Want to take a stand for the environment? There are few better ways than choosing a renewable energy provider. Here are 5 of our favourites.
October 2019 update: We’ve given the list a freshen up and removed one provider which has been taken over by a non-renewable energy company.
It’s 2019 and we’re ready to shake things up again this year. In 2018 we wrote about everything from how Brexit will affect sustainability in the UK to the problems with corporate greenwashing. Now, we’re back and we’ve got renewable energy in our sights.
With oil and coal becoming increasingly unfashionable — and incompatible with a healthy planet — it’s time we went all in on renewable energy.
Local energy storage is becoming more efficient every day, and with companies like Tesla leading the charge, expect to see renewables powering a lot more homes and businesses in the coming years.
Want to add your name to that list? It’s simple. If you’re in the UK, there are a range of renewable electricity providers to choose from. In no particular order, here are five of our favourite 100% renewable energy providers.
(And as a big disclaimer before we get started: we aren’t sponsored by or affiliated with any of these companies. We just want to make it easy for people to access renewable energy in 2019!)
Let’s start with the one we’re all probably most familiar with. They’ve been going since 1996 and provide UK homes and businesses with 100% renewable energy and frack-free gas.
If you do a lot of motorway driving, you may have seen their electric vehicle charging points. Ecotricity have been a huge player in the fact it’s now possible to drive up and down the UK without burning fossil fuels.
What’s even better than selling green energy to homeowners is their eye on building a sustainable future. The company invests its profits into building renewable infrastructure — from solar farms to new windmills, and even the UK’s first grass-fed green gasmill.
As of September 2019, Ecotricity was declared one of Britain’s greenest energy companies.
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Like Ecotricity, Octopus are another 100% renewable energy company that invests back into sustainable tech.
They’ve also branched out into electric vehicles, devising a system — the Powerloop — whereby drivers can run their homes off of their car’s power during peak energy times, thus relieving the national grid of vital pressure.
It’s these kind of innovations that will help propel the UK into a more sustainable future. If more companies follow suit, 2019 could be the start of something special.
Alongside their investments in green tech, Octopus is known for its transparent pricing and lack of exit tariffs. They also achieved first place in the 2019 Which? survey of top renewable energy companies.
3. Tonik Energy
Tonik Energy provide 100% renewable energy and 10% green gas — produced by animal and vegetation waste.
The rest of their gas production is from fossil fuels, but that’s common among all of the providers on our list. They offset these emissions, so it’s a great all-round package.
Tonik is ranked highly for its customer service and value for money, making it an easy switch for most consumers. According to Which? it ranks well above the traditional Big Six energy providers.
They are also the first UK provider of the Tesla Powerwall, an advanced battery storage system for clean energy.
Need some help saving energy at home? We’ve put together this handy resource for reducing your carbon emissions.
4. Good Energy
All the companies on this list offer 100% renewable electricity, but when it comes to gas, it gets more complicated. We as a society haven’t quite nailed clean gas, but Good Energy is doing its best in that regard.
Good Energy offers carbon neutral gas, and selects projects in places like Malawi, Nepal and Vietnam to give back to local communities. They also pay all their staff a living wage, meaning that workers and the environment benefit when you choose Good Energy.
They, like most of those on our list, are right behind addressing the climate crisis and make their voices heard through their blog.
Yes, you guessed it — Bulb is another company that provides 100% renewable energy for homes and businesses. They also provide carbon neutral natural gas.
What sets them apart is their generous Refer a Friend policy (£50 credit for you and a friend) and their commitment to social responsibility.
For every switch to Bulb, they donate £1 to a charity project that teaches inner-city children about growing their own healthy food, and then helps them put those skills into practice.
And if you have the tools to generate your own renewable energy, you can sell some back to the grid through Bulb. Win-win!
Before you make the switch
While we hope you trust us, don’t take our word for any of these claims. It’s so important that we all make informed, responsible decisions about where our energy comes from.
In researching this topic, we found a few companies boasting about their “100% green energy tariff” — only to find out they also offer non-renewable tariffs.
We care about supporting sustainable independents, not the oil giants who are now making noises about renewables because they see it as a quick buck.
So before you switch your home or business over to a renewable energy provider, check that their energy mix is 100% renewable (they legally have to provide this information, so a quick Google search will show the results).
And when it comes to gas, make sure it’s carbon neutral. If your goal in choosing a renewable energy provider is to reduce your impact, when it comes to gas there’s a bit more to think about.
Also check out their commitment to social responsibility, fair pricing and customer service. Which? is a great tool for all of these, so make sure you know your stuff before signing any contracts.