Switchomatic UK energy FAQ

Benefits of switching gas and electricity suppliers

What is Green Energy

In recent years there has been a trend for gas and electricity suppliers to offer "green tariffs". Green tariffs are those that supply you with gas or electricity that has come from renewable energy sources.

In the UK, about two thirds of our energy comes from coal and gas power stations. These produce a great deal of carbon dioxide and other polluting emissions, and are not at all good for the environment, and is a major contributor to global warming. The majority of the rest of our energy comes from nuclear power stations, which although they do not emit pollutants in to the atmosphere, have their own set of environmental issues.

Renewable energy sources available today include:

  • Wind Power - Energy can be generated using large turbines, located in typically windy areas. Usually a number of turbines are installed together in a location, and these groups are known as "wind farms". The wind simply drives the turbine blades, which convert the energy in to electricity.
  • Solar Power - Energy from the sun is converted in to electricity using solar panels. You would be forgiven for thinking that this cannot be that effective given the weather in the UK, but many homes these days have solar panels fitted to the roof, which either completely provide, or top up, the household electricity requirements.
  • Wave Power - One of the most promising sources of renewable energy, wave power can be collected using a variety of methods. One such method is a large boom that is floated out to sea, and the natural undulations of the wave cause segments of the boom to move against each other. This movement is then converted in to electricity and fed back to shore.
  • Biomass Power - Energy can be extracted from burning waste, or specialised plants, in small power stations. In the case of the plants, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then release it when burnt, thus not adding to the carbon dioxide levels.
  • Geothermal Power - Energy can be generated by sinking pipes deep in to the earth, where the ambient temperature is very hot. Water is then fed down these pipes, and returned to the surface as steam which is used to drive generators which convert the energy in to electricity.

Why would you want a "green tariff"

Nowadays, many consumers are all too aware of their "carbon footprint", and want to take steps to reduce it. With this in mind, gas and electricity suppliers now offer Green Tariffs, where all, or a percentage, of the fuel they supply to you is "green" and comes from renewable sources.

The energy you receive in to your home does not come directly from renewable sources - that would not be possible, as supplies from a variety of sources are mixed together before being delivered to homes (i.e. for electricity this is the National Grid). The way the green tariffs work is that the supplier guarantees the percentage of renewable energy that is generates is in proportion to the percentage of customers who are signed up to their green tariffs.

Sometimes, green tariffs can be slightly more expensive that other tariffs, but many consumers find that the small extra cost, in exchange for the peace of mind that they are helping the environment, is well worth it.

Searching for green tariffs

With Switchomatic, you can easily find green tariffs. You can choose only to view search results with tariffs that are green, and on the search results page you can easily see at a glance which tariffs are green, and if so, what their "green percentage" is.

If helping the environment is important to you, compare your gas and electricity supplies with Switchomatic now, and save yourself money as well as being just that bit greener!

Created: 28th Jun 2011, Last Modified: 16th Feb 2016, Switchomatic

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