Renewable Energy Companies Australia: Is there a ‘greenest’ energy provider?

Green is the new black in the not-so-fashionable world of energy retailing. Most energy retailers would like to be seen as environmentally friendly, but few genuinely are. So, how can you tell which companies will help customers reduce their carbon footprint?

Well, the reality is that it’s hard to determine the retailers that are green, let alone the ‘greenest’. The closest thing to an independent analysis in recent years comes from the good people at Greenpeace Australia and the Total Environment Centre, which we will touch on in more detail below. 

If you are looking for a ‘greener’ provider though, thankfully, there are some that allow you, the consumer, to opt in to green initiatives, primarily through offsetting programs. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the energy providers that are doing their bit for the planet and what you as a consumer should look for in terms of green energy credentials. 

What makes a renewable energy company?

wind turbines

There are a few key factors to consider when trying to weigh up which energy companies are looking out for the environment, such as:

  • Do they offer green energy products such as GreenPower or carbon offsetting to help their customers contribute to the renewable energy industry or at least offset their own energy use? A high solar feed-in tariff could also be considered as a way of encouraging households to go green themselves.
  • Does the retailer or the parent company own any renewable energy assets such as solar farms, wind farms, or hydroelectricity plants that contribute clean power to the overall energy mix in Australia?
  • How innovative is the provider in creating new products and supporting renewable energy industries such as electric vehicles? Some retailers promote EV energy plans to support households with electric cars.
  • What is the company’s public position on renewable energy and plans for the future? Some big retailers have undergone an image change in recent years to promote green energy credentials.

Renewable Reality Check

Whatever a renewable energy company’s credentials are, it’s important to understand that there is no perfect green energy company, not least because no energy company in Australia can claim to only sell renewable power. The reality is that all retailers sell electricity from an energy grid made up of both clean and dirty energy, so even if you wanted to, you can’t opt in to only buy renewable energy. The best you can do is support one or more of the renewable energy initiatives that are available. (Some companies have previously given customers the impression they only sell green energy and it’s got them into big trouble!).

Plans from Renewable Energy Companies in Australia

For most of us, using energy is completely unavoidable, so when your electricity company gives you a way to turn that inevitable usage into somewhat of a good thing, it’s easy to think why not, right? Here’s a breakdown of the providers that are offering either GreenPower or general carbon offsetting.

Energy companies offering GreenPower

GreenPower is advertised as a renewable energy product, so a GreenPower plan must mean you’re getting renewable energy, right? Wrong. While it does support the generation of local renewable energy development and continuation, it does so by your provider paying into this program on your behalf, equal to what your usage is. So, in a nutshell, offsetting. Here are the companies that offer GreenPower as an addition to your energy tariff, to the amount of anywhere between 10% and 100%.

Be aware that, in most cases, GreenPower costs you more money on top of your standard energy costs, so it can be a hard sell unless you really take your personal carbon footprint seriously. The exception to this model is Nectr and Tango, which adds 100% GreenPower as standard with one of its power plans. But in most cases, you’ll pay an extra amount on your usage rate, for example 5c, for your power to be offset.

Energy plans that offer GreenPower options

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 may 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 may 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 may 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 may not include the cost of GreenPower. The extra cost of GreenPower may vary between retailers.

Energy companies with carbon neutral initiatives

Like with GreenPower, an energy provider can choose to carbon offset the power used by its customers by supporting renewable energy development and reducing carbon emissions. The main difference is that it’s on a global scale, and that most of the retailers below offer it free of charge. Well, so it seems anyway, given that you’ll likely pay for it in the form of higher standard costs. This means that fewer power retailers participate in carbon offset initiatives. Here they are:

  • AGL
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Enova Energy
  • Energy Locals
  • GloBird Energy
  • Nectr
  • Origin Energy
  • Powerdirect
  • Powershop
  • Simply Energy
  • Smart Energy

Carbon Neutral Energy Plans

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.

The Green Electricity Guide

As mentioned above, the closest thing Australian consumers have had to an independent ranking of energy retailers based on which could be described as the ‘greenest’ in recent years came from Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre. They have released four versions of a ‘Green Electricity Guide which was a national and state by state ranking of electricity companies based on various relevant criteria. The Green Electricity Guide has been released in 2014, 2015, 2018 and now again in 2022. 

While the energy industry is fast evolving, the latest report provides a helpful, high-level guide to which retailers are generally making positive moves in support of renewables and giving customers options to make cleaner energy decisions. 

The 2022 Green Electricity Guide listed 48 energy retailers, ranking them against the following criteria:

  • Providing clean, renewable energy
  • Ending coal use by 2030
  • Halting fossil fuel expansion
  • Support for new renewable energy
  • Transparency of marketing
  • Pollution and environmental harm

A bonus point was also awarded to the retailers that are either not-for-profit or particularly focused on supporting community led renewable energy projects.

Enova Energy and Diamond Energy both scored five stars in the 2022 Green Electricity Guide and proved the best-performing retailers when it comes to renewable energy in Australia. You can compare plans from these providers – and many more – with our electricity comparison tool below.

Enova Energy

Enova Energy received five stars and a perfect score of 10 out of 10 in the 2022 Green Electricity Guide, improving on its previous score of 7.4 out of 10 in the 2018 edition. Enova Energy is one of Australia’s first community-owned, social enterprises for electricity, which claims to reinvest half of its profits back into the community through energy efficiency, education and community projects. Enova claims to source almost all of its energy from its own customer’s rooftop solar, however, being a white-label retailer, it also sources power from renewable electricity generator and retailer, Diamond Energy. Enova Energy only services New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Enova Energy Plans & Prices

Here are the Enova Energy plans on our database for NSW. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney (2040) but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3,900kWh/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 the Enova Energy plans on our database for QLD. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane (4064) but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4,600kWh/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.

Diamond Energy

Diamond Energy also received five stars in the latest Green Electricity Guide, earning a perfect score of 10 out of 10, again improving on its previous score of 9.1 out of 10. Diamond Energy owns biogas power plants, as well as numerous solar and wind farms across the southern states. In fact, Diamond Energy claims to deliver more electricity sourced from renewables to the grid than its customers actually consume! The retailer also pays out up to 100c/kWh feed-in tariffs for solar customers with batteries.

Diamond Energy Plans & Prices

Here are the Diamond Energy plans on our database for NSW. 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 the Diamond Energy plans on our database for Victoria. 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 the Diamond Energy plans on our database for SE QLD. 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 the Diamond Energy plans on our database for South Australia. 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 dirty three’ Energy Companies

Australia’s largest energy retailers – Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL – hold a combined market share of around 70 per cent. They’re labelled ‘the dirty three’ because they each have investments in coal generation and coal seam gas projects, consequently making them some of Australia’s biggest polluters. Although each company has invested millions of dollars into renewable energy projects, some industry experts and commentators believe that these companies could be doing more. All three of these providers were placed at the bottom of the list, earning just one star for their renewable efforts.

Origin Energy

Origin Energy ranked 44th in the latest guide, with an overall score of 1.6 out of 10. While it was recognised that the retailer invests in some renewable energy generation, the Green Electricity Guide states that Origin is the fourth biggest climate polluter in Australia due to its large Eraring coal-burning power station in NSW and gas extraction and burning activities.

EnergyAustralia

EnergyAustralia came in just below Origin, with a score of 1.35 out of 10 in the Green Electricity Guide. Like the other big energy companies, EnergyAustralia has extensively invested in large coal-burning and gas power stations across Australia. It was noted though, that the retailer owns some renewable assets. According to the Green Electricity Guide, EnergyAustralia is the country’s second biggest climate polluter.

AGL

AGL came in at 48th in the 2022 Green Electricity Guide. It received one star and a score of 1.2 out of 10. According to the Green Electricity Guide, AGL is Australia’s biggest climate polluter, and accounts for about eight per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. While AGL does own and invest in renewable assets, at least 83 per cent of the provider’s generation is claimed to come from burning coal.

List of Renewable Energy Companies in Australia

The full Australia-wide ‘green’ results breakdown

The following table shows the final overall rankings for energy retailers included in the 2022 Green Electricity Guide. Keep in mind these scores may change over time due to a variety of reasons.

Rank Retailer Score
1 Enova Energy* 10
2 Diamond Energy 10
3 Momentum Energy 8.6
4 Aurora Energy 8.09
5 Indigo Power* 7.88
6 Energy Locals* 7.69
7 Nectr Energy 7.3
8 CoPower* 7.18
9 Amber Electric 7
10 Powershop 7
11 Mojo Power 6.84
12 Lumo Energy 6.6
13 Red Energy 6.6
14 Tango Energy 6.49
15 Discover Energy 6.45
16 Social Energy 6.44
17 iO Energy 6.39
18 Radian Energy 6.34
19 Bright Spark Power 6.14
20 Jacana Energy 5.99
21 ReAmped Energy 5.8
22 Rimfire Energy 5.59
23 OVO Energy 4.74
24 Real Utilities 4.65
25 Glowpower 4.5
26 Locality Planning Energy 4.23
27 CovaU 4.14
28 Powerclub 3.99
29 Altogether Group 3.99
30 Future X Power 3.84
31 GEE Power and Gas 3.84
32 Elysian Energy 3.6
33 Metered Energy 3.54
34 EZI Power 3.54
35 1st Energy 3.54
36 GloBird Energy 3.54
37 Sumo Power 3.54
38 Dodo Power 3.39
39 Commander Power and Gas 3.39
40 Alinta Energy 3.14
41 Simply Energy 2.59
42 Synergy 2.44
43 WINConnect 1.99
44 Origin Energy 1.6
45 EnergyAustralia 1.35
46 Powerdirect 1.29
47 ActewAGL 1.29
48 AGL 1.2

Source: Green Electricity Guide 2022. See below for state-by-state breakdown of results. Providers with a (*) were awarded a bonus point for community focus.

How dirty are Australian Renewable Energy Companies?

If there’s one thing to take away from the 2022 Green Electricity Guide, it’s that energy retailers are making progress, but there is still plenty of work left to be done. While electricity companies continue to get behind renewable energy, as it stands, we are still heavily dependent on dirty coal power to meet the energy demands of a major world economy.

As consumers, there is only so much we can personally do to improve the state of Australia’s renewable energy industry. But getting behind programs like GreenPower and carbon offsetting is clearly in our control, likewise supporting retailers that focus on renewable energy generation will help out. The challenge is making a difference without too much of an impact on your hip pocket.

Compare Solar Power Providers

Top 10 Renewable Energy Companies by State

Some of the 48 retailers in the list above do not operate in every state. Due to this, we have broken the above list down by each state to show the greenest energy companies available in your area as judged by the 2022 Green Electricity Guide.

QLD Greenest Energy Companies

Rank Retailer Score
1 Enova Energy* 10
2 Diamond Energy 10
3 Momentum Energy 8.6
4 Energy Locals* 7.69
5 Nectr Energy 7.3
6 CoPower* 7.18
7 Amber Electric 7
8 Powershop 7
9 Mojo Power 6.84
10 Red Energy 6.6

Source: Green Electricity Guide 2022. Providers with a (*) were awarded a bonus point for community focus.

NSW Greenest Energy Companies

Rank Retailer Score
1 Enova Energy* 10
2 Diamond Energy 10
3 Momentum Energy 8.6
4 Indigo Power* 7.88
5 Energy Locals* 7.69
6 Nectr Energy 7.3
7 CoPower* 7.18
8 Amber Electric 7
9 Powershop 7
10 Mojo Power 6.84

Source: Green Electricity Guide 2022. Providers with a (*) were awarded a bonus point for community focus.

VIC Greenest Energy Companies

Rank Retailer Score
1 Diamond Energy 10
2 Momentum Energy 8.6
3 Indigo Power* 7.88
4 Energy Locals* 7.69
5 CoPower* 7.18
6 Amber Electric 7
7 Powershop 7
8 Lumo Energy 6.6
9 Red Energy 6.6
10 Tango Energy 6.49

Source: Green Electricity Guide 2022. Providers with a (*) were awarded a bonus point for community focus.

SA Greenest Energy Companies

Rank Retailer Score
1 Diamond Energy 10
2 Momentum Energy 8.6
3 Energy Locals* 7.69
4 Nectr Energy 7.3
5 CoPower* 7.18
6 Amber Electric 7
7 Powershop 7
8 Mojo Power 6.84
9 Lumo Energy 6.6
10 Red Energy 6.6

Source: Green Electricity Guide 2022. Providers with a (*) were awarded a bonus point for community focus.

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