Shell Energy launches two carbon neutral tariffs

8 June 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Shell confirmed two Go Further energy tariffs now available that offset carbon dioxide emissions using carbon credits.

Go Further June 2022 fixes prices for two years with an average annual cost of £1,023 while Go Further July 2023 fixes prices for three years with average yearly costs of £1,063.

For customers on these tariffs, Shell pledge to offset their gas and electricity usage with certified carbon credits.

Shell customers on all tariffs currently benefit from 100% green energy and the provider says they are committed to helping customers improve their energy efficiency.

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Go Further tariffs

The two new tariffs are fixed for two and three years. At the time of launch, these tariffs are fixed until June 2022 and July 2023 respectively.

Go Further customers will receive the 100% renewable electricity all Shell customers get as standard, but the Go Further tariffs offset a customer's gas usage with carbon credits, making them effectively carbon neutral.

It also offsets the small amount of carbon generated during the production and distribution of 100% renewable energy.

The carbon dioxide emissions produced as part of the customer's tariff will be offset by the purchase of these carbon credits which are verified by a third-party and represent either the avoidance of carbon or removal of 1 tonne of carbon.

Shell highlight these tariffs as the next step for customers who are worried about the amount of carbon they're producing.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting schemes allow energy providers to invest in environmental projects which offset the amount of carbon produced by their energy projects.

Some companies are involved directly in schemes, but Shell say they will purchase certified carbon credits from projects that protect or enhance the world's forests, suggesting a certain amount of distance from the projects themselves.

To ensure authenticity, carbon credits purchased in this way are independently verified by a third-party, restricting the possibility a supplier could claim they were offsetting carbon when they weren't.

However, there's some debate over whether carbon offsetting credits are used as a shortcut by energy providers looking to demonstrate their green credentials without undertaking other tasks that would help them tackle carbon emissions directly.

Green energy from Shell

Shell refute accusations that they're avoiding their direct responsibilities by choosing to purchase carbon credits and offset their gas supply in this way.

They point to their commitment to help households reduce the amount of energy they use through smart meter and smart thermostat installation schemes. By making homes as energy efficient as possible, overall emissions will fall.

The fact that Shell is also offsetting the emissions used in the provision of their 100% renewable energy is promising and suggests a holistic approach to carbon offsetting.

Following their takeover of First Utility in 2018, Shell rebranded the company in March 2019 at the same time as going 100% green.

In our guide to Shell Energy, we cover the other services they offer to customers including discounts on electric vehicle charging.

They have partnered with NewMotion to bring the NewMotion Home Fast charging point to customers, and they now have a dedicated EV tariff called Charge and Drive 2021 to benefit customers looking for cheap EV charging options at home.

Shell acquired 200,000 Green Star Energy customers in October 2019, bringing two challenger green energy companies together under one brand.

As of Q3 2019, Shell Energy possessed a 3% share of both the domestic gas and electricity markets.

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