Waste, energy and water

Why you don’t want a carbon neutral electricity plan

Learn why 100% GreenPower energy plans are the best choice for the planet.

Woman apartment carbon neutral plan

If you’ve signed up for a new electricity plan recently, you may have noted how much energy companies are pushing ‘carbon neutral’ plans.

They might sound pretty good. But there’s a greener option called GreenPower, and almost every electricity company sells it.

Carbon neutral versus GreenPower

If you opt for a carbon neutral electricity plan, your energy provider calculates the emissions associated with your household energy use and purchases corresponding carbon offsets. This cancels out the emissions, so to speak.

Energy companies buy these carbon offsets from climate action projects all around the world. It could be a project like planting trees in regional Australia, landfill management in Brazil, or swapping out light fittings in India.

The problem is carbon neutral plans don’t do anything to help Australia move away from dredging-up and burning fossil fuels. They don’t do anything to remove the source of the emissions in Australia. Offset schemes can take years to soak up the emissions your energy produces today.

Why GreenPower is a better choice

Opting for GreenPower does help reduce the source of emissions. When you opt for a 100% accredited GreenPower electricity plan, you’re guaranteed to be upping Australia’s renewably sourced electricity production. You’re also giving the federal government a red-hot signal you’re serious about wanting Australia to transition to renewable energy.

GreenPower is Australia’s only accredited and audited scheme that means some of the money you spend on electricity goes to support renewable energy farms right here in Australia.

Installing rooftop solar is impossible or unviable for many people. But for most households and small businesses, a 100% GreenPower plan is the next best thing. It’s the fastest and easiest way you can help grow the renewables industry in Australia.

How carbon neutral plans compare to GreenPower
How carbon neutral plans compare to GreenPower

How to get a GreenPower plan

Most Australian electricity companies offer certified GreenPower, but they might call it different things like green energy or green choice.

Here are 3 ways you can switch:

Call and chat - Give your current provider a call and ask them to switch you to a 100% GreenPower plan.  If they tell you it’s going to cost considerably more, it might be time to shop around. Use the Energy Made Easy comparison site or give a few providers a call and ask for their best 100% GreenPower deal. Many people report they’ve switched to a GreenPower plan and ended up paying less, or only slightly more than their standard, old coal plan.

Find the greenest option – Check out the Green Electricity Guide and find the top 10 greenest providers in NSW. If you want to support the companies doing the most to get more green electricity made, this option is for you.

Find the cheapest option - We highly recommend checking out the Energy Made Easy comparison site. It’s an accurate and independent service operated by the Australian Energy Regulator and it’s fantastic for comparing the current deals from all electricity providers in one go. Make sure you tick the GreenPower filter box.

Where to get more help

If you have any queries or feedback, email us at renewableenergy@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au. We’d like to help you.

Why we’re talking about GreenPower electricity plans

To help reduce the devastating effects of climate change, we’re on a quest to help make all buildings in our local area net zero by 2035.

We’ve been buying 100% renewable electricity for all our operations – 115 buildings, 75 parks, 5 pools and 23,000 streetlights – since July 2020.

Most residents and businesses in our area can’t install rooftop solar. At present, opting for a 100% GreenPower electricity plan is the next best thing. Awareness and understanding of GreenPower is low, that’s why we’re spreading the word.

Published 1 July 2022, updated 20 July 2022