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Advice | Green and Alternative Energy Information

10 common energy questions and answers

1. Why is renewable energy called renewable, what does this mean? This means that renewable energy (unlike fossil fuels) can be replenished in relatively short periods of time.

2. Which fuel is the most common source of electricity in the world. The answer is coal, coal despite being very dirty fuel is also the cheapest energy option in much of the world. For instance, 49% of the United States electricity comes from coal.

3. Why solar energy, despite the enormous potential still counts for such a small share of global energy supply? Solar energy, indeed has enormous potential but solar power technologies are still very expensive, and also do not provide adequate efficiency to be used on a wider scale. This means that solar energy sector definitely needs cheaper and far more efficient solar cells in order to compete with fossil fuels.


Selling the electricity you generate

The feed-in tariff has made it simpler to sell the electricity you generate, but don’t use in the house, back to the grid. It has set standard rates to be paid for electricity generated which are dependent on type of technology and size of system, and all exported electricity is paid at 3p per kWh.

Choosing your energy supplier is the key to selling excess. The reason it is simpler now is that under the previous system all the suppliers offered different buy back rates, and these had to be weighed up against the rates at which they sell electricity, so it was complex to work out the best deal.

Now all the big energy companies must buy back exported electricity from microgeneration, and some of the smaller ones have chosen to. If price is your key factor, then there’s no shortage of price comparison sites available.

If it’s important to you that the electricity you buy from the grid is from renewable sources you can use our guide How to buy renewable electricity.


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Good energy and good advice

One of the four “pillars” of the Energy Saving Trust’s activity is our quality assurance endorsement. When we endorse a product or service, we put the full weight of our knowledge and research behind it, so that customers know it means they will get a good energy-saving deal.

Given our pride in this important work, we are very pleased to have expanded our field of endorsement to include advice services. This service assures consumers that energy-saving advice services meet our rigorous standard. We’re very pleased to say that our first Endorsed Advice Service client is Good Energy, with whom we entered into partnership earlier this year.

Good Energy is the only electricity company whose fuel mix is 100% renewable, generated from wind, water and sunlight. The company has 26,000 domestic and business customers, and one in 25 of their customers generates their own power.

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