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Method development

01 April 2021
ERF

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Methodology determinations (or methods) lay out the rules for emissions reduction or carbon storage projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) in the form of legislative instruments. The Clean Energy Regulator is responsible for developing new ERF methods. More information about available methods can be found on the choosing a project type page.

Prioritising which new ERF methods should be developed

The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, supported by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources sets the priorities for the development of new ERF methods.

The current method development priorities are:

  • soil carbon
  • carbon capture and storage
  • biomethane
  • plantation forestry
  • blue carbon.

In addition to these priorities, the Clean Energy Regulator will support the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee in their reviews of ERF methods. This will include a review of the coal mine waste gas method as a priority.

Soil Carbon

The new soil carbon method will help support more uptake of soil projects by reducing the costs of running soil carbon projects by using new soil carbon models. This is consistent with the Low Emissions Technology statement. Reducing the cost of soil carbon measurements has the potential to unlock soil carbon sequestration on a broad scale and improve farm productivity including enhanced crop yields and boosted resilience to drought and erosion.

Carbon Capture and Storage

The carbon capture and storage (CCS) method will cover activities that capture and store greenhouse gas emissions in secure geological formations. CCS was also identified as a priority technology in the Low Emissions Technology Statement as large-scale deployment of CCS will underpin new low emissions industries (including hydrogen) and provide a potential decarbonisation pathway for other industries.

Biomethane

Biomethane can serve as a natural gas substitute, produced from the capture and refinement of waste gases. The new method will allow biomethane from waste and agricultural methods to reduce emissions and receive ACCUs.

Plantation forestry

Building on the existing ERF plantation forestry method, the method will offer more opportunities for the plantation forestry industry to deliver low-cost abatement.

Blue Carbon

A blue carbon method will create opportunities to store carbon through restoring mangroves and tidal marshes and reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions through reintroduction of tidal flows.

Method priorities for future years

The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction determines method development priorities with the support of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Methods are prioritised considering:

  • the potential uptake of the method and the likely volume of reduced emissions
  • whether the volume of emissions reduced can be estimated at an acceptable cost and to a reasonable degree of certainty
  • whether it could have an adverse impact on society, the environment or the economy
  • whether it could be better supported by other government measurements
  • alignment with broader government priorities.

Future method development priorities will be determined by the Minister and will be informed by submissions from stakeholders on potential priorities. The Department will call for submissions in early 2021 to set the next round of method development priorities in September/October 2021. Through this process stakeholders can propose new emissions reduction activities and provide information, such as abatement potential to inform the Minister’s prioritisation process.

How methods are developed

The Clean Energy Regulator develops priority methods through a co-design process with industry, potential end-users, scientists and technical experts and the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee. We have a KPI to develop methods within 12 months of work starting on them unless intractable scientific or technical issues emerge.

Methods will be developed through co-design workshops with stakeholders with out of session engagement through email.

Following workshops with stakeholders in November 2020, we have developed a framework for collaboration.

documentasset:ThinkPlace co-design framework report

The method development tracker provides an update of progress on the development of prioritised methods.

Method variations

The Clean Energy Regulator develops variations to methods for a range of reasons including:

  • to implement an ERAC decision to extend the crediting period of a method
  • to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended
  • to account for technological advances that enable new measurement approaches.

Methods being varied or methods under review are published on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) website and our method consultation page.

The method variations webpage provides additional information about how a method variation might affect an existing project.

Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee

The Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee advises the Minister as to whether a method should be made or varied based on whether it meets the offsets integrity standards found in the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011.

Read more about the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee.

Method Advisory Panel

The Method Advisory Panel is a group of experts with a broad range of experience brought together to work with the Clean Energy Regulator on ways to solve complex problems that emerge in the course of developing methods. The Panel’s role is advisory and their expertise is sought in addition to broad consultation.

Consultation on methods

The CER and ERAC will consult on all new methods and those under review to ensure they are fit for purpose and to inform the Minister’s decision to make or vary a method.

All new methods being developed or methods under review are published on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website and our method consultation page.

Contact us

Email methoddevelopment@cleanenergyregulator.gov.au.


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