Every time we switch on the light or the television we’re pushing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It’s a fact of life. Most of the time, we don’t even feel guilty about it, or even think of it that way. Instead, we use appliances and feel warm, and each of us carries on pushing 9.4 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere per person per year.
Power stations are Britain’s biggest polluters. Drax, in Yorkshire, which generates 7% of our energy, puts a staggering 20.8 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, and burns 10 million tonnes of coal.
Yet there are alternatives, and we can access them very easily. Did you know you can buy green electricity?
It’s not always totally sustainably produced, but several suppliers do offer “green” electricity tariffs. The choice available often depends on where you live, but if you go to a specialised site you can find out what’s possible in your area.
Of course, tariffs and prices change regularly, and you need to check regularly to be aware of deals and offers. You might well be surprised, often going green doesn’t cost you more, either.
As a rule of thumb, it’s the smaller suppliers that offer the most energy from renewable sources and that are putting the greatest investment into that area. At present only one, Good Energy Ltd. obtains all its energy from renewable sources (an admirable goal for others), but others are moving fast down that track.
These are all good, and we’re almost certainly going to see more springing up as time passes and the demand for green energy increases. That a reasonable demand already exists is apparent from the fact that these companies are in business and that major suppliers even have green tariffs. It’s not simply about corporate responsibility, after all; it’s about profit more than anything else.
In 2006 almost every supplier increased prices on energy, especially gas, and it turned a lot of opinion against the suppliers. But regardless of how you view them, the big suppliers are at least taking some steps towards sustainable energy – which means supporting or investing in renewable projects that can have a long-term impact rather than directly purchasing sustainable energy. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
Some, have gone further, and can offer 100% renewable energy, 90% of it generated by hydro electric power. You pay a premium (actually less than with many others).
Among the remainder, you can get green tariffs from a range of suppliers. In some cases you pay a premium, and by and large the energy isn’t from renewable sources! What this all means if that, by looking around, you can help move things along to lower CO2 emissions.