To reduce the impact of your utilities use, it is possible to pursue both demand side and supply side initiatives. This page discusses options to use renewable energy to address the carbon footprint of your supply. Visit the utilities page to investigate demand side initiatives (e.g. energy efficiency).

Green tarriff

Green tariffs are electricity tariffs marketed as having environmental credentials[1].  This market is an emerging one and following allegations of “greenwash” and consumer confusion, Ofgem in its guidance states that “green tariffs” should fulfill the following criteria[2]:

  • Transparency and clear evidence of renewable supply;

  • Additional – Contributing to additional environmental benefits that would not have occurred in the absence of this decision. Benefits derived from existing support schemes, e.g. through the Renewables Obligation (RO) or under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), are not included;

  • Accredited under Ofgem’s Green Tariff Scheme.

If you wish to purchase green tarrif electricity, it is recommended you choose a supplier that is a member of Ofgem’s emerging Green Tariff Scheme and/or that the chosen electricity company can demonstrate evidence of additionality, above and beyond the Government’s Renewable Obligations scheme. Visit Ofgem's website to view a list of approved suppliers.

It is important to note that, if you purchase green tarrif, there is a special way to account for this in GP Footprint Reporter, as described in the GP Footprint Reporter Quick-Start Guide.


[2] Ofgem Green Supply Guidance

Renewable generation

Small scale renewable energy generation carries a capital cost (for example, installing solar panels, or a wind turbine). However, the “Clean Energy Cashback Scheme” is helping to make that capital investment more attractive.

The Clean Energy Cashback Scheme is a feed-in tariff modelled after the successful German example, and has been operational since 1st April 2010.  The scheme requires energy suppliers to make regular payments to individuals or organisations who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar electricity (PV) panels or wind turbines and guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity generated by the system, as well as a separate payment for the electricity exported to grid. 

These payments are in addition to the bill savings made by businesses and householders using the electricity generated on-site. The Clean Energy Cashback scheme covers the following electricity-generating technologies, up to 5 Mega Watts. It should be noted that any installation of equipment has to use an MCS* certificated product and installer[1].

You can learn more at the Department for Energy and Climate Change's website.

[1] The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is an independent scheme that certificates microgeneration products under 50kW and installers in accordance with consistent standards. Any systems over 50kW and all anaerobic digestion installations must apply directly through the ROO-FIT process as they are not covered by the MCS.