Skip to content

Green electricity - what is it actually?

Green electricity - What is that?

You want to know everything there is to know about green electricity? Then you've come to the right place! Climate friendly or live sustainably... many people don't even know where to start. But one measure is really so incredibly simple and at the same time so incredibly effective that everyone should start right away: switching to a green electricity provider.

In this article, I would like to give you the most important information about green electricity - from the definition, advantages and providers to the things you should look out for when switching. Let's go!

In advance you can find here already a short Overview about the contribution:

  1. Definition
  2. Statistics
  3. Advantages
  4. What to look out for?
  5. Provider
  6. Change
  7. Closing words

Definition: What is green electricity?

What is green electricity?

Basically, you could say that green electricity (often called green power or natural power) describes electricity that is generated from renewable energies will. These sustainable energy sources include, above all, hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics and biomass.

While the term is so defined by law in Austria, the Definition in Germany currently still less clear. For the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) green electricity tariffs, for example, must consist of at least half renewable energy.₁ But in fact, the Austrian definition is probably closer to what people in our society imagine green electricity to be.

A clearer picture is also obtained by specifying what is definitely not green electricity is. Namely, the electricity that comes from conventional energy sources such as nuclear power in particular - or from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Statistics: How is green power doing?

Flowchart for the German energy system (2014)
Flow diagram for the German energy system (2014) / Source: Schriftenreihe Energiesysteme der Zukunft - Sektorkopplung 2017₂

The graphic shows the energy flow diagram for the German energy system from 2014 and illustrates, among other things, how inefficient conventional power generation is, primarily because it involves massive energy losses. But several other questions remain unanswered. For example, "How many people and households purchase green electricity?" or "How high is the share of renewable energies in the German electricity mix?". I would like to support these questions here with two very meaningful statistics, which should give you a feeling for the growing demand for green electricity:

  • Households: In Germany, around 12.67 million households purchased green electricity in 2019. In 2016, for example, there were still 9.74 million.₃
  • share of the electricity mix: The share of renewable energies in the German electricity mix is increasing significantly every year. While it was still around 17 percent in 2010, it was already 45.5 percent in 2020.₄

Advantages: Why should I use electricity from renewable sources?

All well and good! But what exactly is the motivation to switch to a green electricity provider right now? So much in advance: it is mainly ecological, social but also financial reasons! You can find the most important arguments in favor of green electricity in detail here:

  • Save CO2 and climate change counteract: On average, a household's CO2 emissions drop by 90 percent by switching to a green power provider.
  • Reduce ecological footprint: Through the CO2 savings and the use of renewable energy sources, each individual can of course also reduce their own, Reduce ecological footprint.
  • Driving the energy turnaround: The more consumers switch to green electricity, the more the expansion of renewable energies is ultimately promoted. The switch simply ensures that investors withdraw their money from projects and companies using fossil fuels and invest it in a future-oriented manner.
  • Promote local economy: Naturstrom reduces dependencies and the volumes of expensive energy imports for oil and natural gas from abroad. Instead, the expansion of green power plants strengthens regional economic structures and generates sustainable jobs.
  • Production at home: Since green electricity from solar or wind power can even be generated on one's own property, transportation costs or transmission losses can be significantly reduced.
  • Protect the environment: By using energy from sustainable sources, you're conserving natural resources of the planet. Because instead of exhaustible and destructive sources such as oil or coal and lignite, inexhaustible sources such as wind, water and sun are used without leaving residues in the atmosphere, soil and landscape.
  • Promote environmental awareness: Green electricity can be produced decentrally, thus reducing dependence on a few large suppliers. Use electricity more effectively, save electricity.
  • Save money: Green electricity tariffs are rarely more expensive and often even cheaper than conventional tariffs. If you also generate your own electricity, for example, with the help of a photovoltaic system on the roof, you can also save money with green electricity. Save money sustainably.

Does green electricity also have disadvantages?

Biomass plants have no operating costs and also consume natural resources (e.g. in the form of wood pellets) to generate electricity. Wind power is also subject to large fluctuations, which is why energy yields are difficult to predict. The many However, disadvantages of conventional methods of energy production are so massivethat the few disadvantages of green electricity can be accepted and minimized over time.

Provider: Where can I find green electricity tariffs?

For example, you can contact your local municipal utility or use comparison portals such as Verivox inform about sustainable electricity tariffs*. A comparison with other providers is guaranteed to be worthwhile, especially since you can then also take a closer look at the provider. Ideally, you also benefit financially in the form of a Switching premiumwhich many electricity providers integrate into their offers.

Features: What do I have to look out for in offers?

Why green electricity - The advantages at a glance

Unfortunately, not all green electricity is the same! The The philosophy and goals of the providers often differ quite decisively. One wants to make a serious contribution to the energy turnaround - the other is merely profit-oriented and would also be in on an energy brake if it were worthwhile. You can recognize good green electricity providers, for example, by the fact that they invest in new, regional wind and solar plants at nature-friendly locations.₆ Good signals are that ok-power label as well as the Green electricity label. They are considered leading Seal of approval for green electricity products and, in the truest sense of the word, bring light into the dark tariff jungle.

In your selection, you should also take into account that the term "Eco" not a protected designation is. It can therefore simply be used brazenly, even if a large part of the energy or the entire tariff range of a provider comes from conventional energy sources. Greenwashing is therefore still fairly straightforward in the German energy sector.

Green electricity is not expensive - but absolute Dumping prices are not to be expected from reputable suppliers. Somewhat at favorable? Then take a closer look at the rate description and provider.

Öeco-electricity is also not automatically environmentally friendly. Hydroelectric power plants, for example, can operate beautifully for several decades and not be state of the art - or impact the surrounding ecosystems.

Basic tips: Take into account a possible notice period of your current electricity contract and then instruct your new electricity provider with the automatic switch. Set the date for the change of your provider - it should ideally be several weeks in the future.

Switch: How do I change my electricity provider?

No one has to be afraid of squatting in your own home with a candle for a few weeks without electricity - grid operators are obligated to provide you with power.

So how does the switch work in practice? First of all, in one word: extremely fast. As a rule, the change for you takes only five minutes - everything else happens in the background.

Finally, the first step is to compare the rates available on the relevant portals, select a suitable one and enter your personal data. Afterwards you tell the green electricity provider of your choice your your current electricity supplier, your customer number and your meter number with. After verification, you will then automatically switch to a greener electricity tariff within a short time.

Green electricity - A small step with a huge effect

Green electricity - future-oriented, sustainable alternative

As you can see, in just five minutes you can take a decisive step towards a sustainable life by simply changing your electricity provider. You'll not only be protecting the environment, but also your wallet. You'll also be supporting your local economy and infrastructure - and setting an example for a sustainable future.

I hope that with this article I could make you understand the concept of green electricity and the opportunities that come with energy from renewable sources.

Do you have any rags, tips or suggestions about green energy? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: You also want to get your Make car more environmentally friendly? You can find out how in the linked article. Have fun!

₁ wirkungsvoll GmbH: Green electricity, available at [17.11.2021].

₂ Ausfelder et al.: Sektorkopplung - Untersuchungen und Überlegungen zur Entwicklung eines integrierten Energiesystems (November 2017), available at [17.11.2021].

₃ Statista GmbH: Population in Germany by purchase of green electricity from 2016 to 2019 (November 2019), available at [17.11.2021].

₄ AGEB; AGEE-Stat: Share of Renewable Energies in Gross Electricity Consumption in Germany in the Years 1990 to 2020 (March 2021), available at [17.11.2021].

₅ co2online gemeinnützige Beratungsgesellschaft mbH: Ökostrom-Vergleich - echte Ökostromanbieter finden, available at [17.11.2021].

₆ NABU - (Naturschutzbund Deutschland) e.V.: Zu Ökostrom wechseln, available at [17.11.2021].

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *