GreenPower vs Carbon Neutral Energy

Advertisement

Fact Checked Fact Checked

If being conscious of your environmental footprint and living your life more sustainably are some of your personal mantras, you’ve come to the right place. It’s no secret that Australia’s energy grid is fueled primarily by dirty coal, but that doesn’t mean you have to actively support the coal industry. How? Well, there’s two mainstream options that don’t require the installation of solar panels: GreenPower and carbon neutral energy. They may seem similar, but there are some key differences that set them apart. Read on.

GreenPower vs Carbon Neutral Energy

Can’t decide between GreenPower and carbon neutral? Here’s a quick comparison of the two.

Offsets customers power usage with green initiatives Directly supports renewable energy generation Focuses on Australia Supplies you with renewable energy
GreenPower
Carbon Neutral

General guide only

Carbon neutral energy is a program where your power retailer offsets an equivalent amount of the grid energy you use with emissions reduction certificates that support sustainability projects. So essentially, you pay for your power, and your energy company pays to support sustainability projects on your behalf (keep in mind though that you, the consumer, are really paying for it).

The big difference between GreenPower and carbon neutral energy, is that the GreenPower program is Australia-based, while carbon offsets can be applied anywhere. As a government-run initiative, you’ll know where your dollars are going with GreenPower – and the good news is they’re going directly to renewable energy generators. The catch is, however, that whilst carbon neutral energy often comes ‘free’, GreenPower for the most part doesn’t.

Here’s an example of a local project GreenPower supports, versus one way EnergyAustralia is carbon offsetting some of its customers’ power usage in the US. Use the slider to see the full image.

GreenPower Explained

What exactly is GreenPower and is it really worth the investment?

What is GreenPower?

GreenPower is a government-run initiative which funds renewable energy generators in Australia. You can opt to add the cost of GreenPower to your tariff, equal to anything from 10% to 100% of your electricity usage, depending on the retailer. For example, if your current energy usage rate is 25c/kWh, adding 50% GreenPower could bump it up to 30c/kWh – but the benefit is that the equivalent of half of your power usage will be offset by the creation of new renewable energy.

What does GreenPower support?

There are close to 500 renewable energy generators that are GreenPower accredited in Australia, with a mix of solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro and landfill gas. The capacity of these generators varies greatly, with some at 0.1MW and others exceeding 500MW. Some of the largest projects the GreenPower program supports are the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, Macarthur Wind Farm and the Darlington Point Solar Farm.

Is GreenPower good for the environment?

Aside from going completely off grid, paying for GreenPower, especially if it’s 100% GreenPower, is the most sustainable way for normal residential customers to use energy. If your household uses a lot of power, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that money is being invested into the generation of renewable energy on your behalf equivalent to your surplus usage.

Which providers offer GreenPower?

There are 22 energy retailers in Australia that are currently offering GreenPower.

How much does GreenPower cost?

GreenPower tends to cost a pretty penny. Every retailer charges differently, so you can expect anything from four to eight cents per kWh for varying quantities of GreenPower. For a more detailed breakdown of GreenPower costs by retailer, visit our Green Energy Guide.

How can I get GreenPower?

Signing up for GreenPower is relatively straightforward. Either call your retailer and ask for it to be added onto your tariff, or choose a plan that has GreenPower integrated into its deal already.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Other plans with GreenPower options

If that’s not up your alley, here’s a list of plans that you can add GreenPower onto, although the pricing estimates do not include.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a GreenPower option and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The annual cost estimates for the plans below do not include the cost of GreenPower. The extra cost of GreenPower may vary between retailers.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a GreenPower option and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The annual cost estimates for the plans below do not include the cost of GreenPower. The extra cost of GreenPower may vary between retailers.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a GreenPower option and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The annual cost estimates for the plans below do not include the cost of GreenPower. The extra cost of GreenPower may vary between retailers.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a GreenPower option and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details.  These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The annual cost estimates for the plans below do not include the cost of GreenPower. The extra cost of GreenPower may vary between retailers.

Carbon Neutral Energy Explained

What does it mean to be ‘carbon neutral’ and how do you get there?

What is carbon neutral energy?

Carbon neutral energy means that your power usage is offset by your retailer supporting projects that reduce carbon emissions. These projects sell emissions reductions/units certificates to companies that are interested in being carbon neutral in order to fund their own continuation. Retailers have a choice of which initiatives they support, which can include anything from waste management to forest regrowth schemes.

What does carbon neutral energy support?

There are thousands of climate action projects around the world that sell carbon offset units to our energy retailers. Here are some examples of carbon emission reduction projects that the big three retailers (Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia) are supporting through their carbon offset programs:

  • The Savanna fire management in Australia that prevents large bushfires that generate emissions.
  • A landfill waste management program in Brazil that minimises greenhouse gases escaping.
  • Planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Energy efficiency programs to promote power-saving LED light bulbs and water saving shower heads.
  • Investment in renewable energy generators such as solar and wind farms.
  • The NSW Westmere Native Forest Regeneration program that restores land that has been over-grazed by livestock.
  • The Burns Stove project in Kenya that providers communities with energy efficient cook stoves.

Are carbon neutral programs good for the environment?

In general, yes. While these initiatives aren’t always reducing specifically Australian carbon emissions, they’re creating a positive impact somewhere. So, it’s still better to be on a carbon neutral energy plan than to not be, especially if GreenPower is out of your financial reach.

Which providers offer carbon neutral energy?

Here are the providers in Australia that offer to offset customers’ usage with the purchase of carbon credits. Not all retailers offer this service by default, although most do. Check with your preferred provider to make sure you’re definitely getting it.

  • AGL
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Energy Locals
  • Enova Energy
  • Nectr
  • Origin Energy
  • OVO Energy
  • Powershop

How much does carbon neutral energy cost

For the most part, energy companies don’t charge ‘extra’ for carbon neutrality. AGL, however, requires customers to opt in and pay $1 a week for its carbon offsetting program called Climate Active. Origin LPG customers can also expect to pay $3 extra per 45kg cylinder (or tanker-fill equivalent) for Green LPG. Keep in mind, while you might get the impression that you’re getting carbon natural energy offsets for free with some retailers, the reality is you’ll be paying for it through the electricity usage and supply charges you pay – your energy company certainly doesn’t want to lose money by helping you support the environment.

How can I get carbon neutral energy?

Some energy providers, such as AGL and EnergyAustralia, require you to opt in for carbon offsets, however most of the companies below will offer the solution by default. Here’s some plans on our database that come from retailers with carbon neutral programs.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a carbon offsets included in the cost. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a carbon offsets included in the cost. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a carbon offsets included in the cost. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have a carbon offsets included in the cost. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Is carbon neutral enough or should I pay for GreenPower?

At the end of the day, how far you go with your sustainable living efforts is your prerogative. Generally speaking, investing in GreenPower will have a bigger impact on Australia’s carbon emissions than carbon neutral programs, but it will also have a bigger impact on your wallet.

For those that can afford to chuck some extra change on the table for GreenPower, it’s probably the superior option. But if you can’t, being on a carbon neutral energy plan is your next best bet. Compare prices and value from a range of carbon neutral providers, GreenPower providers and others by using our energy comparison tool.

Image credit: MPIX/Shutterstock.com, greenpower.gov.au

Share this article

Advertisement
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]