Do you wish to join a supplier that invests in renewable energy? Good news! The new Greenpeace ranking lists precisely the good and bad performers when it comes to environmental issues.

It would seem that subscribing to a green electricity deal is well-intentioned. Protecting the planet and checking global warming is indeed in tune with the times and, according to several associations, an urgent matter. Given the importance of what is a stake, some people make a lot of small gestures in everyday life that ultimately make the difference. For example, each and every one of us can reduce water consumption, avoid the use of toxic products, recycle our waste… or even choose our supplier of electricity and/or gas carefully.

Though this used to require consumers to make a major effort, it doesn’t any more. At least to find out how green the energy supplied by the company is as well as its environmental management policy. Indeed, the Greenpeace ranking directly reveals the greenest suppliers on the market.

What exactly is green electricity?

The Greenpeace ranking is interesting because it brings to light a controversial yet legal practice: the purchase of guarantee of origin labels (GOL).

In Europe, energy suppliers can offer deals with a 100% green energy. This would lead consumers, logically, to believe that the electricity sold as such comes from a renewable energy source. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Indeed, when a supplier sells a 100% green electricity deal in Europe, he is obliged to prove that this electricity is green by providing GOL in equal quantity. Three scenarios are then possible:

  1. The supplier produces this electricity himself from renewable sources (photovoltaic, wind, hydraulic, biomass…) and automatically receives GOL for this production;
  2. The supplier produces this electricity from non-renewable sources (nuclear, gas, coal, etc.) but buys GOL from small renewable producers located in Europe;
  3. The supplier has no production units and buys electricity on the wholesale market. The supplier is then dependent on the production mix which may not be 100% renewable. The supplier is therefore in the case above mentioned: he must buy GOL from small renewable producers.

In fact, it is quite possible to offer green electricity deals while investing in dirty energy. This is annoying for households that absolutely refuse to fund nuclear, gas or coal-powered plants. This is why, through its ranking, Greenpeace hopes to help consumers to find a supplier that really does contribute to the development of green energy.

Suppliers classified by the number of suns

In the Greenpeace ranking, each supplier is awarded a score out of 20 according to its energy policy and the weighting of the factors taken into account. Then, on the basis of this score and these criteria, the NGO assigns a certain number of suns:

  • 4 suns or “highly recommended supplier”: these suppliers have obtained at least 18/20 and must be members of REScoop, the federation of Walloon renewable energy citizen cooperatives and associations.
  • 3 suns or “recommended supplier”: these suppliers received a score of between 15/20 and 20/20 and include very little (5% maximum) dirty energy as part of their purchases or electricity production.
  • 2 suns or “acceptable supplier”: the suppliers in this category obtained a score of between 12/20 and 15/20.
  • 1 sun or “can do better”: the supplier has been awarded a score of between 5/20 and 12/20.
  • 0 suns or “supplier not recommended”: in this case, either the energy score is below 5/20, or the supplier continues to invest in nuclear or fossil fuels.

Green electricity cooperatives top of the podium

In 2016, Cociter, Ecopower and Wase Wind achieved the maximum possible number of suns available. This year, these three cooperatives are again among the top of the ranking, but this time they are joined by Energie 2030, which has earned an extra sun. With three suns, Eneco and another two companies are close behind while Mega, Poweo and Ebem have obtained two. At the bottom of the ranking, with no suns, are again notably Belgium’s three major energy suppliersEngie Electrabel, Lampiris and EDF Luminus. Bad news for them, but probably not surprising, while Belpower and Essent.be can now boast to have one sun.

2017 ranking of electricity suppliers in Belgium by Greenpeace

Source : Greenpeace Belgium

Having seen the Greenpeace ranking, do you wish to switch energy supplier? Good idea! Now is the chance to support a more ecological one and make savings! However, it will only be possible to reduce your bill if you choose the best electricity deal, green if possible, from among those offered by the chosen supplier. To do so you can simply use the Greenpeace comparison tool.

If you have any questions about the methodology used by Greenpeace, feel free to contact one of our consultants by phone on 02 318 68 86 or by e-mail at info@energyprice.be. They will be happy to help you and especially will be able to check which is the best electricity price for you based on your consumption.

What criteria does Greenpeace use as the basis for its ranking?

To hell with nuclear power and fossil fuels! They are too harmful to the environment! In short, it is on this premise that Greenpeace drafts its ranking of active suppliers of electricity in Belgium.

More precisely, the ONG distinguishes suppliers according to three criteria:

  1. Their investments in renewable energy (50% of the points);
  2. Their purchases of electricity and/or their current production (35% of the points);
  3. Their energy mix (15% of the points).

To make the result more understandable for the citizens, the organization performs a calculation that allows it to assign a score to each supplier and offer its opinion in the form of suns. The more suns a company gets, the greater its support for the renewable energy sector. A pretty clear system that has been reviewed this year, just as in 2016.

Why? Thanks to these changes, Greenpeace seeks to reflect the reality of the facts more precisely. So, after a single score out of 20 (in 2014) and a scoring system stopping at three suns (in 2016), this year each supplier can harvest a maximum of 4 suns. The Holy Grail of supply companies committed to promoting clean energy. Because getting a good score is a commercial argument served on a plate that usually wins over consumers.

A new calculation of investments for this 2017 version

Wind energy, like solar energy, is a sustainable energy source.In detail, Greenpeace has decided this year to review the investment component to also take divestments into account. This change is not negligible since it is the part to which the NGO assigns the highest weighting, i.e. half of the points. Reflecting the direction followed by the company, it was previously only determined by taking note of new investments and comparing them to the current production (or purchase) of energy in order to properly assess its importance.

Although this methodology is still in use, this time Greenpeace has divided investments into two categories: those made during the last two years and those planned for the next two years. In addition, the organization has chosen to reward companies implementing a disinvestment policy in coal, lignite and nuclear power in order to fight global warming. Many millions of euros can potentially support the energy transition instead of the development of polluting projects. Clearly, to get the maximum score concerning investments, efforts must be made at different levels.

Are you convinced by this ranking? Then don’t wait any longer to check the rating of your current supplier! If it does not suit you, remember that you can terminate your electricity contract at any time, free of charge. Moreover, you can rely on our help knowing that we are available on 02 318 68 86, from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

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