Renew On Line (UK) 66

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 166 March-April 2007
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Contents

1. Energy Policy: White paper delay, EAC blown away

2.Wind power : Micro-wind doubts, Offshore wind boom

3. Carbon Policy: Zero Carbon Houses, Carbon rationing

4. NCC: Green power reality check

5. Regional policy: Wales and Scotland

6. FoE say no to Severn Barrage: it could crowd out alternatives

7. News Roundup: Biofuels, Planning, Solar Fine, Clean Coal plant

8. Global Climate Worsens: IPCCC 4th report

9. European Roundup: EC on Energy Efficiency

10. USA: Bush unmoved on Climate

11. Around the world: Australia, China, Asia-Pacific Climate Pact

12. Nuclear News: UK, US, Germany and Bulgaria

NCC runs a Green power reality check

A National Consumer Council survey of green power tariffs for domestic consumers has found that many tariffs are not delivering the environmental benefits they claim; many suppliers are doing little more than meeting legal requirements; and even the best tariffs on offer will only reduce the total CO2 emissions of an average household by 6%.

The NCC found that of the 12 green electricity tariffs available, only two went further in terms of adding additional green energy capacity over an above what the suppliers are required to under the Renewables Obligation (RO).

The cost of the RO is passed on to all consumers, increasing their electricity bills by on average £7 a year per household, rising to £20 in 2010. Some green tariff schemes also charge a premium, and it is these schemes that NCC say are the most worthwhile. For example Good Energy, a small independent company that offers its customers ' 100% renewable electricity' from wind farms, small hydro plants and solar generators, charges about 12% more than a standard energy tariff and retires some of the Renewable Obligation Certificates it obtains from buying in green power- thus adding extra value outside the RO system. NCC say ' For those consumers who want a green electricity supply, pure and simple, this is probably the closest they will get to it' .

Scottish and Southern' s RSPB energy tariff was seen as almost as good, as was EDF' s Green Tariff, which costs customers about £15 a year above the standard rate and contributes to an independently overseen fund that invests in community-based renewable projects.

However some others were seen as only of marginal benefit. NPower does not charge a premium for Juice, its green tariff, and does not go further than its legal obligations, supplying just 5% of its total electricity from RO based renewable sources. It did however have a fund for wave and tidal projects. which might have longer term value. But British Gas customers are paying £30p.a. for its Climate Aware tariff, and the report concluded ' it is not clear what they are getting in return' . Ecotricity also fared badly: although Ecotricity invests profits in new projects and customers don' t pay a premium for its New Energy tariff, they don' t get 100% green power.

Overall, although an Observer poll last year found that 64% of those asked said they would consider switching to a green power scheme, only about 200,000, less than 1% of households, have in fact done so. To improve consumer confidence in the tariffs, NCC, backed up by consumer watchdog Energywatch, wants suppliers to sign up to an audited scheme with minimum green standards and provide more information. It said Ofgem' s Green Supply Guidelines- soon to be updated- were good, but there was a limit to what could be achieved by self regulation.

More in Renew 167. Meanwhile see the new guide to green energy tariffs, in the help/advice section of energywatch.org.uk.

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