Renewable energy faqs
Renewable energy continues to rise as a method of powering homes, businesses and the world as we shift towards sustainable forms of power. From large-scale government investments to smart bins, renewable energy innovations are all around us and the uptake of green power continues to increase across Australia and the globe.
But have you ever stopped to think about how exactly renewable energy could play a role in your daily life or help cut the cost of your energy bill? In this guide, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about renewable energy and what it all means for energy options for your home.
What is renewable energy and how is it generated?
Renewable energy is energy that is collected from natural resources, such as the sun, wind and water, to generate electricity. Unlike fossil fuels which release carbon emissions into the atmosphere when burnt, renewable energy does not produce any greenhouse gases and is replenishable, making it a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy source.
For instance, solar panels soak up the sun’s rays to produce electricity, while wind energy and hydropower electricity is generated by spinning a turbine.
Renewable energy can be produced by individuals or by larger groups and governments. Whether its solar panels on the roof of your home or a government funded wind farm, the clean energy produced can be integrated into the grid and used in homes around the country.
How can I use renewable energy in my home?
There are two ways to have renewable energy supplied into your home: switching to an energy retailer that offers green energy plans or installing solar panels.
Choosing to install solar panels will allow you to generate your own electricity using sunlight - though you’ll still need to be connected with an energy retailer. If your solar panels regularly generate enough electricity for your home, you could save on your electricity bill and even be paid to pump any excess electricity generated back into the grid. Australia has the highest uptake of solar energy in the world, with almost 30% of homes having rooftop solar systems installed as of March 2021.
Many energy retailers offer green energy plans that let you buy some or all of your electricity needs from renewable sources. So if you’re not ready to take the plunge with solar panels just yet, this could be an option. You can compare green energy plans available in your area by using our handy energy comparison tool.
What is a green energy plan?
Green energy plans can differ a lot between different providers. One common green energy plan allows you to ‘sponsor’ a percentage of your energy usage (from 10% to 100%) to be generated from renewable sources. Although this renewable energy won’t be supplied to your home, your electricity retailer will purchase it on your behalf and feed it back into the grid.
There are a number of government initiatives that support and fund the production of new renewable energy projects that can eventually find their way into household energy plans, and as such green energy plans can often change quite frequently in what exactly they offer. Look around to find an energy provider offering a green energy plan that matches your needs and ideals, our energy hub is a good starting point.
Many energy retailers offer certified GreenPower Products, which can be identified by the GreenPower ‘tick’ logo.
What is GreenPower?
The GreenPower Program is a government managed scheme that allows Australian households and businesses to match their electricity usage with certified renewable energy, which is then pumped into the grid by their provider on their behalf.
When you purchase a GreenPower certified product from your energy retailer, they buy the equivalent amount of electricity as nominated by you from accredited renewable energy generators, which generate electricity from sources like wind, solar, water and bioenergy.
Why is GreenPower more expensive than standard electricity?
GreenPower plans have a higher tariff than standard electricity plans because currently it entails building a new infrastructure for the grid. However, like any other new technology, as the infrastructure develops and the demand for renewable energy rises, the costs should decline over time.
In general, the cost of GreenPower is around 5-8 cents per kWh more than the standard current electricity rate, when you choose to buy 100% GreenPower. If you were to opt for a relatively smaller proportion of 10-25% GreenPower, you will only have to pay about 80 cents to $1 a week.
What is the advantage of opting for a green plan?
For many Aussies, having the power to reduce your household’s carbon footprint by sponsoring all or a portion of your electricity usage is a massive benefit of opting for a green energy plan.
Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource. Shifting to sustainable energy is a way to reduce our reliance on these resources and reduce carbon emissions. Green energy is a clean power source, producing no greenhouse gas emissions and reducing some types of air pollution.
Whether you’re actually using renewable energy in your home or simply offsetting your usage with energy pumped into the grid, choosing green power supports the environmental and ecological benefits they offer as the renewables industry continues to grow.
What are some upcoming developments for renewable energy?
Renewable energy generation and usage continues to grow in Australia as more homes and businesses adopt green power. There are a number of renewable energy projects planned for the future that should see renewables become an even bigger part of the energy equation.
The biggest project currently in development is the Walcha Energy Project located in NSW, with energy generation scheduled to begin in 2023. The project plans to generate solar, wind and hydro power in the area as a replacement for existing coal plants that will gradually be retired.
Here at Mozo we recently told you about a proposed green energy hub in WA that could produce enough renewable energy to power Australia. If the project was to go ahead, it would be the world’s largest hybrid energy operation
How can I choose a renewable energy plan for my home?
If you want to make an environment-friendly choice to reduce your household’s carbon footprint, Mozo’s energy comparison tool can help you make the switch to a green power plan.
Simply find a provider in your area with the tool below and learn what green power plans they offer.