are several different ways in which green energy suppliers source their energy. When you compare green energy suppliers, you’ll find that some use a combination of the following sources, while some exclusively use only one. These are…

Wind

Did you know that the UK is the biggest generator of wind energy on the planet? Pretty cool, right? We currently 2,450 on and offshore wind farm sites along our coastlines, and at various points across the country. The biggest of these, Hornsea One, has the capacity to power a million homes all on its own. Not to mention all the homes and businesses that use small-scale domestic wind turbines.

The UK’s total wind energy capacity is an astonishing 24,000 Megawatts (MW).

Our energy experts are here to help

Free service - Available Monday to Friday from 8.30 am until 5.30 pm

Solar

Don’t let our reputation for drab and gloomy weather fool you! We produce an impressive 13,000 MW of solar power per year, come rain or shine. This includes the energy generated in large-scale solar farms as well as the solar panels on the rooftops of homes around the country.

Hydro

Hydropower may not be a huge contributor to the UK’s energy fuel mix, but it’s incredibly helpful in times of peak demand.

Biomass

Biomass energy is generated by burning sustainably sourced wooden pellets. While this generates a negligible amount of carbon, it’s far cleaner than burning coal or oil. What’s more, it’s a great way to deal with the problem of waste wood, of which we generate 8.5 million tonnes per year.

In the third quarter of 2020, we generated 8.77 terawatt hours of energy through biomass.

Can gas be green, too?

Absolutely! Many green energy suppliers offer gas that is either carbon-offset by other activities the supplier carries out at home and overseas, or 100% carbon-neutral. This carbon-neutral gas comes in the form of biomethane which is derived from renewable sources like animal, plant and farm waste.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a green energy plan?

Green energy suppliers are the future. There’s no question about it. But like all energy tariff, a green energy plan comes with some caveats. At Papernest, we strive to help you to find the best green energy plan for your needs. But we also want you to make an informed decision.

Green Energy Plan Pros Green Energy Plan Cons
You’re creating consumer demand for a more environmentally sustainable future, as well as lowering your carbon footprint. Buying REGO certificates and investing in green energy is very costly for energy suppliers and has already put some smaller companies out of business.
Because many of the UK’s cheapest suppliers offer renewable energy, it may work out cheaper. Some of the UK’s green energy suppliers are above market-average prices.
Renewable tariffs are more available than ever with around 50% of tariffs offered in the UK boasting renewability credentials. Renewable energy infrastructures like solar and wind farms can take up land that could be used for farming. They can also represent hazards for local wildlife.
Generating wood pellets for biomass and generating biomethane gas helps to combat the problem of domestic, agricultural and industrial waste. Some consider wind turbines to be an infringement on the natural beauty of the UK countryside.
The renewable energy sector creates thousands of new jobs every year. The more land we dedicate to generating renewable energy, the more we could be risking the country’s natural biodiversity.

Is Green Energy cheaper?

It most certainly can be. Many of the country’s green energy suppliers like Bulb, Outfox The Market, Octopus Energy and Pure Planet are among the cheapest. It’s all about finding a tariff that’s perfectly matched to your needs.

Of course, the Papernest team are here to help you to find this quickly and hassle-free!

Can I get ‘green’ energy directly from renewable generators?

Alas, no. The energy that comes into your home comes from the National Grid, and is a combination of energy from all kinds of sources, renewable and non-renewable alike. It’s impossible to get green energy directly from renewable generators.

If you want to invest in renewable energy more directly, however, you might want to use a supplier that has invested in their own wind or solar infrastructures. These include Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Energy UK.

Generating your own green energy

What could be more sustainable than generating your own green energy? Although it involves some upfront investment, a growing number of eco-conscious consumers are choosing to supplement the energy they get from the National Grid with their own green energy.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are more affordable than ever. Domestic wind turbines are also in use around the country, and those who live close to a moving body of water can benefit from their own micro hydropower systems. As well as powering your home, any excess energy you make can be fed back into the grid.

Will making my own energy save me money?

Absolutely. Because you’re generating your own energy every day, whatever the weather, you’ll always save on your energy bills. Although you may make more energy on some days than others, every day will bring savings. Of course, it will take time for your savings to exceed the money you’ve invested and for your energy-saving investment to become profitable.

In the case of solar panels, the national average time it takes to generate a profit is 9 and a half years. However, this may be significantly less for those living in southernmost areas like Plymouth, Exeter or Truro.

Depending on the weather conditions where you live, it could take as little as 10 years for a domestic wind turbine to become profitable. If you can get 10,000 kWh per year from your turbine, it could make as much as £1,300 worth of energy in a year.

What’s a feed-in-tariff (FIT)?

A feed-in-tariff (FiT) is the mechanism by which energy companies pay their customers for energy that they pump back into the national grid. These are lengthy contracts that last for decades. And while those who already have FiTs in place can continue to benefit from them, they were phased out for new applicants in January 2019. But don’t worry, they have been replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The SEG works in much the same way as a feed-in-tariff although the rates that they pay for the energy you feed into the grid is a little less.

The rates paid depend on supplier and can vary between 2p and 5.6p per kWh. However, Ofgem dictates that suppliers must always pay you something for the energy you generate, even if it generates a loss for them. At the time of writing, Social Energy offers the best SEG rate, at 5.6p per kWh.

If I switch energy supplier, what will happen to my feed-in-tariff?

Your feed-in-tariff will remain in place no matter how many times you switch energy suppliers. These are long agreements that usually last for around 20 years. Within this time you can switch energy suppliers as much as you like, but your feed-in-tariff will remain with the same company.

How to compare green energy suppliers

Comparing green energy suppliers is quick and easy when you have Papernest’s experts on your side. We can search through dozens of green tariffs from the UK’s favourite green energy suppliers, matching the perfect plan to your needs.

What’s more, we’ll even manage your switch from end-to-end so you can enjoy cheaper, greener energy quickly and 100% hassle-free.

Want to know more?

Call our team today on 0330 818 6225 to find out how much you could save with a green energy tariff.

We’re available from 8am to 6pm.

Read more about green energy suppliers:

Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

0330 818 6225

Notice

FAQ

Why should I choose green energy?

A green energy plan can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, preventing around a tonne of carbon from escaping into the atmosphere every day. What’s more, there’s an excellent chance that the Papernest team can find you a green energy plan that will cost you less than you currently pay for your gas and electricity.

Can I get green energy if I have a prepayment meter?

Absolutely! Most of the UK’s green energy suppliers also provide energy tariffs for customers with prepayment meters. Just because you prefer to pay for your energy on a Pay As You Go basis, doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

I have solar panels, can I switch to a green tariff?

If you have solar panels, you are likely locked into a long-term feed-in-tariff agreement with your energy supplier. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to remain on the same tariff. You can switch to a green energy tariff any time you like without losing your FiT.

How can I get the cheapest Green Energy?

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the cheapest green energy is to call the Papernest team today. We can search though all the tariffs from all the UK’s green energy suppliers to find the perfect fit for your household’s needs.

Updated on 7 Oct, 2021

redaction Meet the content team
Redactor

william

UK Content Manager

Redactor

Alex

Consumer Energy Expert