Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre have released a guide to assess the nation’s retail electricity providers against seven criteria, including investments in fossil fuels or renewable, carbon emissions intensity of assets, support for the Renewable Energy Target, solar offers, GreenPower products, investment in coal seam gas and commitment to not buying electricity generated by burning native forest products.

In some states, the assessment showed found no provider that met all seven criteria, and that claims of sustainability was often no more than smoke and mirrors.

“The biggest greenwashers by far are the top three energy retailers – EnergyAustralia, AGL and Origin Energy – which provide electricity to over three quarters of Australian households,” senior Greenpeace campaigner Reece Turner said.

“The Dirty Three like to tout their green credentials but the guide shows their investments in renewables are relatively small and behind the scenes they are actively working to undermine Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.”

Mark Byrne, energy market advocate for the TEC, said the guide showed a big divide between the more established players dominating the market and newer companies that are providing cleaner energy.

The guide showed that Victoria has the greatest choice of green energy retailers, with four including Powershop, which is only available in Victoria, as well as Diamond Energy, Momentum Energy and Red Energy, all of which are also rated as the greenest retail energy providers across New South Wales and South Australia.

According to the guide, Tasmania’s single retailer, Aurora Energy, has good eco-credentials, whereas in the ACT, Northern Territory and Western Australia, there is no retailer that measures up. In Queensland, only Diamond Energy made the grade, although the guide noted that Click Energy is offering attractive feed-in rates for solar photovoltaics.

  • Access the guide here.

“This guide will help consumers to flick the switch to a greener power company, send a message to the other providers to do the right thing by the environment and hopefully change the face of the electricity sector in Australia,” Mr Byrne said.

“But there is more we could know about retailers’ environmental performance, so TEC is calling for regulators to require retailers to disclose the emissions intensity of the total fuel mix – in other words, how much carbon pollution they are causing from all the energy they sell to customers, not just from the power stations they own.”