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Certificate surrender

02 March 2017
RET

Liable entities may surrender renewable energy certificates through the REC Registry to acquit their large-scale generation certificate or small-scale technology certificate surrender liabilities under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, or to receive a refund for a paid large-scale generation shortfall charge.

Renewable energy certificates may also be voluntarily surrendered.

Failure to surrender the required amount of certificates at the required time could result in a shortfall charge becoming payable

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends that liab​le entities purchase certificates at least two weeks prior to a surrender deadline to allow for processing time. Especially if the liable entity wishes to purchase small-scale technology certificates from the STC Clearing House.

Calculating the number of certificates to surrender

Liable entities calculate the number of certificates they are required to surrender by calculating their reduced acquisitions , and then following the calculating certificate liability  process to determine their large-scale generation certificate and small-scale technology certificate surrender liability.

Large-scale generation certificate surrender

To acquit a large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for an assessment year, a liable entities must surrender large-scale generation certificates in the REC Registry by 14 February (or next business day) of the following year (or any later day allowed by the Clean Energy Regulator) through their annual energy acquisition statement. For example, to acquit a large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for the 2016 assessment year (1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016), a liable entity must surrender large-scale generation certificates through their annual energy acquisition statement for 2016 by 14 February 2017.

An annual energy acquisition statement must be lodged through the REC Registry unless exceptional circumstances apply.

If a liable entity is unable to lodge its annual energy acquisition statement for an assessment year by 14 February (or next business day) of the following year, it should provide a written application to the Clean Energy Regulator for an extension in lodgement time supported by cogent reasons. The Clean Energy Regulator will consider each application on its merits.

A liable entity may also surrender large-scale generation certificates in other circumstances:​

  • voluntarily under section 28A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 
  • to avoid or reduce its large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for an assessment year, as part of a request made by it under section 45A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to amend an annual energy acquisition statement for that year, if the request is made within 12 months of the statement being lodged
  • to avoid or reduce its large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for an assessment year, when an amendment made by the Clean Energy Regulator under section 45B of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to the liable entity’s annual energy acquisition statement for that year causes the liable entity to have a large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for that year or its large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for that year is increased. Such surrenders are made through an additional surrender notice lodged under section 45C of the Act, and
  • during the ‘allowable refund period’ in accordance with section 95 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (more information under large-scale generation shortfall charge).

Large-scale generation certificates can be purchased from the open large-scale generation certificate market, and are typically available for purchase from accredited renewable energy power stations or certificate brokers. Prices for large-scale generation certificates can vary depending on a number of factors including the fuel source and supply and demand in the market of large-scale generation certificates.

A liable entity is only able to surrender a large-scale generation certificate for an assessment year:

  • to acquit its large-scale generation certificate surrender liability for that year
  • as part of its request for amendment of its annual energy acquisition statement for that year under section 45A, or 
  • through the additional surrender notice lodged under section 45C.

If it is the registered owner of the certificate at the relevant time, and the certificate was created in the assessment year or earlier. The surrendered certificate must also be valid at the relevant time. The relevant time is as follows:

  • for large-scale generation certificates surrendered through an annual energy acquisition statement, the time when the statement is lodged
  • for large-scale generation certificates surrendered as part of a request for amendment under section 45A, the time when the amendment is made by the Clean Energy Regulator, or
  • for large-scale certificates generation surrendered under section 45C, the time when the additional surrender notice is lodged.

If you are unable to surrender large-scale generation certificates through the REC Registry you should check that you have the correct number of certificates available in your account  that were created in the assessment year or earlier.​​

Liable entities can only surrender large-scale certificates that were created in the assessment year or earlier

For example, to acquit large-scale certificate surrender liability for the 2015 assessment year you need large-scale certificates which are created in the REC Registry on or before 31 December 2015.

Small-scale technology certificate surrender

To acquit a small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for a quarter of an assessment year, a liable entity must surrender small-scale technology certificates  in the REC Registry during the surrender period for that quarter (surrenders to acquit small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the fourth quarter of an assessment year must be made through the liable entity’s annual energy acquisition statement for the year).

The surrender period for each quarter of an assessment year is as follows:

  • for the first quarter covering January, February and March of the assessment year, the period from 15 February to 28 April in that year
  • for the second quarter covering April, May and June of the assessment year, the period from 29 April to 28 July in that year
  • for the third quarter covering July, August and September of the assessment year, the period from 29 July to 28 October in that year, and
  • for the fourth quarter covering October, November and December of the assessment year, the period from 29 October in that year to the time the liable entity’s annual energy acquisition statement for the assessment year is required to be lodged (14 February of the year following the assessment year, unless a later date for lodgement of annual energy acquisition statement has been allowed by the Clean Energy Regulator upon the liable entity’s written application made with cogent reasons). 

A liable entity may also surrender small-scale technology certificates in other circumstances, including:

  • voluntarily under section 28A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 
  • to avoid or reduce its small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the fourth quarter of an assessment year, as part of a request made by it under section 45A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to amend an annual energy acquisition statement for that year, if the request is made within 12 months of the statement being lodged, and
  • to avoid or reduce its small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the fourth quarter of an assessment year, when an amendment made by the Clean Energy Regulator under section 45B of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to the liable entity’s annual energy acquisition statement for that year causes the liable entity to have a small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the fourth quarter of that year or its small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for that quarter is increased. Such surrenders are made through an additional surrender notice lodged under section 45C of the Act.

Small-scale technology certificates can be purchased from the:

  • open small-scale technology certificate market, where prices can vary depending on supply and demand for the certificates. Sellers of small-scale technology certificates are typically agents, certificate brokers or individuals who have installed a small-scale renewable energy system, or
  • STC clearing house , where small-scale technology certificates have a current fixed price of $40 (or $44 including GST). Please note that the Minister for the Environment may, by legislative instrument and in accordance with section 30LA of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, adjust the GST exclusive clearing house price of small-scale technology certificates to be less than the current fixed price. The Clean Energy Regulator recommends that you allow at least two weeks to purchase small-scale technology certificates from the STC clearing house.

A liable entity is only able to surrender a small-scale technology certificate for a quarter of an assessment year:

  • to acquit its small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for that quarter;
  • as part of its request to amend its annual energy acquisition statement for that year under section 45A, or
  • through the additional surrender notice lodged under section 45C.

If it is the registered owner of the certificate at the relevant time, and the certificate was either purchased through the STC clearing house or created in the assessment year or earlier. The surrendered certificate must also be valid at the relevant time. The relevant time is as follows:

  • for small-scale technology certificates surrendered to acquit small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the first, second or third quarter of an assessment year, the time when the surrender is made in the REC Registry;
  • for small-scale technology certificates surrendered to acquit small-scale technology certificate surrender liability for the fourth quarter of an assessment year, the time when the annual energy acquisition statement for that year is lodged;
  • for small-scale technology certificates surrendered as part of a request for amendment under section 45A, the time when the amendment is made by the Clean Energy Regulator; 
  • for small-scale technology certificates surrendered under section 45C, the time when the additional surrender notice is lodged.​

Fees for surrender

Fees are imposed for the surrender of certificates, except those surrendered voluntarily under section 28A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

For certificates surrendered (other than voluntarily under section 28A of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 or large-scale generation certificates surrendered during the allowable refund period to obtain a refund for a paid large-scale generation shortfall charge), the surrender fee is 8 cents per certificate. Once a lia​ble entity receives notice from the Clean Energy Regulator that their certificates have been accepted for surrender and advising the fee payable for the surrender, the liable entity must pay the surrender fee within 28 days to avoid incurring a debt to the Commonwealth.

For certificates surrendered during the allowable refund period to obtain a refund for a paid large-scale generation shortfall charge, an administration fee is taken from the amount to be refunded. The calculation of the administration fee is set out in sub-regulation 28(5) of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001.

There is no surrender fee for certificates voluntarily surrendered under section 28A.

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