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Renewable Energy supplier questions: I'd like to pick your brains!


(Tobias Bignell) #1

Hi all, (apologies if this is in the wrong board!)

After reading the various threads in this community for the last couple of weeks, I’ve finally registered as I am really just wanting to talk to members like yourself who are interested in all things renewable, green and sustainable, especially in the UK.

Recently I’ve joined a new start-up in the energy sector so it made sense to me to look around and get a feel for communities that talk about energy and all that entails. Green energy and sustainability is something I’ve always been a fan of, which is why this new job appealed so much to me but I was always (and still am in certain ways) sceptical about the realistic applications in normal life. I can’t tell you much about the company yet as its not a working thing yet so to speak (and I’m not here to advertise it), but what I can tell you is that the company is being set up with all the right ideas and intentions (I think).

Their ideas range from giving everyone more visibility around how green energy is supplied, changing the processes that are in place now to create a better experience and ensuring everyone can access renewable energy without charging more for it. They’re also looking into carbon off-set natural gas, supporting sustainable campaigns from small and large initiatives, and generally see if we can all make a genuine difference in the world.

The idea being that we would really look to involve the customers, or rather members, in everything we do as company. Really allow people to influence how the company is run and what it does and invests time and money in.

I want to make sure the company listens to its members as much as possible, as that’s how a community works in my view. So the pressure is on

Anyway, I was wondering if there are there any things that immediately pop into your head on how you’d want to get involved in a company like that? Any specific things that really bug you around how energy companies work? Or what you’d like to influence in such a company? If you’ll allow, I’d like top pick your brains. What’s wrong with the industry right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I have some ideas of my own, and happy to share those with you as well, but would like to get an idea from you if this would be interesting to any of you.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts and am looking forward to getting stuck in here also if you’ll have me.

Cheers for any help or comments!

Toby


(Trystan Lea) #2

Hello @Tobias_B

Interesting questions!

I think it would be great to see more transparency about how green tariffs work, how a supplier balances their customers demand with supply. I feel Im starting to get an overview of how it works but I still have a lot of questions.

I’ve been involved in several discussions on the topic of whether you can claim zero emissions from a green tariff vs using say UK grid average, its a contentious issue with strong arguments on both sides and I think some of the leading green energy suppliers could do more to explain how it works.

What you can claim in terms of carbon intensity makes a big difference for personal carbon accounting + carbon benefits of EV’s and heatpumps, when we did the Snowdonia household energy study looking at both energy and carbon for a number of households in North Wales, we provided an analysis that took into account a variety of carbon intensities. The study is written up briefly here:
https://learn.openenergymonitor.org/sustainable-energy/energy/snowdonia-energy-study

and then a further discussion of green tariffs and GHG emissions can be found here:
https://learn.openenergymonitor.org/sustainable-energy/energy/greentariffs
outlining some of the arguments for and against a zero carbon emission factors for green tariff emissions plus an attempt to work out a more nuanced position between a zero carbon emission factor and grid average.

Id love to see more information and transparency from green energy suppliers on these questions. At the same time I appreciate the electricity grid is very complex and there is a lot to this.


(Tobias Bignell) #3

Hi Trystan,

Thanks for the reply! Lots of really useful thoughts from you. The transparency with suppliers is something we’re wanting to do as much as we can, especially why we have chosen who we have and how we will continually review their processes and supply retrieval. Your info on the zero-carbon claims discussion is really interesting too (and not a debate I was fully aware of), so I’ll take a look now. Once I have any more to share on exactly what we’re doing, I’ll get in contact, as I;m sure you’ll find it interesting. Speak soon!


(Peter Galbavy) #5

To me, a cynical end user of “green energy”, transparency is the key but so is minimising the marketing BS. While it works well in the “right on” academic and political communities, phrases like “carbon neutral” and the like are just big confusing turn-offs to most and red flags to some (like me).

Carbon credit schemes, carbon offset projects and the like are all accounting exercises that are seen as ways to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers and to meet notional green targets. Biomass - burning wood instead of coal - is again perceived as a giant scam and has simply resulted in more expensive timber for other uses and it doesn’t matter than someone is planting trees in Ohio or whatever.

So, in summary, be transparent but don’t lean on the narrative too heavily.

Edit: Other opinions are also available.