How Green is Bulb?

I see that the Bulb website says "To cover any shortfalls, we purchase renewable energy on the wholesale market. "

Can you tell me what percentage of Bulb’s electricity is covered by Renewable Energy Certificates purchased on the wholesale market? Do you make sure that such certificates do not come from municipal waste incinerators?

I do not want my electricity coming from an incinerator. Incinerators may claim that a proportion of their electricity is “renewable” (because it is generated from waste wood etc.) but the reality is that they incinerate materials that can and should be recycled, and they incinerate plastics thereby releasing all the fossil carbon into the atmosphere. In my view, any Renewable Energy Certificates that they may be entitled to do not make up for the environmental damage caused.

I hope you can reassure me that none of my electricity comes from such polluting sources of electricity.

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Hey @GoGreen :wave:

Welcome to Community :partying_face:

We have direct contracts with generators (PPAs) and the amount they provide can vary depending on the day. We support UK generators and we recently signed around 30 new PPAs with small, family-run businesses- You can read more about the generators we work with as well.

We have enough PPAs with renewable generators to meet up to 40% of our members’ demand. We buy the rest of our electricity on the wholesale market with a REGO to match. We use REGOs as long as the governance is strong and we know that the certificates support renewable generators in the UK.

Every carbon offset certificate Bulb buys is also verified through 1 of 3 internationally recognised standards: the Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s Clean Development Mechanism.

We have a post about carbon offsetting here & blog posts about our projects, too, if you’re interested :relaxed:

Let us know if you have any more questions as this is a really important topic!

– H :bulb:

Thanks for your reply. 40% of your electricity from direct contracts with generators does not sound like a very much to me. Presumably that means that 60% comes from elsewhere.

Do you control where you purchase your REGOs from? Are you able to reassure me that none of the electricity I purchase from Bulb comes from incinerators that also burn plastics and so release all the fossil carbon into the atmosphere?

Hi @GoGreen

40% is from direct relationships but the rest would be made up from REGOs we mentioned above. Using the REGOs ensures that every KWH you use is connected back to a generator and is 100% green- We use REGOs as long as the governance is strong and we know that the certificates support renewable generators in the UK.

Our elec is 100% renewable - as far as I’m aware I don’t think incinerators count as 100% renewable energy so we wouldn’t get REGOs from these sources. Do you have any examples we can take a look at?

I agree with what you mean saying that the direct contacts don’t yet make up the majority. The UK needs more installed renewable capacity, and grid-scale storage solutions like batteries to balance the intermittency when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun not shining. This will mean more suppliers can supply more electricity from PPAs :sun_with_face:

I’ve just noticed that a Bulb blog post says that you “don’t buy electricity made from biomass, high impact hydro, or energy from waste”. That’s great, but it doesn’t say whether Bulb buys REGOs from biomass, high impact hydro, or energy from waste.

Can you reassure me that Bulb only buys REGOs from genuinely green sources such as PV, Hydro and Wind and not from biomass and energy from waste?

Also, I note that you said the agreements with renewable generators meet "up to 40% of our members’ demand. Please let me know what percentage of your electricity actually came from these agreements over a one year period. “Up to 40%” could be 40%, but it could also be 4% of even less!

I have tried to include website links to various sites showing waste incinerators can sell REGOs but the forum doesn’t allow me to include them. It isn’t hard to find references to REGOs from Energy from Waste incinerators though and there are even consultancy companies offering services to incineration companies helping them with the necessary documentation. Auctions of REGOs, such as those on epowerautcions, may include incinerator REGOs as “biomass” REGOs.

@GoGreen

We don’t buy any electricity made from waste and landfill gas, as we don’t believe it meets the test of renewable energy. This is because energy from waste (EfW) involves burning rubbish to create steam, which drives a turbine to create electricity. EfW produces CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. Burning waste in this way can produce toxic fumes like dioxins, which can pollute the local environment and may pose a health risk.

Landfill waste can be left to decompose naturally, which releases biogas that can be captured and burned for electricity. But household and industrial waste often contains plastics, which are produced using fossil fuels. This means it’s not possible to guarantee that EfW and landfill gas electricity are always renewable sources of energy.

We source our electricity from wind, solar and hydro to make sure all our sources can be traced to a 100% renewable generator so we won’t be using these in our REGOS :relaxed:

We have chatted about the PPA generation on this thread if you’re interested as well!

Thank you for your reply. I agree with your comments about energy from waste (EfW) and I am really glad to hear you source all electricity (including REGOS) from wind, solar and hydro.