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Role

   
 

The Clean Energy Regulator has administrative responsibilities for the:

  • carbon pricing mechanism, under the Clean Energy Act 2011
  • Carbon Farming Initiative, under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011
  • Renewable Energy Target, under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007
  • Australian National Registry of Emissions Units, under the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011.

In addition, the Clean Energy Regulator is preparing to take responsibility for administering the Emissions Reduction Fund. Legislation to enable the Emissions Reduction Fund, the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014, was introduced in the Australian Parliament on 18 June 2014. The agency has been working closely with the Department of the Environment to consult with stakeholders and advise government on the development of the fund.

Table 2.1 provides a summary of the regulatory schemes administered by the Clean Energy Regulator in 2013–14.

Table 2.1: Regulatory schemes
SchemeDescription
Carbon pricing mechanismAustralia introduced a price on carbon commencing on 1 July 2012. Under the carbon pricing mechanism, liable entities were required to report on their emissions and pay a price for every tonne of carbon pollution or equivalent greenhouse gases that they emitted. The emission reporting is administered through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme. With the repeal of the Clean Energy Act 2011 on 17 July 2014, the carbon price ceased to apply from 1 July 2014. Liable entities will report and acquit their final 2013–14 obligations under the carbon pricing mechanism in 2014–15.
Carbon Farming Initiative

The Carbon Farming Initiative enables individuals and entities to earn Australian carbon credit units through activities that store carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the land.

Australian carbon credit units earned under the Carbon Farming Initiative can be sold to people and businesses wishing to acquit liability under the carbon pricing mechanism or to voluntarily offset their emissions.

The different types of activities that can be conducted under the Carbon Farming Initiative fall into two categories—emissions avoidance, where greenhouse gas emissions are prevented from entering the atmosphere, and sequestration, where carbon is stored on the land. Many of these activities count towards Australia's national target under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Renewable Energy Target

The Renewable Energy Target is designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector, encourage the generation and use of renewable energy through market-based financial incentives, and ensure that at least 20 per cent of Australia's electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2020.

The Renewable Energy Target comprises two schemes: the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. Together they provide market-based financial incentives through the creation and sale of certificates. Electricity retailers are required to buy and surrender certificates in proportion to the amount of electricity sold in the previous year.

The Renewable Energy Target is supported by an online registry system that facilitates the creation, registration, auditing, transfer and surrender of large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme is a single, national framework under which corporations must report on greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and energy production. Corporations that meet a specified emissions or energy threshold must register under the scheme and provide a report each year.

The data reported under the scheme are a key input to Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, projections and reporting under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The data are used in Australian energy statistics, analysis and reporting to the International Energy Agency.

Information collected through the scheme is also a critical input to policy development relating to greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption, for both the Australian Government and, increasingly, the governments of the states and territories. It also provides the basis for assessing liable entities under the carbon pricing mechanism.

Australian National Registry of Emissions Units

The Australian National Registry of Emissions Units is a secure electronic system designed to accurately track the location and ownership of:

  • emissions units issued under the Kyoto Protocol
  • Australian carbon credit units issued under the Carbon Farming Initiative
  • carbon units issued under the carbon pricing mechanism.

Any organisation or individual that is required to or wishes to hold, transfer, cancel, surrender or relinquish units must have an Australian National Registry of Emissions Units account.

The responsibilities of the Clean Energy Regulator include:

  • providing education and information on the five regulatory schemes
  • monitoring, facilitating and enforcing compliance with each regulatory scheme
  • collecting, analysing, assessing, providing and publishing information and data
  • managing the validity of the supply of renewable energy certificates and carbon units, and maintaining the secure registry systems in which their ownership is recorded
  • accrediting auditors for the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, the carbon pricing mechanism and the Carbon Farming Initiative
  • working with other law enforcement and regulatory bodies.

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