Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, has strongly criticised the level of greenwashing evident in the recently published annual Fuel Mix Disclosure by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
Senator Boylan said:
“The report from the energy regulator clearly shows that greenwashing is still rampant among energy companies, deceiving the public into believing they are more environmentally friendly than they actually are.
“The Fuel Mix Disclosure report by the CRU highlights how several companies are claiming to be ‘100% renewable’ despite the electricity they sell being generated with fossil fuels.
“Earlier this year, I asked the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland to investigate ads based on these dodgy claims. The watchdog found that claims by Energia were misleading and that hundreds of thousands of consumers were misled by industry-wide bogus claims of ‘100% renewable’.
“The regulator’s report shows Energia, SSE Airtricity, Flogas, and Pinergy are among those involved in making claims of being 100% renewable.
“The companies exploit a Europe-wide scheme called ‘guarantees of origin’ to buy questionable certificates of renewable-ness from countries all over Europe to greenwash the dirty electricity they sell here.
“The regulator’s report reveals the alarming scale of the problem, with 16-million-megawatt hours’ worth of these certificates imported to the state last year. To put it in perspective, all the data centres used only 5.25 million megawatt hours of energy in 2022 according to the CSO.
“Norway supplied the majority, around ten million, while substantial amounts came from France and Sweden, each contributing over two million.
“Engaging in this kind of deceptive practice damages consumer confidence and hinders investments in renewable energy. It’s particularly concerning during a climate crisis when energy suppliers should be transparent about the environmental impact of electricity consumption.
“Customers need to be assured that 100% renewables means what you would expect. We need greater regulation to go above and beyond the minimums required by EU law.”
Notes to editor: Link to CRU – Fuel Mix Disclosure – 14 November 2023