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How to switch to a green energy provider

February 29, 2024
July 14, 2022

Greenpeace’s Green Electricity Guide makes it even easier to choose a new electricity provider (one that doesn’t mine the planet for fossil fuels). Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Give yourself some credit

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: in Australia, 76% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. But as one of the sunniest countries on earth, with a nice supply of wind, we’ve got everything we need to be a renewable energy powerhouse (pardon the pun). So what’s been stopping us from switching to a clean, green electricity provider – one that isn’t mining the planet and directly contributing to climate change?

Like moving your banking and super into ethical funds, changing your electricity provider is one of those tasks that feels like it’s going to be challenging, but is actually pretty easy. It also has a huge impact on the health of the planet. Not only are we bringing more renewables into the energy grid, we’re sending a powerful message to utility providers: it’s time for Australia to transition away from fossil fuels.

Kudos to you for deciding to make a positive change by switching to a sustainable energy provider.

Step 2: Identify your options: green energy providers in Australia

Good news: the hard work has been done for you. Meet the Greenpeace Green Electricity Guide, a document that ranks the best (and worst) electricity providers in Australia. Companies are ranked on criteria like providing clean, renewable energy, committing to ending coal use and halting fossil fuel expansion.

The guide makes it easy to see who’s doing what in the electricity market, from the greenest providers bringing renewables into the country’s electricity system, to the worst of the bunch. These companies are some of the dirtiest climate polluters and – surprise, surprise – are among the biggest names in Australia’s retail energy space.

Here's an overview of the Green Electricity Guide:

Step 3: Look into their policies and actions

The guide is designed to be easy to use and provide an overview of each provider’s ratings, but it’s still worth doing your own research.

According to the guide, “the greenest electricity providers are those which are spurring an uptake of renewables and reducing the amount of coal and gas in the electricity they on-sell”.

When you’re shopping around for a new provider, Greenpeace also advises finding one that is “transparent, that they invest in renewables and/or support household uptake of solar panels and batteries, that they promote energy efficiency and at times when there is higher renewable energy generation, and that they don’t hold, operate or invest in dirty coal and gas power stations”.

Tip: Watch out for greenwashing

Greenwashing is rife in the energy sector. Lots of providers are now using terms like ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ to sell their services, but this doesn’t necessarily mean their energy is coming from renewable sources. “Many companies use carbon offsetting,” the guide explains. “This is where they say they’ll make up for carbon emissions through ‘climate-friendly’ projects like planting trees. While planting trees is good, it’s no excuse to keep burning coal!”

A windmill farm in Australia

Step 4: Pick your provider and make the call

Once you’ve done your research and settled on a new green energy provider, making the switch is as simple as giving them a call. They’ll redirect your services through their network so you won’t be without power either.

Switching to a renewable energy provider is an important step for climate-aligned individuals. Moving your services away from a provider that invests in coal and gas to one that’s generating energy from renewables is powerful. Greenpeace states, “By switching to greener electricity providers, together we can force dirty coal and gas out of the grid and bring more renewable electricity in, sending a clear message to electricity companies that it’s time to get serious about tackling climate change.”

Read about our pledge to become net zero by 2035.

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