How GreenPower Works
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GreenPower is a voluntary, government accredited, program that enables you to purchase renewable energy for your home, business or event. When making a voluntary purchase of GreenPower accredited renewable energy, you are supporting the production of electricity from renewable sources over and above mandatory government targets set under the Renewable Energy Target. This clean energy does not feed directly into your home or business, but is added to the electricity network on your behalf.
The mechanism by which GreenPower Providers (generally your electricity retailer) guarantee that this renewable energy has been generated is through the purchase and surrender (or invalidation) of Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs). These LGCs must come from GreenPower accredited renewable energy generators, such as wind and solar farms.
When you purchase GreenPower, you will continue to receive your electricity supply from the network, which is made up of a mixture of generation sources including coal, gas and renewables. While it is impossible to separate particular types of generation coming through the electricity network, by purchasing GreenPower you are ensuring that a greater proportion of the electricity in the network is generated by government accredited renewable energy.
The GreenPower Program undertakes an audit of Providers and products to ensure that the correct amount of LGCs have been purchased and surrendered each year and this audit is published on the GreenPower website http://www.greenpower.gov.au/Business-Centre/Annual-Audit/.
Will GreenPower Continue after the Introduction of the Carbon Price?
The GreenPower Program will continue following the introduction of the carbon price on 1 July 2012, and the primary purpose to support additional renewable energy over and above mandatory targets through voluntary action will remain unchanged.
For further information and fact sheets on the carbon price, including how it is applied to electricity generation please visit www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au.
Will I be paying for GreenPower and Still Pay a Carbon Price?
The pricing structure of GreenPower products is not regulated under the GreenPower Program; these are purely market-based decisions determined by your GreenPower Provider and depend on their internal pricing strategies and the agreements they have in place with electricity generators to purchase electricity.
The cost of GreenPower is a separate component of your electricity bill to your electricity usage and supply costs. Some GreenPower Providers will package this GreenPower component so that the final price you see on your bill includes the sum total of all the components. Other providers will list the individual components distinctly on your bill. The structure of your bill may also be determined by regulations in your particular jurisdiction. Regardless of which state or territory you are in, you should be able to find out exactly how much you pay for the GreenPower component either on your electricity bill, or by contacting your provider.
The mixture of electricity sources, the amount each provider pays for that electricity and the amount each provider pays for Large-scale generation Certificates can vary significantly from provider to provider. As such, the cost of GreenPower product packages (i.e. the GreenPower component together with your standard electricity usage and supply) varies from provider to provider.
Will the GreenPower Component Cost more because of the Carbon Price?
The carbon price should not increase the amount you pay for the GreenPower component of your electricity bill. In fact, the carbon price may see the cost gap between electricity generation from fossil fuels and renewables close, meaning the cost of the GreenPower component may actually decrease.
However, the amount you pay for the standard electricity supply component may change depending on your provider’s overall electricity mix and internal pricing strategy, particularly in the short term when the overall cost of generating electricity may increase. This means that even 100% GreenPower customers may end up being impacted by the carbon price for the standard electricity supply component of their product package, as the overall cost of supplying your home or business with that product package may have been affected by the carbon price. This impact could see prices rise, but it could also see prices fall depending on your provider’s level of exposure to fossil fuel generation in their portfolio.
What if I am not happy about the Price Changes?
As always, you are encouraged to shop around for an energy offer that suits your needs.
The Australian Energy Regulator has created a new energy price comparison website to assist with this. For more information visit Energy Made Easy (www.energymadeeasy.gov.au).
Wherever you live in Australia, you can use Energy Made Easy from 1 July 2012, however the energy price comparison feature is only available in states and territories where the new National Energy Retail Law has commenced.
If you have any concerns about carbon price claims, you should contact the energy ombudsman in your state or territory or call the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Carbon Price Hotline on 1300 303 609.
Will I still need to buy GreenPower now that there is a Carbon Price?
The carbon price is in place to help Australia reach the targets it has set in terms of emission reduction. When you buy GreenPower you not only support the renewable energy industry, but also help to reduce the overall level of emissions above and beyond legislated Australian targets.
This is because the Commonwealth Government has committed to measure GreenPower purchases on an annual basis and directly take these into account in setting pollution caps. So, by purchasing GreenPower, you are supporting renewable energy and the emission reductions from GreenPower will be additional to the carbon price.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/.