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Coal mine waste gas

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22 May 2017
CFI ERF
Is the coal mine waste gas method suitable for your business?
  • Is your facility an operating underground coal mine?
  • Are you looking to destroy or convert some or all of the waste methane drawn from the mine b​​​y installing a flaring, flameless oxidation or electricity production device?

If you have answered yes to both of these questions, the coal mine waste gas method may be suitable for your business. Read on for eligibility and compliance details.

The methane in coal mine waste gas is a greenhouse gas emitted by coal mines. The coal mine waste gas method applies only to underground coal mines. The method sets out criteria for projects that reduce emissions either through flaring, oxidation, destruction, or conversion of waste gas to operate an electricity production device. 

These projects have a significant abatement effect as coal mine waste gas is primarily methane. Destruction, conversion, or oxidation converts the methane into carbon dioxide, which has a lower global warming potential. When coal mine waste gas is destroyed or converted in an electricity production device, the project can have can have the additional abatement effect of displacing electricity produced by other generators on the electricity network.

Two or more mines that are located sufficiently close together may share devices. It is important that sharing mines are identified in the application for  declaration of the project, providing project requirements are met.​

​Method variations​


Section 114 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (the Act) allows for methods to be revised and varied. This is to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended. Variations to methods are developed and drafted by the Department of the Environment. Information on draft methods and method variations is available on the Department of the Environment’s website. 

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends making yourself familiar with proposed method variations relevant to your project should they arise, and how any changes between the original method and the varied method may affect your project plan.

A variation for this method came into force on 15 November 2016. All eligible offset projects approved after this date, and those approved projects whose crediting period had not begun when the variation commencement, will need to comply with the determination, even if the application was submitted before the variation commenced.


Legislative requirements

You must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements to conduct a coal mine waste gas project and earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). This includes:

Tools and Resources

Department of Environment information on the coal mine waste gas method

Coal mine waste gas - project ap​plication guidance​​

Quick reference guide to the coal mine waste gas method

Quick reference guide contents:​

Crediting period

Seven years – the crediting period is the period of time a project undertakes activities which generate eligible abatement.

Relevant section of the Act:

​Eligibility requirements

There are ​general eligibility requirements in the Act which include:

The coal mine waste gas method is split into five categories of the project and each has additional specific eligibility criteria. Further detail about the specific eligibility criteria for each category can be found in Part ​3 of the method.​

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Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Method:

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​​​Project Activities

A project involves the destruction or conversion of the methane component of coal mine waste gas from an operating coal mine by the installation or expansion of operation of a flaring device, a flameless oxidation device, or an electricity production device.

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Exclusions

Applicants should be aware of types of projects that are excluded by the method, including:

  • projects that involve the capture and use of coal seam methane (ie, where it is not coal mine waste gas)
  • projects that involve the capture and use of gas drawn from a decommissioned underground coal mine
  • projects that involve the capture and use of gas drawn from a mine operating under a petroleum lease alone
  • projects that propose the capture and use of coal mine waste gas from an underground coal mine that is not yet operating, and
  • projects focused only on capture and flaring of waste gas where the destruction of methane is required by C​ommonwealth, State or local legislation.

Relevant section of the Method:

How is abatement calculated?

Abatement is calculated by looking at the potential emissions of the destroyed or converted methane and reducing this by the resulting CO2 emissions, the ancillary emissions that result from the project and any historic abatement (where the project expands on existing abatement).

Emissions associated with the delivery of electricity to the grid are incorporated by applying a marginal loss factor to the electricity calculation.

Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which are components of the waste gas, are unaffected by the destruction or conversion and are therefore excluded from abatement calculations.

Please see part 4 of the method for further information about the equations that are to be used in calculating the abatement.

Relevant section of the method:

Monitoring requirements

In addition to the general m​onitoring requirements of the Act, projects must meet specific monitoring requirements in the method. These include monitoring:

  • the volume of the methane component of the coal mine waste gas
  • the quantity of electricity produced in any generator
  • ​ancillary electricity or additional fuel consumed by the project, and
  • whether the flare, flameless oxidation system or generator is operating.

The method also sets out the consequences for failing to monitor certain parameters.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Method:

Record keeping requirements

This method does not require any record keeping requirements that are additional to the general record keeping requirements of the​ Act and the Rule.

Each project will provide an offsets report as and when required by the Clean Energy Regulator.​​

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Reporting requirements

The Act and the Rule provide the general reporting and notification requirements and the Method sets out two further method specific reporting requirements in relation to certain factors and parameters used to calculate abatement.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:

Audits

All projects receive an audit schedule when the project is declared and must provide audit reports according to this schedule. A minimum of three audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. For more information on the audit requirements, see the Act, the Rule and the audit information on our website.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Specialist skills recommended

Specialist skills will be required to carry out the project with the method. Examples of specialist skills include:

  • Registered Professional Engineer (PE)
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP)
  • Verified experience in energy or facility management, or measurement and verification

Relevant section of the Rule:

 

 
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