A power station that provides electricity from eligible renewable energy sources may be accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and create large-scale generation certificates for the electricity that it generates above the ‘baseline’ determined by the Clean Energy Regulator under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 (the Regulations).
For the Clean Energy Regulator to assess an application for accreditation of a power station, the applicant must successfully complete and submit all sections of the application and supply sufficient supporting evidence to demonstrate that the renewable energy power station can be accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target.
A Clean Energy Regulator assessor will verify that all required information has been submitted and that the applicant is a registered person on the REC Registry. Once the initial assessment has been completed, the applicant is notified and asked to pay an accreditation fee through the REC Registry. After the fee has been paid, the applicant is notified that the application has been assessed as properly made under section 13 of the Act. Details of the renewable energy power station are then listed on the public register of applications for accredited power stations, which can be accessed via the REC Registry.
From the time the application is assessed as being properly made, the Clean Energy Regulator has six weeks to determine matters under section 14 of the Act and either approve or refuse the application under section 15 of the Act. If the application is approved, the accreditation start date is the date the application was assessed as being properly made under the Act, or the date the power station started generating electricity for the first time, whichever is later. The ‘nominated person’ (the applicant whose application has been approved) is then notified of the accreditation of the power station and the power station is listed on the public register of accredited power stations. The nominated person is able to create large-scale generation certificates from the date of accreditation.
Of the 437 renewable energy power station applications listed in the REC Registry as at 31 December 2013:
Tables 3 to 5 provide a breakdown of the types and locations of accredited renewable energy power stations. In Table 4, power stations that are accredited for multiple renewable energy sources are reported according to the source for which they create the majority of their large-scale generation certificates.
To maintain its accreditation status, a power station must confirm its compliance with Commonwealth, state, territory and local government planning and approval requirements as stated in section 20 of the Act and regulation 18 of the Regulations.
Sections 30D and 30E of the Act set out the grounds for suspension of accreditation of a power station. No accredited power stations were suspended during 2013.
Accredited power stations are eligible to create certificates from electricity generation above the baseline. The baseline for each power station is determined by the Clean Energy Regulator under the Regulations. The baseline for a pre-1997 renewable energy power station is determined by averaging the annual amount of electricity generated from eligible renewable energy sources by that power station over the 1994, 1995 and 1996 years. Power stations which generated electricity for the first time after 1 January 1997 have a baseline of zero.
The Clean Energy Regulator received two requests from a nominated person to vary their eligible renewable power baselines for the 2012 and 2013 generation years under section 30F of the Act. The nominated person, Snowy Hydro Limited, applied for the baseline variations as they had been required to release water for environmental flows into the Snowy Montane Rivers and the Snowy River in 2012 and 2013. The Clean Energy Regulator made decisions in January 2013 and October 2013 to vary the eligible renewable power baselines for 2012 and 2013 respectively under section 30F of the Act and regulation 20E of the Regulations.
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