Bogus Green Electricity

08/03/2011


I just received a notification from my power supplier. They announced a price increase of 2,5 %. Nothing to write a blog about. But wait for the good news! My electricity will be all-green! At the same price! Free greenery has arrived!

This is of course pure bogus. In the first place, there are no free lunches. More to the point, this promotional move does not change the structure of power generation one iota. At best it is just a change in accounting procedures in a company computer. At worst it is fraudulent promise with no bookkeeping cover-up. In both cases the net influence on the environment is nil.

Many purveyors add a small charge to the “green” electricity bill. This makes for more credibility, but is also more fraudulent. The seller pockets the income and the consumer gets a greener conscience. But take my word for it. Nothing changes in the real world.

As such, green electricity is a questionable concept. Water power can be regulated and is very valuable. Windmill electricity comes and goes. Therefore its value is much lower, depending on circumstances. The additional charge for green electricity should be at least 100% to match the present subsidies and have an impact on the production structure.

Deceptive salesmanship is a deplorable but age-old phenomenon. The self-delusion of the buyer is also reprehensible, but at least we can correct the misapprehensions. Or can we?