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How do I invest in the production of green energy?

If you would like to invest personally in the production of green energy, there are three possibilities and three different types of contact.

    Green energy production
  • the easiest: take out a green electricity supply contract with your current supplier or with another supplier whose conditions may be more advantageous.
  • simple but more committed: buy shares in a cooperative company that produces green energy (wind or other) or buy shares on the stock market in a company that produces green electricity or manufactures equipment (windmills, solar panels, hydraulic turbines, etc.).
  • the most tangible: install a micro-windmill or solar panels (thermal or photovoltaic) on your home.

Green energy: investing means making a commitment

Wanting to invest in green energy means wanting to help protect the climate and reduce the pressure on the environment. Before looking into ways of producing green energy, think about ways of reducing your energy consumption. The greenest of all energies is that which you do not use. For instance, insulating your home permanently is the most efficient thing you can do to protect the environment, as well as the least costly for you.  Insulation offers the best return on investment of all energy investments.

Once you have done that, then you can start thinking about the follow three approaches:

  • Give preference to a green electricity supplier. If you have always received your power from the so-called “default” supplier (the one who supplied you before the energy market was liberalised), then it is not green electricity that you pay for every month.  So sign a new supply contract, either with the same supplier or with another supplier; there are several who will offer you totally green formulas. Choosing a green supplier, like making any purchase, may involve a little research and comparison, but it’s worth it. To help you choose, consult the survey conducted by consumers’ bodies such as the CRIOC/OIVO (Consumer organisations’ research and information centre) or Test-Achats/Test Aankoop. Ask the advice of Homegrade, as well.
  • Sometimes opportunities arise to take part in building a cooperative windmill or to buy shares in companies that produce green electricity. Keep your eye on the news and consult the Internet. An example: Belgium is currently undertaking major wind energy projects in the North Sea. You could ask a stock broker or your bank for advice.
  • Become a producer yourself. It’s quite possible today to cover your own electricity needs, or to cover between 50 and 70 % of your domestic hot water needs, using renewable energy and the investment will pay for itself in seven years. In urban areas, the most realistic method involves using solar technology: photovoltaic or thermal panels. But it is not impossible to install a micro windmill in an urban environment – studies are being carried out on this by the services of the new wind energy facilitator of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Find out about grants from Brussels Environment (in French). Visit a building or energy trade fair (there are more and more of them) and compare technologies and prices. Give preference to fitters who are approved by one of the three Regions, which is a sign of reliability, or who have an independent quality label. Finally, do not ignore the word of mouth: satisfied (or dissatisfied) clients are a valuable source of independent information.

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