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Where does OVO get its electricity from?

At OVO, we are determined to offer our customers the cleanest energy we can, at the best prices we can manage.

That means saying goodbye to coal and offering you more natural gas and renewables instead.

As an independent energy supplier, our focus has always been on serving our customers rather than generating our own power. So we buy gas and electricity from the energy market and from power generators across the UK, and then offer it to our customers at competitive rates.

We also do our best to provide you with the greenest electricity we can, at the best possible prices. We call this balance between clean energy and great value ‘mainstream green’.

Where does OVO’s electricity come from?

Where does OVO's electricity come from OVO Energy fuel mix

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

The chart above is for the 12 months ending April 2015. It shows that 15.4% (just under one sixth) of the electricity we supplied came from renewable sources, and all the rest (84.6%) from natural gas.

Our plan is for OVO’s fuel mix to become steadily greener over time, and the last year has been no exception.

Since April 2015, all our new and renewing customers get at least 33% renewable power, guaranteed. However, that fact will only be reflected in charts like this from Autumn 2016 onwards, when we will publish figures for the 12 months from April 2015 to March 2016. So from then on you'll see our renewables share at or above 33%.

The fuel mix charts below show how the electricity we supplied over the last three years (April to March) was generated and how this compares to the UK average.


Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

As you can see, our fuel mix improved substantially over this period, with our coal use dropping from 39.3% to 0% and the total mix now made up of 85% gas and 15% renewables.

However, our total share of renewables fell from 26% to 15% during 2014/15. This is a little misleading. What happened was that, in order to remove coal from our sources of energy, we stopped buying energy from the UK’s ‘residual mix’. That’s great for getting rid of coal, but also means we can’t include the 12% renewables* from the residual mix last year (2013-14).

Actually, in April 2015, we more than doubled the amount of renewables in our three main tariffs, from 15% to 33% – so by mid-late 2016 our renewables share will be above 33%. It’ll also mean another improvement in our carbon emissions.

Removing coal from our fuel mix and increasing the amount of renewables we offer was a big challenge for us in 2015, and we’re proud of the results. But we know there’s still a lot of work to do before we reach the best possible ‘mainstream green’ balance.

The chart below shows how the carbon emissions of our mix fell 34% from 486 to just 321 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kWh, largely achieved by eliminating coal. That makes our carbon intensity 11% lower than the UK average.

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

How we did it

These fuel mix improvements are all part of our ‘mainstream green’ strategy. As well as supplying as much of the mix from renewables as we can (while still keeping costs down), we realised that getting rid of coal would cut our carbon emissions dramatically.

We have said before (here and here) that we were unhappy with the amount of coal in our fuel mix. Unfortunately, since we don’t own our own power stations, it’s been tricky to avoid coal, because we had to buy much of our energy from the UK’s ‘residual mix’, which is far dirtier than we would like.

However, we’re a determined bunch here at OVO, and we’re pleased to say we finally found a way to wash our hands of coal for good.

This reduced the carbon emissions of our electricity by 34% (around one third) – that’s 296,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking about 62,000** cars off the road.

What about renewables?

For the year 2014-15, our renewable electricity all came from the UK and was generated using mostly wind power. This diagram shows the full breakdown.


Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

What is OVO’s fuel mix?

Each year, the energy regulator, Ofgem, asks us to disclose our fuel mix. The table below shows the combined energy we provided to all our customers across all our tariffs from April 2014 to March 2015.


Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)


*UK Renewable power is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas. **

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