Many electricity companies sell power from renewable sources, but depending on where you live, different options are available. Western Australia doesn’t have as many electricity companies as the eastern states of Australia because the industry was only recently deregulated and until a few years ago electricity was provided by a state government owned company.
Perth has only one company which provides electricity. Until I install my own solar panels to generate electricity, I have to use their electricity. I purchase it through their NaturalPower product, which provides energy generated from renewable sources. Synergy Energy says,
When you switch to NaturalPower you will still receive a mix of energy types [coal-fuelled, solar, wind, hydro,etc], as it is not practical to install additional power lines just to carry NaturalPower. However, we guarantee the amount of energy you use will be sourced from renewable sources and will increase the overall amount of renewable energy in the grid.
NaturalPower costs 3c per unit more than ordinary electricity. I’m a student and so I don’t have a lot of money, but the increase in my electricity bill after switching to NaturalPower hasn’t been onerous.
But NaturalPower isn’t all good. I don’t like the fact that if more people sign up for it, this doesn’t necessarily mean the electricity provider will buy more energy from renewable sources. I guess if enough people sign up, they will have to because they
guarantee the amount of energy you use will be sourced from renewable sources.
A quicker way to increase the amount of renewable energy would be to increase Australia’s Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, which is set at 9,500GWh by 2010. This current target will only increase Australia’s renewable energy market by about 1-2 percent. The Australian Conservation Foundation suggests a better target would be 25 percent.
Synergy Energy has another product called Earth Friendly where they offset the emissions created in the production of the coal generated electricity by contributing to greenhouse gas reduction programs. These include: sequestration (planting trees), methane flaring, landfill diversion, and fuel substitution (converting coal or oil to gas). Green Electricity Watch recommends this be avoided.