Switch your electricity

Quick Links – switch to low carbon electricity:

Go to Green Energy Market (GEM) and enter your post code.


The Big Church Switch is aimed at active Christians and at church buildings. “By using clean, renewable energy the Church can demonstrate its commitment to care for our neighbours and for the earth – our common home.”

Their energy companies “have been selected ………as preferred suppliers based on three criteria:
        • Electricity is 100% renewable
        • At least 80% of their fuel mix is sourced from renewable sources and none from nuclear
        • The renewable energy is generated in the UK

Fuel sources – high carbon and low carbon

This table shows the CO2 value per kWh and the proportion coming from each source.

Emissions per fuel type Dec 2016Carbon intensity in g/CO2 kWh from Ecotricity from Ricardo AEA , % of electricity generation per fuel from DBEIS “Energy Trends December 2016” and £/MWh from Committee on Climate Change ” Meeting Carbon Budgets – Progress in reducing the UK’s emissions 2015 Report to Parliament” p53 . *half of this is from plant biomass (eg Drax). Other sources, such as anaerobic digestion are very low eg 11g/CO2 kWh.

Note that, whilst Nuclear is not a renewable source, it is low in carbon, but many customers may want to avoid it for other reasons. See more about Nuclear here. Natural gas is less than half the carbon value of coal, and is a similar proportion of UK electricity. It is favoured by governments for this reason, but clear figures on subsidies (eg for fracked gas) are not available across all these sources.

Energy companies are obliged to publish their ‘fuel mix’ but they can be difficult to find. Below are links to the ‘big 6’ fuel mix disclosures and also to low carbon tariffs and suppliers. Note that the information here is a guide, but you need to satisfy yourself that you are switching on the latest information.

Electricity from the Grid into your home is a mixture from all the generation sources in the UK, whoever you pay for the service. However, by choosing an energy company that sells you electricity ‘from renewables’, the amount of clean power that is generated will increase and electricity from ‘dirty’ sources will decrease. See ElectricityInfo.org for the full list of energy companies and the 2013/14 regulatory data on their Fuel Mix.

See 1010 campaign to enable local community electricity to be used locally.

‘Keep the Coal in the Hole’

If you want to boycott electricity generated from the dirtiest source Coal, you can choose a provider that does not buy power originating from Coal.

Of the big six energy companies the mandatory reporting for 2013-14 shows the percentage of their electricity originating from Coal were:

Scottish Power @ 34%
e.on @ 18.7%
SSE @ 25%
nPower/RWE @ 16%
EDF Energy @ 14.5%
British Gas @ 2%

Note that some of the smaller companies have much higher percentages from Coal: ie Spark Energy 46.8%, iSupply Energy 38.7%, Co-operative Energy 36.6%, GnERGY 34%, First Utility and Flow Energy 18.9%

Want to discourage Nuclear?

EDF Energy is the main purchaser of UK Nuclear @ 64.3%, with GnERGY @ 26%, British Gas @ 34% and the others less than 15%. See ‘Nuclear – A Toxic Time Capsule? for information of the costs and risks of UK Nuclear.

“The technology is incapable of making a difference in the time window that remains to meet the climate targets agreed at the Paris Conference……. Generations to come will have to repay the enormous cost of building Nuclear plants, whilst living with the costs and risks of toxic waste.”

 Want to avoid power generated from Fracked Gas?

Currently no gas used in the UK is from fracked source and the regulations are unlikely to require the portion of gas from shale fracking to be disclosed.

Want to buy as much renewable energy as possible?

This does change over time as more renewable energy is generated, but using the latest mandatory disclosures, low carbon/ renewable options include:

Good Energy @ 100%. They say that their energy comes from certified renewables such as sunshine, wind, water and Biogen, and are investing in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
Green Star Energy @ 99.8%. They say that, of this, 50% is from Hydroelectric power and 40% from Wind.
Ecotricity @ 100%, “We generate around 30% of the green electricity we supply ourselves through our own growing fleet of wind and sun parks – the rest we buy from other green generators”.

Marks and SpencerWe’ll generate hydro power in Great Britain that’s the equivalent of our customers’ electricity consumption, from 46 hydro power stations based in Scotland.” (M&S Energy is supplied by SSE, so the volume used by M&S energy customers is part of SSE’s renewable figures)

Companies with 100% renewable options for some of their tariffs.

Green Energy UK Sparkling tariff @ 100% uses “the power of falling water, the sun, the wind, and organic waste material” Green Energy UK gives Free Shares to all it’s customers, giving them a say in the business. Green Energy also offers a variable Tide tariff, encouraging the use of offpeak electricity to charge Electric Vehicles, and piloting the concept of lowering prices when renewables peak (eg solar midday).
Ovo Energy Greener Energy tariff @ 100% Our renewables mix includes technologies such as solar, wind and hydro.
LoCO2 Energy Planet tariff @100% from their own hydropower sites plus solar, wind and Biofuels.
EDF Energy Renewable tariff @100%
Bristol Energy My Green Plus  says “My Green Plus is currently available in the South West regions, and we hope to make the tariff available across the whole of the UK in the near future.”

What kind of renewable energy is for which plan?

The regulations do not require ‘renewables’ to be broken down further, so you would need to click on the company names above to see if they say where their renewables come from.

Want to generate your own renewable electricity?

To steer completely clear of fossil fuels and nuclear sources you would need to generate all your own electricity. See Energy Savings Trust for information on technologies and incentives.