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ScottishPower seeks to challenge greenwashing with new 100% renewable tariff

ScottishPower's Wether Hill wind farm. Image: Bob Peace.

ScottishPower's Wether Hill wind farm. Image: Bob Peace.

ScottishPower has announced from today all new domestic fixed price tariffs will use 100% renewable energy that will be sourced entirely from its own wind farms.

This will mean that all of the power generated by the company’s wind farms will be used exclusively by its domestic and commercial customers. Money made from the tariff will be reinvested into new renewable generation, allowing investment in renewables to grow alongside customers.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said the company was in a “unique” position in being able to make the tariff offering, as the UK’s only end-to-end provider.

“This new approach builds on this investment and shows how we’re finding new ways to speed up the drive to net zero in the UK.

“With an increasing number of green tariffs in the market, it’s important that consumers understand how ‘green’ their tariff is in terms of supporting the UK renewables industry. This isn’t about playing games with bits of paper or certificates. This is the real deal – customers buying energy from renewable sources and helping us to build even more.”

The company is hoping that the move will set it apart from other 100% renewable tariffs that rely on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs).

“My concern is that too many customers think they’re buying renewable electricity, when all they’re buying is a renewable certificate. Today, we’re calling time on this so-called ‘greenwashing,’” continued Anderson.

“Unlike some competitor offerings that simply buy up green certificates and don’t actually purchase the related renewable electricity, ScottishPower customers can be confident that their electricity comes from renewable sources, with all the electricity supplied from our UK-based windfarms.”

The move follow Centrica’s British Gas launching a 100% renewable tariff earlier this year, and facing criticism for relying on REGOs. Similar complaints were raised against Shell Energy last year for its renewable tariff, with competitor Good Energy a particularly vocal critic.

“We see the REGO loophole being exploited more and more. Instead of ‘providing transparency to customers’ REGO trading is actually hiding the difference between fossil fuel based suppliers like Shell Energy and suppliers who go to the extra effort and expense to contract directly with renewable generators and buy real green power,” senior forecasting analyst at Good Energy, Thomas Harrison, wrote at the time.

Many in the energy sector are becoming increasingly concerned with greenwashing, with Ofgem including it in its more recent decarbonisation programme action plan.

"We expect suppliers to be transparent about what constitutes a ‘green tariff’ and we will undertake work to ensure that consumers are not misled,” states the report.

ScottishPower’s shift to a self-generated 100% renewable tariff comes after the company became the first integrated energy company in the UK to shift completely to wind generation in 2018.

Currently its wind farms produce enough power for 1.5 million homes, and it is investing £7 million per working day to expand and improve its offering.

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