Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The energy sector (specifically the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity), is the largest contributor to Australia’s carbon emissions, and even more alarmingly, Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions from coal power in the world on a per capita basis. Ouch.

But even if you’re aware of these sobering statistics—if you’re a renter or lack the means to invest in solar power, attempting to tackle the climate crisis can feel pretty disempowering. After all, if you’re unable to control the energy that powers your own household, what possible impact can you have on reducing the country’s overall emissions?

Enter GreenPower—a government-accredited program that allows all Australians to invest in renewable energy. Simply sign up via your electricity provider, and for just a few extra dollars a month, you can help fund the future of Australia’s renewable energy sector, powered by solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro, and landfill gas projects. 

So what exactly is GreenPower, how do I get it, and is it worth the investment? We answer your frequently asked questions.

Amelia Barnes
Supported by Momentum Energy

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Amelia Barnes
2nd of February 2023

Renters make up over 31% of Australian households, and apartments account for about 16% of private dwellings. Despite representing a significant proportion of the population, it feels as though these households are often powerless to tackle the ever growing climate crisis due to the inability to produce their own energy. 

If you’re one of the many Australians in this category (or simply someone without the means to invest in solar panels at home), rest assured there is an alternative option. GreenPower is a program that allows all Australian households to invest in renewable energy, and it’s available from almost every electricity provider. 

What is GreenPower?

GreenPower is a government-accredited program where your power company buys renewable energy on your behalf, every time you pay your energy bill. 

The money you spend on GreenPower goes directly towards new Australian renewable projects, which in turn means more renewable energy going into the grid (the network that delivers electricity across Australia). 

Is GreenPower a form of renewable energy?

Not exactly. GreenPower doesn’t mean that the electricity that comes into your home is renewable or ‘green’; it means that renewable energy has been added to the grid on your behalf. 

The reason for this is because it’s impossible to control what power is delivered to your household via the grid. The grid mixes all the electricity from both renewable generators and fossil fuel generators together, so you can’t select just the renewable parts. But the more people who choose GreenPower, the more renewables there are in the mix!

How much does GreenPower cost? 

The cost of GreenPower varies between retailers but is generally between 4 and 8c per kWh, or it’s charged at a flat dollar amount per month. Momentum Energy’s current GreenPower rate is 4.95c per kWh.

The cost of GreenPower is in addition to your standard electricity rates, which are usually around 20-30c per kWh.

So, if your household uses 100kWh of energy a month, and your GreenPower rate is 4.95c, you will pay an extra $4.95 a month. (For comparison’s sake, my own two-person Melbourne household used 129.95 kWh in the last month.) That’s less than a cup of coffee these days! 

Because everyone’s budget is different, you can also tailor the amount of GreenPower you purchase. You do this by choosing a percentage of your power usage—either 10%, 20%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% (depending on your retailer)—to be billed at the GreenPower rate. 

What sources of renewable energy is my money supporting? 

By purchasing GreenPower, you are investing in over 500 GreenPower accredited renewable energy generators in Australia—a mix of solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro, and landfill gas projects. 

The entire GreenPower program is government accredited to ensure your money is going to the right places. 

What’s the difference between carbon neutral power and GreenPower?

Carbon neutral energy is when your power retailer offsets an equivalent amount of the grid energy you use by supporting projects that reduce carbon emissions. The idea is that this cancels out your emissions, so to speak.

Unlike GreenPower, the projects your retailer invests in on a carbon neutral plan may not necessarily be related to the energy sector, and they are not limited to Australia. They could be anything from waste management in Brazil, to forest regrowth schemes in Vietnam. 

Investing in GreenPower has a much bigger impact on Australia’s carbon emissions than carbon neutral programs, hence the (small) additional cost. It is also Australia’s only government accredited and audited renewable energy scheme. Put simply, choosing GreenPower is your investment in Australia’s renewable future!

How do I sign up to GreenPower?

Find a GreenPower provider and contact them to sign up or make the switch.

Momentum Energy are owned by Australia’s largest renewable energy generator and offer accredited GreenPower. Sign up to one of Australia’s greenest power companies.

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