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FAQ Grüner Strom-Label

What you should know about green electricity

Grüner Strom-Label

Frequently asked questions

With Green Electricity-certified green electricity tariffs, guaranteed investments flow into the expansion of renewable energies. The level of investment is determined by a fixed amount per kilowatt hour consumed. Thus, your green power purchase indirectly influences investments in the energy transition.The funding areas include the mobility transition, energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, and other projects that serve the energy transition, such as nature conservation, development cooperation, and education.

The full range of funding opportunities can be found in the criteria catalog for the Grüner Strom-Label. Selected energy transition projects can be found here.

The Grüner Strom-Label is awarded for a green electricity tariff, not for the provider itself. The label criteria therefore relate primarily to the tariff.Thus, the Grüner Strom-Label can be found on tariffs of independent green electricity providers as well as on tariffs of municipal utilities that sell conventional electricity in addition to the certified green electricity.

Nevertheless, the Green Electricity certification also looks at aspects concerning the supplier. For example, the Grüner Strom-Label will not be granted to any company that is still directly involved in a coal-fired power plant on the cut-off date of 1.1.2027, i.e. operates a coal-fired power plant itself or is involved in an operating company with share capital/share capital. Participation in nuclear power plants is also an exclusion criterion.

You can find all the energy suppliers that offer certified green electricity here.

Among them are several nationwide providers as well as local and regional energy suppliers. In our tariff portal of the environmental associations for switching energy providers. You will find all tariffs and can easily switch to a real green electricity tariff with a Grüner Strom-Label.

Green Electricity

Green electricity is electrical energy that comes from renewable sources. It can be generated from solar radiation, wind and water power, biomass, geothermal energy or sewage gas.

Electricity from renewable sources is ecologically and socially sound because it protects the climate and reduces the consumption of fossil, finite resources. In addition, it does not produce hazardous waste, such as radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

When you buy green electricity, it doesn't mean that green electricity is actually coming out of the pipe. Every kilowatt hour generated flows into an electricity lake, from which it is then redistributed to end customers. In other words, everyone gets the same physical electricity. But every single green electricity customer helps to make the electricity lake ever greener.

However, green electricity does not automatically promote the energy transition. For this, additional investments must be made in the expansion of renewable energies. This is guaranteed by tariffs that carry the Grüner Strom-Label.

The numerous green power products available on the energy market differ significantly from one another.

The energy markets cannot prevent energy providers from relabeling their nuclear and coal-fired power as "green power" with the help of additionally purchased certificates of origin. The reason is that the certificates can be traded independently of the actual quantities of electricity. Under this model, an energy supplier can supply its green electricity customers with electricity from conventional power plants. For this electricity, the utility buys an equivalent amount of (very cheap) guarantees of origin and can then re-declare its electricity as green electricity. The electricity purchased for customers and the guarantees of origin therefore do not come from one and the same power plant.

In addition, the decisive point in a green electricity tariff is whether or not the consumers provide an additional environmental benefit with their purchase decision. An additional environmental benefit arises when the purchase of green electricity promotes the nature-friendly expansion of renewable energies. However, this is not the case with many green electricity offers.

If, for example, an energy supplier only purchases electricity from old hydroelectric power plants for its green electricity customers, then an already existing amount of green electricity is only diverted to a certain group of consumers. The consumers who previously received the hydroelectric power may now (unknowingly) be supplied with nuclear power because they do not specifically ask for green power. The bottom line is that everything remains the same, new plants are not built, and the share of green electricity in the European electricity mix is no higher than before. Such supposedly "green" tariffs promise an additional environmental benefit that cannot be proven. In terms of this promise, they are deceptive packages.

The Grüner Strom-Label identifies for consumers the purchase of 100% genuine green electricity as well as guaranteed investments in renewable energies and innovative energy transition projects.

The guaranteed investments in the nature-compatible expansion of renewable energies are an essential distinguishing feature compared to many other green electricity labels and green electricity tariffs, where customers only receive electricity from already existing green power plants. This is because merely shifting "green" electricity quantities back and forth does not result in any additional environmental benefit.

Green electricity tariffs for private customers require an investment of at least 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Many energy providers also invest more than 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

If you want to compare an electricity tariff via the tariff portal of the environmental associations, the subsidy component and thus your energy transition contribution will be displayed for the respective energy provider.

For commercial customers, the subsidy is lower due to the higher consumption values: it ranges from 0.1 cents to 0.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Yes. Green electricity tariffs do not necessarily have to bear a label. Certification by the Grüner Strom-Label or other seals of approval is voluntary. There are electricity providers who do not have their tariffs independently verified at all. Here, consumers must decide for themselves how credible the offer is.

On the one hand, it is not the energy providers that are certified, but only the individual tariffs. Secondly, the certification of green electricity tariffs with the Grüner Strom-Label is voluntary. Suppliers can decide for themselves whether they wish to have their products certified according to our criteria. Therefore, we cannot make any statement about the quality of your non-certified green electricity tariff. You can find more information about our certification here.

We recommend the tariff portal of the environmental associations for switching energy providers.Here you'll find only green electricity-certified green electricity rates. When changing tariffs, you don't have to be afraid that the lights will go out at some point. The power supply is guaranteed by law - even when you switch providers. By switching, you can save energy costs, protect the environment and promote the energy transition. Here you will find helpful information on switching.

Supply of 100 % genuine green electricity

In the "coupled" electricity supply model, the energy supplier actually purchases electricity from a renewable generation plant for its green electricity customers. This can also be done via an intermediary. The electricity and the certificate of origin therefore come from the same green power plants. For the Green Electricity certification, such a "coupled" electricity supply is mandatory!
 
In the "fictitious" electricity supply model, on the other hand, the "green" rating is traded separately from the actual quantity of electricity. In this model, an energy supplier can supply its green electricity customers with electricity from conventional power plants (e.g., electricity from its own nuclear or coal-fired power plants). The energy supplier buys an equivalent amount of guarantees of origin for this electricity and can then re-declare its electricity as green electricity. The electricity purchased for the customer and the "green" label therefore do not come from the same power plant. This form of "fictitious" electricity supply can be used to convert conventional electricity into green electricity in a simple and cost-effective manner.
 
Guarantees of origin are not in themselves a seal of approval for green electricity, because they do not guarantee that there will be any additional environmental benefit.
Every energy provider that sells green electricity to its customers must use and validate guarantees of origin from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). This is to ensure that green electricity is not marketed twice.
 
However, the certificates are not a seal of quality, because they do not guarantee that there is an additional benefit for the environment. The system also cannot prevent energy providers from re-declaring their nuclear and coal-fired power as "green power" with the help of additionally purchased guarantees of origin. The reason is that the certificates can be traded independently of the actual quantities of electricity.
 
Only if the so-called "optional coupling" is anchored in the guarantee of origin does the energy supplier actually purchase electricity from a renewable generation plant for its green electricity customers. Consumers for whom this is important should ask their supplier specifically about this.

The electricity supplier must prove,

  • that it has purchased at least the same amount of green electricity over a calendar year as the green electricity customers have consumed (equal supply),
  • coupled electricity procurement, i.e. the electricity must be procured from the same green power plants from which the guarantees of origin originate,
  • in which plants the electricity supplied was generated,
  • that no double marketing takes place and
  • that the electricity was generated in an ecologically acceptable manner.
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) points out that the guarantees of origin it administers are not green electricity labels and cannot replace them. They are primarily a balancing system that provides information on the origin of electricity and is intended to ensure that green electricity is not marketed twice. The verifications are not seals of quality, because they do not guarantee that there is an additional benefit for the environment.
Consumers should therefore continue to choose only green electricity tariffs that guarantee added value for the energy transition beyond the UBA certificate of origin. In the case of green electricity bearing the Grüner Strom-Label, this added value is ensured by guaranteed investments in the expansion of renewable energies.
Unlike the UBA guarantee of origin, the Grüner Strom-Label also guarantees that guarantees of origin are always linked to the underlying green electricity volumes. This ensures that energy providers do not relabel their nuclear and coal-fired electricity as supposed green electricity with the help of additionally purchased guarantees of origin.

The engine of the energy turnaround is the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). However, the statutory funding instruments do not cover all the measures needed for a rapid and broad-based energy turnaround. Additional impetus must be provided. Credible green electricity tariffs are suitable for this purpose.

The Grüner Strom-Label goes beyond the EEGA fixed amount per kilowatt hour is invested in new green power plants, innovative energy projects such as electricity storage or smart grids, and in increasing energy efficiency. In this way, green electricity customers support ecologically high-quality projects that would often not be realized for purely economic reasons. Year after year, new Energy transition projects realized.

For this reason, it makes sense and is important to purchase green electricity with Grüner Strom-Label in addition to the EEG.

Guaranteed investment in new equipment

With Green Electricity-certified green electricity tariffs, guaranteed investments flow into the expansion of renewable energies. The level of investment is determined by a fixed amount per kilowatt hour consumed. Thus, your green power purchase indirectly influences investments in the energy transition.. The funding areas include the mobility transition, energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, and other projects that serve the energy transition, such as nature conservation, development cooperation, and education.

The full range of funding opportunities can be found in the criteria catalog for the Grüner Strom-Label. Selected energy transition projects can be found here.

In the construction of new renewable energy generation plants, Grüner Strom Label e.V. in many cases defines environmental requirements that go beyond what is required by law. This ensures that the subsidies flow into plants with the highest environmental standards.

Before funding can flow into projects, a concept must be submitted and approved by Grüner Strom Label e.V.. In the catalog of criteria for the Grüner Strom-Label you will find more information about this.

Thanks to the customers of the certified green electricity tariffs, energy turnaround projects are being implemented on an ongoing basis. On our Germany map all interested parties can see where these plants and projects are located, what their output is, when they were built and by which provider they were funded.

Certification process and certified tariffs

The Grüner Strom-Label is the only green electricity label in Germany that is supported by leading civil society organizations. The sponsors are here .

The label was created at the end of 1998 on the initiative of EUROSOLAR by several non-profit environmental and consumer associations as well as peace organizations to promote the expansion of renewable energies and to ensure credibility and transparency in the emerging green electricity market. Through the work of the sponsoring associations on the board and in the general meeting, they continue to play a key role in shaping certification to this day. Changes in the label's criteria, for example, must be approved by all the sponsoring associations.

The Grüner Strom-Label is awarded for a green electricity tariff, not for the provider itself. The label criteria therefore relate primarily to the tariff.Thus, the Grüner Strom-Label can be found on tariffs of independent green electricity providers as well as on tariffs of municipal utilities that sell conventional electricity in addition to the certified green electricity.

Nevertheless, the Green Electricity certification also looks at aspects concerning the supplier. For example, the Grüner Strom-Label will not be granted to any company that is still directly involved in a coal-fired power plant on the cut-off date of 1.1.2027, i.e. operates a coal-fired power plant itself or is involved in an operating company with share capital/share capital. Participation in nuclear power plants is also an exclusion criterion.

The electricity suppliers have contractually agreed to have their certified tariffs audited for each calendar year. To this end, they submit documents on the basis of which it is checked whether the criteria of the label have been met.

The results are summarized in an expert opinion and Validated by an independent institute and the Management Board. The Grüner Strom Label e.V. then decides whether the label will be extended and what conditions, if any, are associated with it.

Energy suppliers who would like to receive the Grüner Strom-Label for a tariff apply for initial certification using forms. If there is nothing to prevent certification, Grüner Strom Label e.V. and the supplier conclude a Label agreement The provider then undertakes to comply with the criteria. The label is then issued and the tariff can be sold. You can find more information about the initial certification here.

Subsequently, at the latest audited every two years by Grüner Strom Label e.V. to determine whether the criteria are being were. The expert opinions are then reviewed by the independent GUT Certification Company for Management Systems mbH and the Executive Board. The Grüner Strom Label e.V. then decides whether the label will be extended and what conditions, if any, are associated with it. You can find more information about the certification process here.

Yes, there are costs associated with certification for the label holder:

  • a certification fee, which is charged every two years for the preparation of the expert opinions, and
  • a label usage fee, which is charged annually and the amount of which depends on sales in the certified tariff.

The office of the Grüner Strom Label e.V. is financed with the label usage fee. It acts as an interface between the energy providers and the association's bodies, supports certification, advises consumers and energy providers, and handles public relations for Grüner Strom Label e.V.

Green power supplier with Grüner Strom-Label

You can find all the energy suppliers that offer certified green electricity here.

Among them are several nationwide providers as well as local and regional energy suppliers. In our tariff portal of the environmental associations for switching energy providers. You will find all tariffs and can easily switch to a real green electricity tariff with a Grüner Strom-Label.

Companies that operate nuclear power plants themselves or are directly involved in such plants cannot have their green electricity certified with the Grüner Strom-Label.
The Grüner Strom-Label will also not be issued to any company that still has a direct stake in a coal-fired power plant as of the reporting date of Jan. 1, 2027, i.e., operates a coal-fired power plant itself or has a stake in an operating company with share capital/share capital.

The aforementioned requirements for the energy provider (no participation in coal-fired and nuclear power plants) also apply equally to direct parent companies that have a stake of more than 50 percent in the label recipient, as well as direct subsidiaries in which the label recipient has a stake of more than 50 percent.

When an energy supplier goes bankrupt, the end customers affected usually fall back into the Basic supply of the local public utility - Electricity and gas therefore continue to flow.

The Grüner Strom Label e.V. requests the energy provider to inform its customers about such a change. As a rule, customers also receive information from their local basic supplier.

This is what we have achieved together

By choosing a certified green electricity or biogas tariff, you are directly supporting the energy transition. For every kilowatt hour consumed, a fixed amount flows into the expansion of renewable energies - that's sustainable thinking.

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Satisfied green electricity customers
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certified green electricity tariffs
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Promoted energy transition projects
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Invested subsidies (€)
comparison-you-green.com website on-smartphone

Switch to a certified electricity or biogas tariff now

There are already several online comparison portals for electricity and gas rates. So what's the point of another one?

At the comparison portal of the environmental associations, consumers can compare high-quality and exclusively certified green electricity and biogas tariffs.

 "vergleich-dich-gruen.de" offers you the opportunity to actively participate in an energy transition that is nature-friendly, decentralized, citizen-oriented, public welfare-oriented, fair and pollutant-free through your purchase decision.

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Grüner Strom Label e.V. | Kaiserstrasse 113 | 53113 Bonn | Germany
Tel: +49 (0)228 / 522 611-90 | E-Mail: info@gruenerstromlabel.de

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On this page you will find all the important documents about the Green Electricity and Green Gas Label.

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Here you can find all the documents about the Green Electricity Label.

Green electricity tariffs awarded with the Grüner Strom-Label guarantee investments in energy transition projects that are compatible with nature.

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Together for the energy turnaround

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Christian Knops

Green Gas Certification Manager

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Nina Cernohorsky

Speaker Green Gas, Green Power Certification