Nicola Mares • 20 April 2020

Author: Inge Sarunic[link]
Electricity customers can drive additional investment in generation of renewable energy by voluntarily purchasing GreenPower.
'GreenPower' is not just a generic term for renewable energy but is a program and branding of a range of products offered by most energy retailers. Under the GreenPower Program electricity customers can pay an addition premium to request that up to 100% of their electricity be sources from renewable energy generators.Any purchase of GreenPower is additional to that required of energy retailers under the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The program's aim is to give consumers a choice of where their electricity comes from, and a means driving additional demand for renewable electricity generation in Australia. GreenPower is managed and audited by government to ensure GreenPower Providers (mostly energy retailers) purchase the correct amount of renewable energy for their customers.
Main topics covered in this article include:

  • How does it work?
  • What power sources are accredited?
  • What does it cost?
  • More information

How does it work?
Under the GreenPower Program there are:

  • GreenPower Accredited Generators - these are renewable energy generators that meet the requirements under the program and
  • GreenPower Providers:- are energy retailers or others who sell accredited GreenPower Products to consumers

The program is administered through the State Governments of ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA and is available in all states. The State Governments form the National GreenPower Steering Group, which accredits generators and providers of GreenPower and is responsible for the annual audit of the program.
GreenPower utilises the Large Generation Certificates (LGCs), created under the Renewable Energy Target scheme. GreenPower products vary between different providers and can range between 10% and 100% of a customer's overall electricity consumption. The GreenPower
provider can be your existing electricity retailer (and appear on your normal electricity bill) or may be a separate GreenPower provider accredited by National GreenPower Program Manager Accreditation
If done through an electricity retailer, GreenPower LGCs, purchased on a customer's behalf are in addition to the LGCs that the retailer must buy to meet their annual obligations under the Renewable Energy Target scheme. The GreenPower LGCs are then surrendered into a
separate account with the Clean Energy Regulator. This process ensures the voluntarily surrendered certificates are cancelled and can't be reused.
What power sources are accredited?
Community renewable energy projects can benefit from being accredited as a GreenPower Generator because the GreenPower provides another avenue for the sale of LGCs
In order to achieve accreditation under the GreenPower scheme, a renewable electricity generator must:

  • have been built after 1997 or generate electricity above a pre-determined 1997 baseline level to ensure that GreenPower is driving investment in new renewable sources (this is the same requirement on electricity generators under the RET)
  • be eligible to create LCGs under the RET
  • not generate electricity from coal seam gas reserves
  • not be a solar hot water or heat pump unit
  • not involve the logging of native old growth and rainforests
  • not come from hydro sources that have caused major river diversions.

For a list of approved generators and program rules, visit the GreenPower website. To ensure that you get what you pay for when buying GreenPower, look for the accredited product logo:

What does it cost?
GreenPower costs between 5.5 and 8 cents per kWh. The cost of GreenPower varies according to the retailer, provider and percentage of your consumption that you are seeking to offset. As an example, the outlay for 100 per cent GreenPower in an average Australian household, which consumes around 15-18 kWh each day, is roughly 80 cents to $1.50 per day.
GreenPower generally recommends reducing the cost of electricity by being more energy-efficient and then buying into GreenPower with the savings. There are plenty of alternative options to suit household budgets - many retailers offer a 10% option costing less than $1 a week.
More information

Related articles

  • The renewable energy target (RET)
  • Selling wholesale electricity