Our energy mix
If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want to know where your energy comes from. As a responsible supplier and an ethical business, we’re committed to being completely transparent about the energy we sell.
The electricity or gas that comes into your home is actually the same, no matter how environmentally friendly your supplier is – it’s a mix of energy produced in a number of ways. What you can affect is the exact mix of that energy and the proportion of it that comes from renewable and other low carbon sources.
By choosing Co-operative Energy, you’re helping increase the demand for low carbon energy and therefore reducing the demand for less environmentally friendly energy and that’s good for everyone.
The national energy mix
Like it or not, we all get exactly the same power through our electric sockets and gas pipes (unless you generate your own electricity at home and are not connected to the grid). So although you might want to buy renewable energy because you are concerned about climate change, the energy delivered to your home is the same mix as is delivered to your next door neighbour or to a house at the other end of the country.
It’s also worth noting that the amount of renewable electricity in the national mix is just 9.2%, whatever your supplier might claim when they sell you a renewable energy product. The national energy mix for electricity in the last three decades is shown in the following chart:
What drives a supplier to source energy from one fuel type or technology over another? There are several drivers of that decision, such as:
- Reliability – for example, nuclear power is more predictable than wind power, which depends on the weather
- Flexibility – for example, gas-powered stations can be fired up at short notice to meet unexpected peaks in demand
- Carbon content – for example, renewable energy has lower carbon emissions whereas coal-fired power stations have higher emissions
Ultimately though, energy suppliers want to fulfil their customers’ demands, so if there are more people demanding low carbon energy, the suppliers will buy more low carbon energy from the generators and bit by bit, the mix will shift towards being kinder to our environment.
Why is the national energy mix important for climate change?
The national energy mix has a direct impact on the UK’s carbon footprint. Some fuels, such as coal are very dirty and others, such as renewable, are very clean and low in carbon emissions.
So, in addition to reducing the amount of energy we use, as a country we should also aim to buy energy from lower carbon generators if we want to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.
It’s suppliers like us – directed by customers like you – who can influence this. Different suppliers choose to source their energy for electricity in different ways, and every year they are required by Ofgem to publish their fuel mix. We’ve dug out the figures and put them in a chart, ranking them in decreasing order of carbon content.
We’ve only listed the ‘big 6’ suppliers because they currently represent over 99% of the country’s energy supply to households.
Our aim is to source energy for electricity with a carbon content of less than half the national average. Think about it, the more customers we have and the bigger our share of the national energy mix, the more we will help reduce the country’s carbon footprint. And as the other energy suppliers gradually clean up their act, the more challenging our ‘50% below average’ target becomes and the faster we will hit our climate change targets.