Green Electricity Watch - An Eye on Renewables


Not so long ago I was at a birthday party for a guy, who had years ago won an award for environmental activism. The party plates were made from compressed palms leaves and the cutlery from a fast growing plantation tree (both renewable and compostable). There was lots of green vibe in the air. So I was a tad embarrassed when asked an environmental question that I stumbled to answered. One of the guests wanted want to move to GreenPower, but was confused as to which utility he should sign up with for the most eco-benefit. My first response was to suggest Renew magazine, who usually have authoritative comparison charts on all things energy based. Caught out I should've just sent him directly to Green Electricity Watch (GEW), who but a couple of weeks earlier had released their 2006 report on green energy in Australia. GEW is a collaborative effort from WWF, the Total Environment Centre, and the Australian Conservation Foundation. They guys got together because Aussies are the biggest per capita greenhouse polluting nation, with 35% of those emissions coming from our electricity consumption. Only eight per cent of our power is currently derived from renewables. GEW aims to improve this, by making it easy to select the greenest greenpower provider. Their 29 page report evaluated 44 utilities across all states and terrorities. And curiously they had this to say on carbon offset programs:

"Recently, offset products have also appeared - these seek to reduce emissions from your consumption of electricity through actions in other sectors of the economy. We have not yet developed a methodology to assess their effectiveness and believe that, at present, electricity greenhouse emisisons [sic] should be reduced by buying accredited Green Power only." Mmmm, that was sure to make a lot of people happy. ::Green Electricity Watch

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