Green energy 101

11 April 2017

You might have heard the term 'green energy' but weren’t really sure what it meant. Well, green energy is electricity and natural gas that comes from renewable sources, such as hydro, wind, biomass and solar, instead of traditional fuels like coal and natural gas.

Going green

Renewable energy sources are often called ‘green’ because they generate energy without releasing carbon emissions, which is better for the environment than traditional fuel sources.

You may not know that you're already getting some green electricity, as renewable energy sources supply around 14 percent of the electricity in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM), which is where the electricity for homes and businesses in Queensland, NSW, SA, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania comes from.1 But you can choose to have more by buying government accredited GreenPower

GreenPower is a voluntary government program that allows energy retailers to buy green energy above and beyond the Renewable Energy Target (RET) requirements on behalf of their customers. 

This doesn’t mean the green energy flows directly to your home (the NEM isn’t designed to work that way), but it does mean the amount of GreenPower you purchase increases the proportion of renewable energy in the grid by an equivalent amount.

Options for the amount of electricity to come from accredited GreenPower sources can range from 10 per cent to 100 percent. With our GreenPower products, you can also offset 100% of your household electricity greenhouse gas emissions.2  So choosing GreenPower means you’re reducing your carbon footprint and supporting the further exploration and generation of renewable energy in Australia. 

Other green options

  • Solar - you can get more green electricity are by installing a solar hot water system or solar panels on the roof of your home. If you choose solar power for your green electricity, we offer a range of products to suit different budgets, needs and household sizes.

  • Gas - if you use gas for cooking or heating, buying green gas is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. With green gas products, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is provided in the usual way, but the greenhouse gas emissions generated from your usage are offset.

How green is Australia’s electricity supply?

So you already know that 14% of energy in the grid is already green. That comes from renewable generators feeding the electricity they produce into the NEM, just like traditional power plants do.3

Of this 14%, over half of it (about 60 per cent) is from hydropower plants.4 The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is Australia's largest hydro-electric generator. 

The remaining green energy in the grid comes from a combination of wind, biomass and solar energies.

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GREEN ENERGY

With Origin GreenPower electricity and Green Gas, you’ll be able to cut back on your home’s green house gas emissions and reduce your impact on the environment.

  1. With analysis from Origin Energy, National Electricity Market generation data is based on the State of energy market report 2014, Australian Energy Regulator, p.25-28.
  2. GreenPower 2011, the facts on GreenPower, NSW Trade and Investment.
  3. With analysis from Origin Energy, National Electricity Market generation data is based on the State of energy market report 2014, Australian Energy Regulator, p.25-28.
  4. With analysis from Origin Energy, National Electricity Market generation data is based on the State of energy market report 2014, Australian Energy Regulator, p.25-28.