Additionality — Bulb Community


If I buy a kWh of green electricity from you, how do I know that it's not simply balanced by another supplier reducing their supply of green electricity by the same amount so no net reduction in carbon emission? (I think this is what Ofgem have in mind when they talk about additionality?)


  • Hi @faddy, it's a great question and you're right. The term is additionality and Ofgem introduced it for exactly the reason you stated.

    We do our additionality by providing 10% green gas. Biomethane that is anaerobically digested from pig waste. Making it carbon neutral, rather than digging it up out of the ground.

    There is a bit more to the story than just that though. Beyond additionality there are two good reasons to go with a green supplier. Firstly, going with a green supplier increases demand for renewables, which makes it more attractive for investors to invest in more renewable sites. For example, if 50% of people in the UK decided that they wanted to be on a 100% green tariff then the UK would have to supply 50% of it's energy from renewable sources, and non-green generators would have to shut down because there wouldn't be enough demand for it.

    Secondly, think about where the profits go. If you get standard energy from EvilCorp, then the profits for that go towards the things that they stand for. Like fracking. If you go with a renewable energy company then they an invest it in growing their business which in turn means more people go green, demand for renewables goes up and thus more people build renewable generators.

    Hope this helps,

  • Hi,

    But this doesn't answer the question does it. Does bulb procure 100% of it's electricity from renewable sources, and can you guarantee that those MWhs are "additional"?

    I suspect you are just procuring REGO's to meet your demand, which is much less interesting and in itself does not incrementally improve carbon emissions.

  • Bulb does get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources ( see ) [it's worth noting, that due how the National Grid works, the electricity that actually reaches your house may be from a non-renewable source - say if you live right next to a gas plant - but if you used 100Kwh of electricity, then Bulb would have made sure at least 100Kwh of renewable energy went into the grid].

    How can Bulb guarantee the MWhs are 'additional'? It's difficult - after all, you could be correct in that every MWh of renewable energy that Bulb provides that 'Evil Utility Company' then chucks another shipment of coal into their generator (as they now can't 'buy' that MWh of renewable energy for their customers). However, as more and more customers decide to vote with their wallets and go with '100% green suppliers' like Bulb and leave the 'Evil Utility Company' then the EUC will have to do something to keep those customers and go green themselves.... But could EUC lie about going green? Yes, but then when OFGEM checks where their supplies come from they'll be found out...
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