Only one in 10 energy firms prioritise renewables – but switching to a green supplier could reduce your energy bills

A study shows that the world’s energy companies aren’t doing enough to embrace renewables, but UK suppliers are heading in the right direction.

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Research from the University of Oxford has revealed that just 10 per cent of the world’s power companies are actively investing in and prioritising renewables over fossil fuels, the Guardian reports (opens in new tab). The majority of these are based in Europe and the UK. (You'll find our round-up of the best green energy suppliers (opens in new tab) in the UK elsewhere on the site.) 

The study (opens in new tab) – which examined over 3,000 global energy suppliers (opens in new tab) – also uncovered that the majority (60 per cent) were still mainly invested in fossil fuels, despite making some efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, 10 per cent were seen to be promoting growth in gas-fired plants, although these were mainly in the US where firms are looking to utilise the country's surplus shale gas.

The lead researcher and author of the report, Galina Alova, highlighted how the lack of green initiatives from the majority of suppliers is undermining and “hindering” wider global efforts to tackle climate change. Ms Alova also suggested that firms need to curb their continuing investment in fossil fuel facilities, otherwise we’ll be unlikely to meet key climate targets.

Ms Alova told BBC News (opens in new tab): "So utilities are still dominating the global fossil fuel business. And I'm also finding that quite a significant share of the fossil fuel-based capacity owned by utilities has been added in the last decade, meaning that these are quite new assets. But in order for us to achieve the Paris climate agreement goals, they either need to be retired early, or will need carbon capture and storage because otherwise they're still here to stay for decades."

Positive strides in the UK and Europe

However, the study also showed that 10% of utility companies were actively prioritising renewables - with the majority of these based in Europe, and many in the UK. These firms were shown to be investing more in low-carbon energy and green tech, while also shutting down and replacing older fossil fuel-producing power plants.

Britain has made great strides recently when it comes to renewable energy: 

The UK also boasts a number of excellent green energy suppliers – such as Octopus Energy, Bulb Energy and Pure Planet - all of which offer an increasing variety of 100% renewable tariffs.

Why you should switch to a greener supplier

There’s a substantial body of evidence that suggests switching to a green energy supplier could be a smart move. Not only can it help in the fight against climate change, it also makes the markets more competitive and could start encouraging other suppliers to go greener.

You could also benefit from making significant savings on your energy bills, as some green energy companies can be notably cheaper than most suppliers. Our recent review of Bulb, for instance, found its purely renewable tariff to be around £227 cheaper than standard Big Six deals. 

If you're looking to switch you can use an energy comparison service to see the best energy deals in your area and how much you could save by switching to each. If you use our energy price comparison service - we've teamed up with MoneySupermarket to find the best tariffs across the UK - you'll be able to filter by green tariff too. 

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(opens in new tab)If you don't need a fixed-rate deal, you may be able to save even more money by switching to a variable tariff. Either way, a simple energy comparison, which takes just a couple of minutes, will tell you which tariffs are cheapest for your home - and help you switch with ease. Save money now (opens in new tab)

Richard Hart
Richard Hart

Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.