If you're serious about sustainability, consider switching to green electricity.
What is 'green electricity?'
'Green electricity' is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and wave power. These are environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional electricity that is generated from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Fossil fuels are an enormous source of greenhouse gas emissions (such as carbon dioxide), contributing to the present global warming crisis, and are finite in supply.
Where is green electricity generated?
One place where green electricity is generated is the Darling Wind Farm (DWF), South Africa’s first commercial wind farm, situated in Darling in the Western Cape. This four turbine (1.3MW each) wind farm is a partnership between the Central Energy Fund, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Danish Government, the private Darling Independent Power Producer and the City of Cape Town.
It comprises four wind turbines of 1.3MW capacity generating approximately 8 GWh annually. This electricity is ‘injected’ onto the nearby Eskom electrical network and replaces electricity generated by Eskom. The turbines began generating in May 2008.
Why buy green electricity?
Buying green electricity is an opportunity to power your business in an environmentally friendly manner.
About 95% of South Africa’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels (coal and diesel), which will eventually run out. We are Africa’s greatest atmospheric polluter and South Africa is in the top 20 list of carbon dioxide emitting countries worldwide.
How will DWF green electricity be delivered to consumers? Will I have to modify any metering or other electrical equipment in order to buy it?
As it is impractical to install new power lines all the way from the DWF to the premises of green electricity buyers, the City has implemented a financial mechanism called 'renewable' or 'Green Electricity Certificates (GECs) to enable consumers to participate in the generation of green electricity.
When the City buys green electricity from the DWF, it is in effect buying the rights to the environmental benefits associated with the green electricity, notwithstanding the fact that the electrons from the wind farm are injected onto the national grid and are inseparable from the balance of Eskom electricity.
When Green Electricity Certificates are sold by the City, the right to the associated benefits transfers from the City to the buyers thereof. If you wish to buy green electricity, you will therefore not need to modify any metering or other electrical equipment.
Claims of 'greenness' by the buyer
Buying Green Electricity Certificates (GECs) transfers the right to claim the benefits of the green electricity from the City to the buyer. You can claim to have consumed green electricity if the amount of units of Green Electricity Certificates that you buy is equivalent to or exceeds the amount of normal electricity consumed by the facility or process for which the claim is made.
How is the 'validity' of Green Electricity Certificates ensured?
The City will ensure that:
- 100% of the electricity which the DWF has sold to the City comes from a renewable source
- The City has purchased sufficient green electricity from the DWF to cover the amount of the Green Electricity Certificates it has sold
- The ‘green benefits’ associated with the generation of the DWF electricity are not ‘double sold’
How much do Green Electricity Certificates (GECs) cost?
The price of Green Electricity Certificates for the 2012/2013 year is 25c for 1 kWh excluding VAT. (This is a separate purchase and a separate charge in addition to the cost of normal electricity purchases). The price will be revised on the first of July each year.
How can I buy Green Electricity Certificates (GECs)?
The process to apply to purchase Green Electricity Certificates is explained on the page “How to Buy Green Electricity Certificates” the link to which is to be found below.
What happens if the wind doesn’t blow?
The City will only sell Green Electricity Certificates (GECs) for renewable electricity that has been already generated.