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ARK Tariff

Additional Renewable Kilowatt Energy Supply Tariff

Women selling essential items at their ‘Addis’ solar shop, in Southern Ethiopia. The refrigerator is also solar powered

Gaia Energy teamed up with Christian Aid to develop the ARK Tariff (Additional Renewable Kilowatt tariff) in 2007. Until late 2017 the target project has been the Mali Folk Centre, but from January 2018 a new project has been selected.

Customers using this ethical energy tariff are helping fund Christian Aid’s award winning Breaking the Barriers through which women are being supported to create and own Women’s Led Sustainable Energy Enterprises in some of the poorest and remote off-grid communities. These groups receive training in sustainable energy products and technologies, business skills and can access finance through Micro Finance Institutions.

The programme is being implemented across four countries, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Malawi and Ethiopia but the ARK Tariff specifically supports this work in the Konso district of Ethiopia..  In particular the ARK tariff will help:

Strengthen a solar enterprise group; This group has been established to supply and install standard solar products (mainly solar panels & solar lanterns). This fund will be used for increasing their working capital and to help them establish a shop in the town.

Marketing and Distribution Groups; The groups are formed in villages of Konso district to serve as a marketing and distribution channel for solar products supplied by the above group and producer groups in the district.

  • increase in rural women’s jobs and income in the sustainable energy sector
  • improve working and living conditions
  • promote gender equality
  • strengthen women’s social status

Project update September 2020

Christian Aid’s Corporate Partnerships Lead, Samual Williams, with Gaia Energy Director Jim Hackford in September 2021. Climate change is a threat to us all. But while the richest countries are largely to blame, it is the poorest that are suffering most from extremes of droughts and floods.

What does ‘Additional’ mean exactly?

When we initiated the ARK Tariff, most green electricity tariffs had been more about helping electricity suppliers fulfil their renewables obligation to the government, than creating more capacity (except tariffs run by small, green-only companies). Usually a premium is paid for green energy that was going to be generated anyway and so essentially made no difference. The ARK tariff means that renewable energy will be generated overseas in addition to energy that is generated anyway. Ofgem describes additionality in its Revision of Guidelines on Green Supply Offerings March 2005:

Additionality. 2.7 Consumers choosing a green supply offering need to be able to be satisfied that their support is making a difference to the environment in one or more of the three following ways:

  • Ensuring additional generation from renewable sources than would otherwise have occurred; 
  • Ensuring investment in the expansion of renewable generation capacity that would not otherwise have occurred; 
  • A clearly identified environmental benefit not directly related to renewable energy supply.” 

This is not Carbon Offsetting. We do not claim the ARK tariff offsets all the carbon emitted by your Site. However, the effect will be to support a reduction in carbon emissions in developing countries that partially compensates for your emissions.