Green or Renewable Energy? What's the difference and how to switch




January 9, 2023

Did you know over 71% of Australia's energy comes from burning fossil fuels? The good news… There are a lot of greener options out there.

Starting the new year with a green juice cleanse is something many people are familiar with. And whilst the health benefits of starting the year with a liquid diet is hotly debated, we’re here to tell you about a Greener juice cleanse that doesn’t make you hangry and actually works.

We’re talking about a different kind of juice. The juice that powers our homes. 

Did you know over 71% of Australia’s energy comes from burning fossil fuels1

AGL's Loy Yang coal mine is Australia's largest open-cut coal mine, producing an estimated 20.9 million tonnes of coal every year.

Coal, oil, gas. Not only is this dirty juice getting more expensive (on average our home energy bills have increased by 20% over the last year2), energy production overall is also the number one contributor to climate change3. That’s expensive for you and for the planet. 

The good news… There are a lot of greener options out there.

In fact, switching to a green energy provider is one of the quickest, easiest and most impactful ways to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Whether you’re renting or own your property, you can make a huge difference just by making the switch. 

All in under 10 minutes. 

What is green energy?

If you’ve heard the terms ‘green energy’ or ‘renewable energy’ and thought, “what’s the difference?”, you’re not alone. 

Often the terms are used interchangeably, but there is a small key difference.

While all green energy is renewable, not all renewable energy is green.

What does that mean? 

Well, when we think of renewable energy, most people think of solar and wind. These are great natural sources of renewable green energy.

But renewable energy can also be produced by hydro plants.

Using electricity from the grid, Wivenhoe Power Station pumps water upfill from Wivenhoe Dam in South East Queensland

Technically, hydro electricity is renewable as power is generated from continuous fast-flowing water; but building hydro dams still has some negative impacts on the environment4

So an easy way to think of this: green energy = natural power, and renewable = recycled.

So how do you choose what’s best?

Well here’s some more good news…

More and more energy providers have heard us when we tell them we want them to do better, and are now offering GreenPower options.

And figuring out which energy is best for you and the planet is now even easier. 

There are a number of handy tools that take all the guesswork and hassle out of making the switch, like the Green Electricity Guide. It shows who’s doing better for the planet and who the big climate polluters are, so you can make an informed decision about who you buy your energy from. 

But isn’t GreenPower more expensive?

Historically, GreenPower has been more expensive than traditional dirty energy, with most people paying roughly 10% more5 largely due to lower levels of supply.

But, as we’ve already mentioned, dirty energy is getting more and more expensive every day and the really exciting news… renewables are getting cheaper every single day.

In fact, renewable energy has now been proven to be the most cost efficient source of electricity6

So with more Government investment into renewables, more energy providers offering GreenPower options and the price of dirty power continuing to increase, switching to GreenPower is quickly becoming the more affordable option. 

Nevertire Solar Farm located near Warren in north-west New South Wales, began operating in December 2019 and is capable of powering up to 42,000 homes.

How to make the switch?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

Step 1. Check out the Green Electricity Guide. It’s independent and unbiased, so you can be sure you’re getting the best advice. 

Step 2. Use the Energy Made Easy comparison tool to find the best deals for you. Filter your results by GreenPower to be sure you’re also getting the best deal for the planet

Step 3. Make the call. Contact the GreenPower provider that suits you best and they’ll help you make the switch in a simple phone call. 

And you’re done.

Congratulations, you’ve just reduced your individual carbon footprint by up to 20%7.

Now that you’re a GreenPower guru, how can you put your power to good use and save more money at the same time?

Stay tuned for more Greener Tips and Tricks

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
National Grid
Department of CLimate Change, Energy, Environment and Water
University of Sydney, Researching Environmental Concerns