Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In

Role of the Clean Energy Regulator in relation to the Renewable Energy Target

 

The Clean Energy Regulator administers the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). The framework for the LRET and SRES is established by the:

  • Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.
  • The Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Large-scale Generation Shortfall) Charge Act 2000.
  • The Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Small-scale Technology Shortfall) Charge Act 2010.
  • Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001.
  • Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001—STC Calculation Methodology for Solar Water Heaters and Air Source Heat Pump Water Heaters.

The Clean Energy Regulator implements the requirements of the legislative framework by:

  • maintaining several registers, which include the
    • Register of Renewable Energy Certificates (inactive as of 1 January 2011)
    • Register of Small-scale Technology Certificates (made available from 1 January 2011)
    • Register of Large-scale Generation Certificates (made available from 1 January 2011)                            
    • Register of Accredited Power Stations, and
    • Register of Applications for Accredited Power Stations
  • registering STCs for solar water heaters and heat pumps and small-scale solar panels, wind and hydro systems
  • managing and maintaining the online REC Registry and the STC Clearing House
  • accrediting eligible renewable energy power stations
  • registering LGCs for accredited renewable energy power stations
  • updating and maintaining the Register of Solar Water Heaters
  • managing the partial exemption process for emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) industries
  • assessing the Annual Energy Acquisition Statements (AEAS) lodged by liable entities and imposing any Renewable Energy Shortfall Charge
  • monitoring compliance with the Act
  • managing inspections of small-scale solar panels, wind and hydro installations for which certificates have been created, and
  • communicating the Act and Regulations to participants.

Further detail is provided below.

Maintaining a register of registered persons

Under Section 135 of the Act, the Clean Energy Regulator must maintain a register of registered persons, accredited power stations, certificates and applications for accredited power stations. These registers are maintained and accessible through the REC Registry. Under the Act certain information from these registers is required to be made publicly available on the REC Registry.

Registration of registered persons

Individuals and companies must be registered before they can seek accreditation of renewable energy power stations, create LGCs above the renewable energy power station’s baseline or create STCs for eligible small-scale systems such as solar hot water, heat pump, solar panel, wind or hydro systems. Each registered person is allocated a unique registration number, which is accessible from the register of registered persons.

Accreditation of eligible renewable energy power stations

Renewable energy power stations must apply for accreditation in order to participate in the LRET. Nominated persons of accredited renewable energy power stations may be eligible to create LGCs in respect of the eligible generation above the baseline.

The accreditation process includes:

  • verification that the renewable energy power station meets eligibility criteria as specified in the legislation
  • verification that a renewable energy power station is using one or more renewable/ eligible energy sources
  • allocation of a unique accreditation code if the renewable energy power station is accredited, and
  • establishment of an annual baseline. The baseline for renewable energy power stations that started generating electricity after 1 January 1997 is zero and for pre-1997 renewable energy power stations is non-zero.

Registration of certificates

Certificates must be created by registered persons, pass validation checks conducted by the Clean Energy Regulator and have a registration fee paid by the registered person in order to become registered certificates. There are three types of registered persons:

  • nominated persons for renewable energy power stations
  • individual owners of small-scale systems, and
  • Agents for small-scale systems.

Registered certificates can be transferred to other persons voluntarily surrendered under Section 28A of the Act or surrendered to discharge a mandatory liability under Sections 29, 44, 44A, 45, 45C, 45D and 95 of the Act. Certificates surrendered to discharge a mandatory liability incur a fee per certificate surrendered.

Monitoring and compliance

All participants of the LRET and SRES must comply with relevant sections of the Act, Charge Act and Regulations for the creation of certificates, reporting and other requirements.

The Clean Energy Regulator uses intelligence analysis and risk assessment to make strategic decisions about compliance activities undertaken, with the intent to maximise the number of stakeholders who voluntarily comply with their obligations under the Act.

Monitoring and compliance activities involve:

  • assessing and overseeing the submission of annual returns and statements such as
    • annual Electricity Generation Returns (EGR). Nominated persons for renewable energy power stations report their renewable electricity generation above the baseline and LGC creation in the EGR
    • annual Solar Water Heater and Small Generation Unit Returns (SWH/SGUR). Agents report STC information with respect to the number of small-scale systems that were entitled to STCs, and
    • AEAS and Renewable Energy Shortfall Statements (RESS). Liable entities are required to lodge an AEAS or RESS and acquit their liability by surrendering certificates and/or paying a Renewable Energy Shortfall Charge (RESC) in accordance with the Act. Liable entities that have a LGC shortfall less than 10 per cent of the total liability in a given year are not required to pay the Large-scale Generation Shortfall Charge (LGSC) and are allowed to carry forward the certificate shortfall without paying the LGSC. Where applicable, the Clean Energy Regulator imposes any penalties for non-compliance within the provisions of the legislation. The RESC equals $40 per certificate (excl. GST) not surrendered for the 2001— 2009 compliance years and $65 per certificate (excl. GST) for the 2010 and future compliance years. Where applicable, the Act allows liable entities to redeem any LGC shortfall, if shortfalls are acquitted by surrendering additional certificates in addition to the current compliance year within three years of the shortfall year
  • analysis of information reported by registered persons and corporations
  • desktop investigations, including data analysis
  • checks against third party data and other innovative analysis techniques
  • targeted investigations using authorised officers. This includes but is not limited to site visits, outreach visits, monitoring warrants and compliance visits, and
  • ensuring the integrity of the RET scheme by undertaking audits of eligible parties and liable entities. Audits include
    • liability assessment audits—these seek to verify the information provided in the AEAS or RESS, and
    • eligibility assessment audits—these seek to verify information provided in the EGR or SWH/SGUR or the creation of LGCs and STCs.

Audits not only help liable entities and eligible parties understand the application of the RET, LRET and SRES to their circumstances, but also provide feedback to the Clean Energy Regulator on areas where systems might need some improvement. The field audits undertaken in 2012 confirmed that audited parties were consistently reporting in accordance with the legislation. It was found that a small number of parties could improve the internal procedures that related to reporting of relevant acquisitions.

Issuing partial exemptions

Eligible prescribed persons, typically entities that carry on emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) activities, may apply for a Partial Exemption Certificate (PEC) each calendar year by completing the Application for a Partial Exemption Certificate form. For 2012 and future years, the application is typically due before 31 March of the year to which it relates.

All applications received are assessed by the Clean Energy Regulator for compliance with legislative requirements for the making of PEC applications.

If an application is approved, the Clean Energy Regulator will issue the prescribed person with a PEC stating the amount of megawatt hours of electricity for which exemption can be provided to the liable entity named on the PEC (usually the retail electricity supplier) for electricity used in the EITE activity in the year mentioned on the PEC.

Information about partial exemptions (including details of PECs that have been issued) is published on the Clean Energy Regulator website in accordance with Section 38C of the Act and 22E of the Regulations.

Publishing information as required under the legislation

The Act and Regulations require that the Clean Energy Regulator publishes a range of information.

The Clean Energy Regulator:

  • may publish a list of liable entities that have a shortfall for a particular year, including the amount of each liable entity’s shortfall for that year, and the proportion of that shortfall relative to the liable entity’s required renewable energy for that year (Section 134)
  • must publish a list of liable entities that received PECs before 1 October each year (Section 38C and Regulation 22E). This includes any revisions, the value in dollars estimated by the Clean Energy Regulator of the amount of the entity’s partial exemption for the year and the name of the prescribed person
  • must publish the renewable power percentage for the year, before 31 March of the year that it applies to (Section 39 and Regulation 23)
  • must publish the small-scale technology percentage (STP) for the year, before 31 March of the year that it applies to (Section 40A and Regulation 23A) and an estimate of the STP for the next two years (Section 40B)
  • must publish
    • before 1 October each year, the total amount of partial exemptions given for each EITE activity for that year (Section 38C and Regulation 22E), and
    • within 14 days after the PEC is issued, the name of the prescribed person to whom the PEC is issued and the EITE activity set out in the PEC (Section 38C and Regulation 22E)
  • must, by 31 October in the given year, publish the volume weighted average market price for a REC/LGC including a brief description of the method used to arrive at the estimate and weigh the prices and volumes for RECs/LGCs. This information must include details of the sources of information used (Regulation 22ZH). This is applicable to the partial exemption assistance rate
  • must publish enforceable undertakings accepted by the Clean Energy Regulator (Section 154Q)
  • must, at intervals of no more than six months, publish on the Clean Energy Regulator website an invitation to invite persons (Regulation 19BD) to make requests for determinations under Regulations 19BC and 19BA for determination of the number of certificates for solar water heaters. This includes a 30 day period for requests
  • must, for each quarter within a period mentioned in Regulations 20AA, and within 28 days after the end of the quarter from 1 January 2011, publish details of out of pocket expenses incurred for small generation units (SGUs) where STCs are created during the quarter (Regulation 19G)
  • must publish details of any determination made by the Clean Energy Regulator in relation to eligible premises (Regulation 20AB and 20AA(5))
  • must, for each year, publish the number of inspections conducted under Part 7— inspections of small generation units during the year. The Clean Energy Regulator may also publish any other general information about inspections that the Clean Energy Regulator considers appropriate (Regulation 32), and
  • may publish the name of a person if they are declared ineligible to design and install SGUs for the purposes of Regulation 20AC, providing that the person has been subject to adverse findings on three separate occasions (Regulation 47).

Together the Act and the Regulations refer to documents used by LRET and SRES participants to comply with the legislation for eligibility purposes. Subsequently the Clean Energy Regulator is required to publish and maintain documentation used by manufacturers of solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters to calculate the eligible amount of STCs for individual solar water heater and heat pump water heater models. Documentation for this purpose includes:

  • REC calculation methodology for solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters with a volumetric capacity over 700 litres
  • REC calculation methodology for solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters with a volumetric capacity up to and including 700 litres, and
  • heat loss test procedure for solar water heaters with a hot water storage tank greater than 630 (Regulation 3A).

The Register of solar water heaters (Section 23AA and Regulation 19C) lists models that are determined eligible under the applicable Australian and New Zealand standards together with the Act and Regulations.

Documents on this page Documents on this page

Was this page useful?

LEAVE FEEDBACK
preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only preload-image-only