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The UK is aiming to be carbon net zero by 2050. This means that any planet-warming pollutants we release into the atmosphere must be balanced by removing them from elsewhere. One way to do this is by switching to green energy tariffs.

What is green energy?

Green energy is generated from natural, renewable sources like the wind, sun and tides. It's also:

  • Environmentally friendly: Green energy sources don’t produce dangerous emissions or other noxious substances. Neither do they require fuel that’s extracted using methods that harm the environment.
  • Growing year-on-year: In 2023, around 42% of electricity generated in the UK was from renewable sources.
  • Competitively priced: Because of technological improvements and increased demand, the cost of renewable electricity is falling. It’s now a similar price to other energy sources, including fossil fuels.
  • Future-proofed: Green energy helps the UK transition to net zero. It also reduces our reliance on expensive overseas imports.

Is all renewable energy green?

No, not all renewable energy is green. Solar and wind are both green and renewable, but not all renewable energy types are green. For example, biofuels emit pollutants when they're burned and tidal energy has an impact on marine life,

Renewable energy suppliers balance the environmental impact of these through measures like CO2 offsetting. Some also fund renewable energy projects around the world.

What are green energy tariffs?

Green tariffs are environmentally friendly tariffs. When you sign up, your supplier commits to sourcing enough green energy to cover your consumption.

Suppliers buy renewable energy using a system known as REGO certificates. REGO stands for Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin. Suppliers issue a certificate for each megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable electricity that’s produced.

You can purchase energy directly from the supplier’s own windfarms and other renewable energy plants. You can also be purchase it through third parties – including domestic customers with solar panels who sell their surplus electricity to the grid.

Even if your supplier produces renewable energy, it’s not delivered directly to your home. Instead, your supplier feeds the equivalent amount of green energy into the grid. This replaces the energy you and other customers use.

Most suppliers offer 100% renewable electricity, but some may offer tariffs that are a mix of renewable and non-renewable sources, such as fossil fuels. This should be clearly labelled on the tariff. 

Green gas tariffs work in a similar way. A handful of suppliers offer tariffs that include some green gas, which is biogas generated from animal or vegetable waste. Other suppliers offer green gas tariffs that simply offset the emissions generated by the gas you use. This is often in the form of funding for international projects that aim to cut carbon emissions.

Another feature of green energy tariffs is what suppliers do with their profits. Many reinvest part or all of this in new renewable energy generation projects. This helps to meet future demand for renewable energy and help speed up the UK’s transition to net zero.

Why should I switch to a green energy tariff?

If you’re concerned about climate change, switching is one of the biggest things you can do to cut your household’s emissions. By switching to renewable energy, you also help boost growing demand. This encourages suppliers to invest more of their profits in generating more energy from UK-based renewables.

Switching to renewables also makes the UK less dependent on foreign energy sources. By guaranteeing domestic supplies, the country is less exposed to volatile prices caused by overseas events.

What are the pros and cons of green energy?


  • Competitive pricing: As more renewable energy is available, the prices get cheaper, and suppliers can offer deals to rival non-renewable tariffs.

  • Speed future transition: As more people sign up for green energy tariffs, more renewable supplies could become available.

  • More transparent: Green energy tariffs are more open about the mix of sources used to produce electricity and gas. This means you can see exactly what type of energy you’re paying for.


  • Less choice: There are fewer providers and tariffs to choose from. This makes the prices less competitive.

  • Few green gas deals: Only a handful of suppliers offer biogas as part of their fuel mix. 100Green, formerly Green Energy UK, is the only supplier that currently claims to offer a 100% green gas tariff. Those who don’t include biogas may offer tariffs that promise to offset the carbon emissions from your gas consumption. 

  • Misleading labels: Consumers have criticised energy providers for confusing labelling of their green tariffs. However, Ofgem has worked hard to make green energy deals more transparent. It should be easy to see if a green tariff offers 100% renewable energy.

How do I compare green energy suppliers?

You can compare renewable energy suppliers with Confused.com. Fill in your postcode and confirm your address. Verify your current supplier and plan details are correct, then see what deals are available to you. Click ‘Plan info’ to find out more about each provider, including its green credentials. If you’re already on a green tariff, you can easily switch green energy supplier too.

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Which is the best green energy supplier?

That depends on what you’re looking for. You could think about:

  • Price: you may be looking for the cheapest green energy supplier.
  • How environmentally friendly the supplier is: you might want to choose the most environmentally friendly supplier. Look for a provider offering 100% green gas and electricity.
  • How the supplier generates your electricity: if this is the case, compare suppliers based on where they source their electricity from.
  • How secure the company is: you may want the security of a large supplier with strong green credentials.

Once you’ve found a good deal, research the company. Visit the supplier’s home page and look for information confirming where it gets its energy from. Also check to see what tariffs it offers. Greener deals – such as those offsetting emissions from gas – tend to cost a bit more.

Don’t forget to check other information.You could ask the supplier:

  • If you're offered a fixed deal, how long does it last?
  • What payment methods does the supplier support?
  • Can you contact the company by phone, or is it all done online?

Does it cost more to switch to green energy?

If you’re currently on a variable tariff, you should be able to switch without cost. If, however, you’re on a fixed rate deal, you may incur an exit fee. This can cost up to £60 per fuel. If this is the case, factor this cost in when comparing deals – if necessary, wait until your deal ends before switching.

With some suppliers now offering renewable energy as standard, now is a great time to compare prices.

In terms of the price of green energy, changes in fuel prices make it difficult to say which tariff is cheaper at any given time. But green tariffs are increasingly competitive. Green tariffs are getting more popular, so more renewable sources appear on the market. This drives the cost of green energy down to make it significantly cheaper over time.

What are the different types of green energy?

There are 4 main sources of renewable and green energy, which the UK is well positioned to take advantage of. The main types are:

  • Wind power: This is currently the UK’s biggest source of renewable energy. It provided 29.4% of all electricity generated in the UK in 2023.
  • Biofuels: This involves the burning of renewable organic materials. Examples include food waste, wood and vegetable oil. Some is burned to produce electricity, while other fuels generate green gas (biogas) through anaerobic digestion. Biofuels generated 5% of all UK energy in 2023. 
  • Solar: Found on both household rooftops and in large areas of farmland. Solar power contributed to 4.9% of all UK power in 2023.
  • Hydroelectric power: This is generated by both rivers and dammed lakes, as well as tidal power. It contributed to 1.8% of all UK energy in 2023.

When a certain energy type isn’t available (say solar at night), another can step up (wind power). Some types – tidal – can also produce power consistently on a 24-7 basis.

Other sources of energy include geothermal energy, which taps into superheated water and steam found in natural springs below the Earth’s surface.

One fuel type that isn’t green energy despite being low carbon is nuclear. This is because of the environmental side-effects. First, nuclear fuels are rare and require mining, which is ecologically damaging. And second, it produces waste that must be stored for thousands of years before it’s safe.

What is the greenest energy source?

All sources have some environmental costs attached. For example, large solar farms take up land that could be farmed or used by wildlife. Wind, tidal and hydroelectric installations can also disrupt ecosystems. There is also the cost of manufacturing the equipment that generates renewable energy.

The most eco-friendly energy source may be that which you install yourself on your home. This generates electricity locally and makes use of redundant space on your roof. Even here, though, there’s the environmental cost in the manufacture of your batteries, inverter and solar panels or roof-mounted turbine.

Frequently asked questions

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

Yes. Many suppliers offer green tariffs for prepayment meters. However, there is less choice available. For the best prices and deals, see if you can move to a standard credit meter.

Can I use green energy to charge my electric vehicle?

Yes. If you fix solar panels to your roof or fit a wind turbine, you can use some of the electricity generated to charge your electric vehicle. Even a standard domestic system should generate enough power for both your home and car.

How can I generate my own green energy?

There are several ways you can generate your own renewable energy. The most popular is with solar PV panels, which are fixed to your roof. These generate electricity for your own use.

Surplus energy is fed back to the grid and you're paid a small premium for it.

Alternatively, you can fit batteries to store more of the energy generated for your own use to help cut your bills.Other less popular ways to generate your own energy include solar thermal (for heating water) and small wind turbines (often roof-mounted).

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