When defining green electricity, a distinction must be made between what constitutes green electricity and what the consumer buys under the label green electricity.If the electricity comes from 100% renewable energy sources, it is green electricity. Renewable energy sources are solar energy, wind and water power, and biomass. These energy sources are characterized by the fact that they are constantly renewed and therefore do not dry up at some point, like coal or oil.
The disadvantage is that the generation of energy using solar or wind power cannot yet be controlled or stored to the extent that it is constantly available.
If you conclude a green electricity tariff, this does not mean that green electricity actually comes out of the socket. This can hardly be realized since both conventional and regenerative electricity is fed into the grid. Nevertheless, if you conclude a green electricity contract, you make a valuable contribution to the so-called energy transition and thus to climate protection.
Even if you don't have green electricity coming out of the socket just yet, electricity will become a little greener with every consumer who uses regenerative energies. According to the EEG, green electricity must be fed into the grid as a priority. And at some point, when enough consumers have opted for renewable energies, you will actually get pure green electricity from your socket.
You can tell whether your energy supplier is contributing actual green electricity when you look at the first electricity bill at the latest. The category "Other renewable energies, not funded according to the EEG" is decisive. If you see 100 percent in the section, your provider feeds actual green electricity into the grid. You can recognize actual green electricity in advance by seals of approval, such as the OK-Power seal of approval or the green electricity label.
There is no physical difference between conventional and green electricity. The difference is not the product itself but the origin. Green electricity and conventional electricity, such as from nuclear power plants or coal-fired power plants, flow in the same power grid, regardless of whether you are a green electricity customer or a customer with a conventional tariff. Therefore, it is impossible to supply only green electricity.
The power grid can be compared to a lake. Some inflows fill the lake and outflows that take the water directly out of the lake. Mixed electricity from conventional and green power plants is always distributed via the power grid.
Most of the electricity from the socket usually comes from nearby, for example, from the nearest power station. So, for example, this can be a wind power plant and a coal-fired power plant.
Nevertheless, it is worth ordering green electricity. Green electricity customers ensure that the supply of green electricity grows. However, one should make sure that the green electricity provider also promotes the construction of other green electricity plants. This is the only way to make the electricity in the grid "greener" overall and reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation.
In Germany, the proportion of green electricity in the grid has increased for years. For electric cars, this means that they drive faster, really cleaner than a petrol or diesel engine.
In order to advance the goals of the energy transition, the federal government passed the Renewable Energy Sources Act, or EEG for short, in 2004. Various measures were defined in the EEG to promote the expansion of electricity generation using renewable energies and thus advance the energy transition.
Although not the most popular, one tool is the so-called green electricity levy. The green electricity surcharge must be paid by every consumer, regardless of whether they have signed a natural or conventional electricity contract.
The EEG surcharge promotes the construction of new green electricity power plants and the transmission system operator's immediate connection of regenerative power plants to the power grid. The transmission system operators, who also market the green electricity, determine the level of the green electricity surcharge towards the end of the year and announce this on October 15th. In 2020, the green electricity surcharge will be 6.756 cents per kilowatt-hour.