It’s no longer all that uncommon to find companies offering regular people access to electricity from entirely renewable sources. In the UK alone, independent providers Bulb and Ovo Energy serve a collective 2.5 million customers, drawing their electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources.
Up until recently, however, there had been no suggestion that the biggest energy suppliers—those most entrenched in the market, and therefore, capable of making the quickest, most widespread change—-were interested in transitioning away from gas and coal.
That was until EON energy, which covers 3.3 million customers, announced that it would be the first of the ‘Big Six’ organisations to switch all of its customers over to renewable electricity.
And it’s all driven by Michael Lewis, EON UK’s CEO. He explained that he thought it was “really important” to make it as easy as possible for customers to get renewable energy as standard, placing the need for reform in the context of ongoing climate change and the rise of strident protests from environmental groups such as Extinction Rebellion.
“EON’s always been passionate about renewable energy: we built our first windfarm back in 1992,” he added.
The CEO explains that EON’s renewable energy stock is enough to power almost 1.7 million homes, and for the remaining half, the company will be purchasing renewable energy guarantee certificates—matching up any energy customer’s use with 100% renewable electricity.
EON recently started working on what it calls the world’s “largest offshore wind farm” and says it is the “first company to test a Pelamis P2 wave power device in UK waters.”
The idea is that these changes will cost the consumer nothing, and that anyone who had opted to pay a higher rate to guarantee renewable electricity will have such additional charges removed.
This is a far cry from previous ‘green’ initiatives, which offered the chance for customers to offset the energy they used with carbon capture investments—-programmes that, in general, are considered prone to abuse or mismanagement.