Halting climate change will mean wide-spread systematic changes from the government, but also lots of better-informed individual actions from all of us.
There are four ways that we can all help to give our support to renewable power and help to reduce the amount of fossil fuel we’re running through the grid.
Using dirty fuels seems rather silly when we think about the abundance of sunlight. Generating your own solar power is a great way to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels, and when you export solar to the grid you can help your neighbours to green up their act.
With over 2 million Australian homes already using solar and lots of new large-scale solar built in 2018, we might start to reach capacity during peak solar time periods. This is pretty amazing, but it also means we need to start spreading out our electricity generation to reduce dependency on fossil fuels as much as possible.
Of course, this means paying attention to not just how much power we’re using, but when we’re using it. If you’ve got solar, then you can make a bigger impact by setting up your panels to make sure that you’re generating power across the whole day as much as possible. You could even investigate home battery storage, which means you can use your stored solar energy when the sun isn’t shining.
Even if you haven’t got solar, if you change the times you are using power, you can change the ‘mix’ of sources that provide your electricity. If you use more power at sunny time periods, or when it’s really windy, then you’re getting a higher percentage of power to your house from clean electricity sources. If you use less at peak times when lots of coal and gas is being burnt to provide power, that means less power from dirty sources. Change your behaviour where you can, which may mean being home to run your dryer and hit the switch on the dishwasher during daylight hours, or using smart timers to make it all happen.
The best part about supporting renewables in this way is that it can actually be cheaper than doing nothing. In fact - this is the whole reason we started amber electric! If you’re with amber, then you get wholesale prices for your electricity. Wholesale prices tend to be lower when there’s lots of renewable power in the grid since it means we don’t need to rely on more expensive dirty sources. So if you use more power during cheap renewable times, you’re saving money, and more of what you’re paying goes to renewable providers rather than dirty sources… we call that a win-win!
The nationwide GreenPower scheme lets both individuals and businesses get behind renewable energy. It’s a government-accredited scheme that enables consumers to buy ‘certificates’ generated by renewable energy sources which can offset usage from the grid. This might sound a bit abstract. Why can’t you just buy your power directly from renewable providers? While it would be awesome if that was possible, the mechanics of electricity get in the way. Once generators feed electricity into the national grid, it’s all identical. So we have no way of knowing which electrons came from green sources or control which ones you use to power your home (Here’s more on how electricity supply works).
TheGreenPower scheme acts as a financial transfer that operates on top of the electricity grid. Renewable generators are awarded certificates when they generate electricity, and consumers buy these certificates to offset their consumption. This essentially gives renewable energy a price premium over dirty sources, to encourage more development of renewable sources.
We believe in GreenPower and are proud to offer this option to our customers. But we also know that paying a premium isn’t for everyone. Of course, you could see the savings you get from buying wholesale as a great offset for your GreenPower contribution.
A key challenge for renewables is funding. You might have a good handle on where your money goes…but do you know what your super fund does with the cash you have stashed with them? It’s not always where you would prefer. When it comes to the bigger, more established funds, there is still a lot of choice when it comes to choosing an ‘ethical’ fund’.
Along with the bigger funds, there are a number of emerging startup super funds, who are maybe more attuned to the needs of a contemporary audience. Check out newer funds like Spaceship for an investment approach designed with transparency in mind.
Ready to make a painless change? Start buying your power wholesale.. Find out more about joining amber