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Compliance priorities 2017

06 September 2018
In 2017, the Clean Energy Regulator published compliance focus areas​ for the first time, highlighting our approach to regulation.

Outcomes of Compliance priorities 2017

We published our documentasset:Compliance p​riorities 2017​​​ in February 2017 as part of maturing our approach to compliance​​. Our progress against these priorities is detailed below.

Overall scheme participants demonstrated a high-level of compliance with their obligations across our schemes. This was confirmed by our increasingly sophisticated data-matching capabilities and detection and verification tools.

We continued to work with scheme participants and industry representatives to develop resources and education materials that aid understanding of scheme rules and their obligations, and implemented new ways to make it easier for them to comply. We also engaged early where suspected non-compliance was identified to provide relevant parties an opportunity to respond and, where appropriate, to correct their behaviour.

Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and RET liability

Data quality and debt recovery

  • We matched Australian Energy Market Operator data with information provided by renewable power stations under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target to check that large-scale generation certificate creations reflected electricity generated from renewable power stations.
  • We issued demand for payment notices to three liable entities for unpaid shortfall charges and entered into payment arrangements with two liable entities. We filed a winding up application in the Federal Court against one liable entity and the court has ordered that company be wound up.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)

Enhanced monitoring of claims for small-scale renewable energy certificates

  • We continued to exchange information with our regulatory partners such as the Australian Tax Office Phoenix Taskforce, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Communications and Media Authority. This led to the removal of some RET scheme participants, identification of other high risk scheme participants and targeted education, compliance and enforcement action in relation to solar industry telemarketing.
  • We assessed a number of Clean Energy Council accredited installers, solar panel retailers and agents and issued a small number of notices to supply us information.
  • We suspended 297 registered person account holders, representing around 4 per cent of account holders, due to the improper certificate creations, deregistration of companies by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission or companies being placed into liquidation.
  • We recovered small-scale technology certificates valued at over $500,000 due to the detection of administrative non-compliance.
  • Three enforceable undertakings were entered into and are published on our website affirming the agency’s commitment to protect the integrity of the scheme.
  • We matched Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) data against electricity consumption and exports at installation addresses enabling us to determine the likelihood that a solar panel system was installed on the date claimed.
  • We piloted the Solar Panel Validation Initiative allowing businesses in the SRES supply chain to quickly and easily check manufacturer serial numbers to confirm if solar panels are genuine, meet Australian Standards and eligibility requirements before they are installed.

Emissions Reduction Fund

Integrity of client declarations and ability to meet contractual obligations

  • We used new high-resolution geographic information system (GIS) tools to better assess eligibility of applications for Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) under vegetation methods. This led to the number ACCUs issued being reduced, strengthening the integrity of the scheme.
  • We revoked offset projects that were non-viable or project proponents were unable to obtain relevant consents to conduct the projects. This ensured only projects that can deliver ACCUs are registered.
  • We actively educated contractors on their Emissions Reduction Fund delivery obligations and were pleased that scheduled abatement was delivered under the active contract portfolio.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme

Enhance data integrity

  • We continued to automate the identification of potential anomalies and non-compliant reports to allow us to pinpoint where accuracy of the NGER dataset can best be improved and consider responses to detected non-compliance.
  • We identified some anomalies when we compared the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target data and electricity generation data reported by some renewable power stations reporting under NGER. This resulted in resubmission of some NGER reports and strengthened the integrity of the dataset.
  • Reporting data entry controls and verification of the location of reported facility addresses helped improve the accuracy of information used by state and territory governments.
  • We conducted a number of targeted audits to ensure the accuracy of reported energy production and consumption, and emissions from flaring. The audit findings identified minor issues which will be rectified in the next reporting cycle and the development of further guidance for reporters.

Registered Greenhouse and Energy auditors

Auditor compliance with standards

  • We undertook a program of work to strengthen the controls in our audit framework, including changes to legislation, guidance and improved education activities.
  • We conducted inspections of some auditors, and agreed to an action plan to improve the performance of one auditor.

Safeguard mechanism

Scrutinise the integrity of initial baselines

  • We undertook analysis of industry data, previous reports of emissions, and compared audit reports to satisfy ourselves reported baseline determinations for facilities under the safeguard mechanism were accurate.
  • Proactive engagement with safeguard entities on their compliance options led to some responsible emitters surrendering a total of 448,097 ACCUs to reduce their emissions.​​
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