There are several sources of energy – more or less emitting greenhouse gases. A power that is produced from renewable, less polluting sources (hydro, wind, solar, anaerobic digestion of organic waste …) is called “green energy.” Since 2007, the French energy market has been liberalized and opened to competition. Also, there is a multitude of offers that households can subscribe to, including green energy.

Green electricity offers

Green electricity is produced from one of five renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal). It accounted for 18.7% of the power generated in France in 2015.

How green electricity offers work

As soon as an electron from a renewable plant is injected into the grid, it is no longer possible to distinguish it from an atom from any other source of energy (nuclear power plant, fossil fuel, etc.). Also, to ensure that the electricity produced or purchased by a green supplier belongs to one of the five renewable energy families, each megawatt (MW) is controlled before it is injected. For that, there is a registered designation of origin.

  • When they market power that they do not produce directly, suppliers can either directly buy green electricity and its original warranty or have enough guarantees of origin to justify their entire energy supply. Green.

The Department of Energy in 2013 commissioned the company Power next – and for five years – to ensure delivery, monitoring and proper use of the guarantee of origin certificates. To this end, each of its documents must mention the source of energy from which the electricity was produced, its date and place of production. Its operations are recorded in the National Register of Guarantees of Origin.

Electrons cannot be routed individually to a customer who has a green offer, so this system ensures that an equivalent amount of electricity to that consumed has been produced using renewable energy. These guarantees apply to all green voltages generated in the European Union. Also, a green power consumed in France can come from any Member State.

The combustion of natural gas emits greenhouse gases. Thus 1 kWh of natural gas produces approximately 0.186 kg of CO2 which is released into the atmosphere. Also, it is now possible to neutralize these emissions via several green offers from gas suppliers.

Like electricity, green gas is growing steadily. Reducing the impact of gas on the environment can be achieved through carbon offset gas (whose CO2 emissions are captured by suppliers’ partners) or biomethane (derived from the mechanization of organic waste).

A principle of carbon offset gas

To compensate for the emissions caused by the use of natural gas by a household, a supplier proceeds to the purchase of carbon credits. The funds thus collected allow authorized associations to carry out actions to preserve the environment.

Under the Kyoto Protocol’s principle of geographical neutrality, these credits are certified and standardized to be easily verifiable and tradable all over the world – under the control of the World Bank.

Emissions compensation can take two forms:

  • Financial support for organizations working to reduce air pollution or promote green technologies.
  • Support for the development and protection of forest areas to help capture greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere (trees absorb CO2 through the phenomenon of photosynthesis).

Thanks to these credits, the supplier eni, for example, helped finance the construction of a methanizer – a facility that captures and exploits greenhouse gas emissions – in an outdoor dump in Thailand. (Recycling 635,000 tons of CO2 emissions), or fume extraction systems for charcoal stoves in Ghana (65,000 tons of CO2 per year).

Similarly, EDF is working to reduce emissions from the Chinese electricity grid, mainly fueled by fossil fuels, by supporting the development of generators powered by water vapor produced by burning agricultural waste.

The purchase of carbon credits impacts the price of the kWh of gas consumed. However, green supply is not necessarily less competitive than regulated gas supply – for which emissions are not offset.