How much does the UK know about green energy?

Green Energy Education Gap



That’s the degrees Celsius we have left before the effects of the planet warming could become irreversible.

That's the number of tonnes of CO2 emissions each person in the UK produces each year.

That’s the number of years the UK has left to hit the government’s net zero 2050 goals.


When it comes to climate change, the numbers can feel confusing – and so can the solutions. It’s rarely reported on with any positivity - understandably so. It is the greatest threat facing our planet, and we need action.

But so much negativity depicted on a global scale can make us feel that real change is unattainable. At 100Green we could be described as purist optimists - we are driven by the belief that as individuals, we can make a difference.

But we are also pragmatists, and we recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure that in our efforts to promote the benefits of switching to green energy, we don’t gloss over the details.

"How does switching to green energy or a green energy tariff benefit the environment?" "What makes energy green?" "Should green energy be priced more fairly?"

So, to help us get a better sense of how much people already know about the facts about renewable energy, we surveyed 2,000 people from across the UK.

There were some positive results – and plenty of contradicting ones too, suggesting that there is still confusion around the subject of green energy; what it is and how it plays a part in our journey to net zero.

Do people believe they need to support the journey to net zero?

Our results suggest a strong ‘yes’.

We found that when it comes to supporting the UK’s journey to net zero, around 4 in 5 (83%) people believe their own personal impact is important - that’s the equivalent of nearly 39.6 million* of us.

Do people want to switch to green energy?

Our survey suggests that young people in the UK express the highest preference to switch to green energy, with over half (54%) of 18-34 year olds, saying they would like to make the switch.

This supports the findings from climate related studies in the UK that show that Gen Zs and millennials have higher levels of fear about the effects of climate change. With so much negative media coverage, it's easy to understand why people under the age of 35 might feel overwhelmed and are more susceptible to suffering from newly identified conditions such as ‘climate anxiety’.

But when we look at older age groups, we see that the interest in switching to green energy declines with age; 35-44 year olds (47%), 45-54 year olds (45%), 55-64 year olds (34%) and 65+ (26%).

As we delved further into the possible reasons why people are not convinced about the environmental benefits of green energy, it became clear that it’s not people rejecting the idea of switching to green energy, instead our findings suggest people would like to know more about green energy.

- Almost 9 in 10 (88%) people want more public education on green energy.

This is further compounded by the view that there isn’t enough support available to enable people to make the switch.

- 86% of people think the government should be doing more to help the implementation of widespread renewable energy across the UK.

- Over 4 in 5 (84%) people don’t think there is enough support from the government to allow the UK to be fully powered by renewable energy any time soon.

When we asked about the wider subject of green energy, our findings showed an overwhelming majority of people (81%) would consider installing solar panels or heat pumps if there were better incentives to improve the efficiency of their homes.

We can’t over-state how important it is that as a nation, we work to reduce the amount of energy we consume. Energy efficiency is a message that has been repeated by governments and climate change experts for years, so it is good to read that people recognise the importance of managing their consumption and want inspiration and support to help them achieve it.

How much do people in the UK really understand green and renewable energy?

Our results strongly indicate that the nation wants more support and education on the benefits of green energy. We found that an astounding three-quarters (75%) of the public wish they understood more about green energy, with another two-thirds (65%) of people telling us they wish they learnt more about green and renewable energy at school.

So, we’ve listened to your wishes and worked with our Chairman Doug Stewart, to reveal the facts about the nation’s most common misconceptions below:

Use the quick links below to navigate the answers.

1. Should I have to pay for green energy if the sun and wind are free?

2. Will the UK ever generate enough renewable energy to power the whole country all of the time?

3. How is green energy better for the environment if it comes into my home the same way as everyone else on my street?

4. Is green gas the same as carbon neutral gas?

5. Is renewable energy more unreliable than fossil fuel energy?

6. Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Misconception 1

Lots of things in nature are ‘free’. The warmth on your skin from the sun, the wind blowing your clothes dry, and the rain that falls from the sky and waters your garden – it’s all free. And it’s all a form of energy. But until someone converts that energy into electricity we can use, it won’t help power our homes and kitchens.

For example, a wind turbine sits on a hill that someone already owns. The turbine needs to be designed and manufactured. It needs to be transported and then installed. It then needs to be maintained. The electricity it creates needs to be distributed via the distribution network, which also needs to be connected to the grid and maintained – right up until it hits your energy meter in your home. Which also needs to be installed and kept safe.

That’s a lot of resources to turn what was originally ‘free’ into energy that you can use to power your home. So no, renewable energy won’t be free. But, it can be cheaper to generate and less harmful to the planet than mining and burning coal or sourcing natural gas.

However, energy is a commodity, and this means that it doesn’t matter how it is produced (wind, sun, coal, woodchip). The end-product (the electricity and the gas) is the same and therefore is traded on the same wholesale energy market.

For green and renewable energy prices to fall, the UK needs to become independent of fossil fuels, and that’s why choosing to support the generation of green energy in the UK is so important.

Misconception 2

So, is renewable energy reliable?

There is more energy falling onto and blowing across the UK than we could ever use, and we are already starting to see the impact of harnessing that energy. Six of the 10 highest-capacity offshore wind projects in the world lie in UK waters, mostly on its North Sea coast.

At the beginning of 2024, an Energy Statistics for Scotland report revealed that renewable sources produced 113% of Scotland’s overall electricity consumption in 2022.

For the first time ever, Scotland produced more renewable electricity than it consumed. But it’s not just Scotland breaking renewable energy records. In May 2023, the UK produced its TRILLIONTH kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity from green sources. A trillion kWh is enough energy to power every home in the UK for 12 years.

However, the issue we currently face is harnessing and storing that energy. Because renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro rely on natural sources, it means they can be ‘intermittent’. Intermittency in renewable energy means that matching the supply of energy with the demand for energy becomes harder. We can’t make the wind blow harder and the sunshine more between the hours of 4pm and 8pm when we are all cooking their dinners!

Increasing our ability to store the electricity we produce and use it when demand is high, is an essential part of the UK’s journey to net zero.

Large-scale battery energy storage systems are part of the storage solution. These allow electricity from renewables to be stored and then released when the power is needed most.

UK investment is increasing all the time, with NatPower just announcing they will be building over £10bn worth of battery storage (amounting to around 15%-20% of the UK’s needs) by 2040.

Misconception 3

As a green supplier, our focus is helping the UK change the overall energy mix in the grid from predominantly fossil fuel generated energy to energy produced using green sources.

However, that doesn’t mean that green gas and electricity is piped directly into your home.

That’s because it is the process of creating the energy we sell, is green – in other words, the production of it is a lot kinder to our planet than energy that has been made by mining and burning fossil fuels.

We are filling up the ‘pot’ (i.e. the national grid) with energy that has been generated in green and renewable ways. This energy is then distributed via the electricity and gas network and into your home.

When we have a new customer, we buy a little more energy from our renewable generators to put into the grid. And, in turn, that replaces the energy that another supplier may have bought from a fossil fuel generator for that customer.

Ultimately, we want to see the entire network filled with energy from sustainable sources – that’s what we call ‘greening up the grid’.

Misconception 4

It really depends on what the word ‘green’ means. When we say ‘green gas’ at 100Green, we mean that, like our electricity, our gas has come solely from green and renewable sources.

Carbon neutral gas hasn’t been generated using green sources. Instead, the amount of carbon released by burning the gas is offset by the supplier by contributing to sustainable projects around the world. Planting trees to offset is not an exact science and whilst it is an important step in our transition away from fossil fuels, it is not the ultimate answer.

The act of carbon offsetting is something many businesses do, and it continues to help raise awareness of green projects that are making a difference around the world.

But at 100Green, we made a commitment when we entered the gas market that we wouldn’t supply fossil fuel gas and that 100% of our gas would come from green and renewable sources. And 100% of it still does.

Misconception 5

People often mix up certain renewable energy characteristics, like intermittency or geographic variability, with unreliability.

These types of issues can lead to the misunderstanding that the more plentiful renewables become, the more at risk we are for blackouts - with our research showing that nearly half (47%) of people in the UK believe this. But this is not the case.

The challenges we face are in fact related to our energy infrastructure and how we balance supply and demand and how the energy is stored and ultimately delivered to your home.

The UK is focussing not just on where our energy is coming from but also how to make sure the grid is as stable as possible and able to make efficient use of the renewable energy being produced.

At an individual level we all have a part to play in grid stabilisation – that means being conscious of how and when we are using energy.

One of the initiatives that is currently being tried and tested in the UK is called the Demand Flexibility Scheme (DFS). This is a scheme developed by the National Grid ESO, which incentivises consumers and businesses to reduce their power consumption at certain times (the incentive is usually a credit on their bill).

By encouraging consumers to shift demand for electricity away from peak times we are putting less pressure on the grid. Without this shift, demand for electricity can outstrip supply – and when that happens, gas and coal plants are fired up to meet the demand and this dramatically increases the UK’s carbon emissions.

100Green customers can participate in DFS if you have a Smart Meter and you can find out more about the scheme here.

For people who are ready to make a permanent change to how and when they use electricity, Time-of-Use tariffs are available. At 100Green, we were the first to launch a true time-of-use tariff back in 2017. When you use a SMETs2 Smart Meter with our Tide Tariff, you will have access to our lowest electricity rates from midnight to 7am every single day.

Tide customers benefit most when they can avoid using energy between 4pm and 8pm every weekday and have either/or energy storage, home generation or an electric vehicle that can be charged between midnight and 7am.

Tide rewards customers for making positive changes to their consumption patterns, ultimately helping to stabilise the UK’s energy grid and making much more efficient use of all that green and renewable electricity the UK is generating.

Misconception 6

One of the most common questions asked about solar panels is: do solar panels work on cloudy days or on sunny days?

It is light, not sunshine that creates energy from photovoltaics. Photovoltaics describe the cells - also known as solar cells - that sit inside solar panels to convert daylight - not sunlight - into electricity. Modern solar panels will work well in most daylight conditions, and rainy weather can actually make them work better, as it can wash away any dirt that could be blocking the daylight from reaching the cells.

The only time when solar panels absolutely will not work is at night, but this isn’t an issue for homeowners looking to install solar panels to their homes as most will have a solar battery system that stores unused electricity for later.


Research conducted via a 3Gem survey of 2,000 adults (18+) in the UK.
The survey was conducted between 25th and 31st January 2024.

*(39617147.49) Based on 2022 ONS figures that there are 47,731,503 18+ year olds in the UK.