Electricity Providers. General question.

Michael Herman

Registered User
Messages
9
I always wondered about this. Some Providers offer an energy mix eg coal and green energy others offer 100% green etc pp. My question might sound stupid but when I switch my provider what I get out of my socket stays the same. As far as I know we get our Electricity from an ESB Hydro electric power station. in the area. So how does this work? Can anybody explain?
 

huskerdu

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,131
All the electricity generated in the power stations is the same standard 220v AC.

Put simply , The power is generated by turning a turbine and they are all built to create the standard electricity that all our equipment is designed to work with.
The difference is what do they use to turn the turbine.

Oil powered stations burn oil to turn the turbine.

Hydro use the power of the water flowed down at speed.

Wind uses the wind to turn a windmill which turns the turbine.

Etc etc
 

odyssey06

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,591
Yeah OP I have heard those ads in TV from suppliers saying that they will supply you with 100 percent renewable energy... I wasnt sure how they could control this to your plug socket as opposed to adding to national grid.
 

newirishman

Frequent Poster
Messages
776
They can't control it at your socket. Of course, the electrons also don't differ in any way so the electricity is the same.
Difference is where the company buys its electricity, which would be from wholesale suppliers or generators that produce (or buy) electricity from renewable sources only. This is what feeds then into the Grid overall.
So by choosing renewable supplier you essentially cause a change of the overall mix in the Grid to more renewables.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

Frequent Poster
Messages
635
Difference is where the company buys its electricity, which would be from wholesale suppliers or generators that produce (or buy) electricity from renewable sources only. This is what feeds then into the Grid overall.
So by choosing renewable supplier you essentially cause a change of the overall mix in the Grid to more renewables.
Yes, but not very often.

Prices are set by continuous auction. When wind is strong this drives down the wholesale price of electricity and your supplier buys wind-generated energy rather than fossil-fuel derived energy. Regardless of whether you are on a 'green' tariff or not.


Maybe when there is a very small price difference between renewable and fossil-fuelled your preference for renewable will see a wind turbine spin rather than a gas-fired plant flare up. But this will not be often.

Right now wind output is about 5% of all time production because wind speeds are low because of weather conditions. You paying a green tariff won't change this.

This is just about making you feel good.

Remember you already pay a PSO levy to support renewables.
 

Zenith63

Frequent Poster
Messages
260
I’ve wondered about this as well, and have always chosen a 100% Green provider, but never looked into how it was done/regulated. I assumed it was carbon offsets to be honest.

But looking at this document (https://www.cru.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CRU18080-Green-Source-Product-Verification-Report-2016.pdf) it states:

“For a customer to be provided with a green source product offering that customer’s fuel mix must be from 100% renewable electricity sources.”

That wording seems pretty definitive to me, no room for buying fossil fuel generated electricity if it’s cheap or using offsets?
 

NoRegretsCoyote

Frequent Poster
Messages
635
@Zenith63

If people on green tarriffs are 1% of electricity consumption, and 20% of electricity consumption is renewable then there can always be some form of accounting presentation that tells you that 100% of their consumption is renewable over the course of a year.

As a matter of physics, if there is zero renewable input to the grid at a point in time, and you have the kettle on, then you are not consuming renewable electricity.


This second point is also a bit specious. What you really want to know is whether you choosing a green tariff has a marginal impact of causing a wind turbine to spin rather than a gas-powered station to fire up.

I am not a power engineer - and would welcome the input of one - but my guess is that this does not happen very often.
 

Zenith63

Frequent Poster
Messages
260
@Zenith63

If people on green tarriffs are 1% of electricity consumption, and 20% of electricity consumption is renewable then there can always be some form of accounting presentation that tells you that 100% of their consumption is renewable over the course of a year.

As a matter of physics, if there is zero renewable input to the grid at a point in time, and you have the kettle on, then you are not consuming renewable electricity.


This second point is also a bit specious. What you really want to know is whether you choosing a green tariff has a marginal impact of causing a wind turbine to spin rather than a gas-powered station to fire up.

I am not a power engineer - and would welcome the input of one - but my guess is that this does not happen very often.
One section of that doc:
“- a green source submission to SEMO providing the total aggregate demand (kWh) of all customers who are availing of a green source product, and;
- an independent audit of that green source submission (it will be the responsibility of the supplier to procure and deliver this).”

Which I think points to your first suggestion - a provider knows they can get 20% of their electricity from renewables this year so can sell a ‘green’ option to up to 20% of the customers. So I’m sure the answer is no, a wind turbine would not be spun up because a Green customer needed power and there wasn’t enough available in the moment.

If a supplier has 20% of customers on their Green tariff and are losing new Green customers to other providers, they should then ultimately be adding wind turbines. So in the long run choosing the Green option should drive more renewable electricity production, it’s not purely a feel-good exercise.
 
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