Accelerating carbon abatement for Australia by providing a national framework for reporting emissions and energy data.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme contributes to the objective of reducing Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions by providing a national framework for reporting and publishing company information about greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption.
This data informs Commonwealth, state and territory government policy, programmes and activities, helps meet Australia's international reporting obligations, and avoids duplication of similar reporting requirements.
In summary, the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme achieved this aim in 2014–15. By 30 June 2015, a total of 99.9 per cent of all reports (from controlling corporations and liable entities under the carbon price) were submitted and all required data and information was published within the required timeframes.
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 introduced a single national framework for reporting on emissions and energy.
Corporations that meet the legislated threshold must register and report annually on the greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and energy consumption from facilities under their operational control.7 They are referred to as controlling corporations.
The Clean Energy Regulator collects and publishes totals of greenhouse gas emissions and net energy consumption that are above the publishing threshold of 50 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).
The data informs government and the public about emissions and energy flows across Australia.
It also provided the basis for assessing liability under the carbon pricing mechanism while it was in place (see page 40). In the future, this data will provide the base for the Emissions Reduction Fund safeguard mechanism from 2016 (see page 28).
The term 'reporters' refers to everyone who reported under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme for 2013–14, including liable entities under the carbon pricing mechanism. The term controlling corporations refers to those corporations that met the legislated threshold for reporting.
Controlling corporations are required to report their past financial year's emissions and energy use by 31 October each year. As a result, the Clean Energy Regulator's annual reports cover National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme outcomes from the previous financial year.
For the 2013–14 reporting year, 97 per cent of controlling corporations submitted their report by the 31 October deadline, up from 90 per cent the previous year.
97% of all controlling corporations reported by the 31 October statutory deadline—up from 90% the previous year.
This increase was largely due to the Clean Energy Regulator's maturing approach to compliance and proactive client engagement (see the Feature on page 52).
Reporting for the 2013–14 year showed the 420 corporations that met the reporting thresholds had:
Clients prepare and submit their reports using the Clean Energy Regulator's Emissions and Energy Reporting System. The system provides a streamlined client experience with prompts, information and functionality designed to minimise the compliance burden for reporting, without reducing the integrity of the data. The system also provides a flexible framework for implementing and supporting clients to adapt to changes the Department of the Environment makes annually to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting measurement determination rules such as including additional methods for estimating emissions.
This reporting system was first introduced for the 2012–13 reporting year. It was enhanced during 2013–14 to align with new legislative requirements and take into account client feedback. The Clean Energy Regulator is making further enhancements to prepare the system for the 2014–15 reporting year.
The Clean Energy Regulator is required by legislation to publish certain information by 28 February each year including:
The Clean Energy Regulator published data for 2013–14 on 27 February 2015.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Audit Framework helps ensure the integrity of data reported to the Clean Energy Regulator under the various schemes the agency administers, including the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme.
During 2014–15, a total of 620 audits were completed under this framework. This is the highest number of audits conducted in a financial year and included 45 audits initiated by the Clean Energy Regulator. The other audits were of data submitted under various schemes including audits of 205 liable entities and 168 eligible offsets projects.
The audits provided confidence in submitted data, identifying factors that helped prioritise report assessment, compliance, intelligence and educational activities.
The Clean Energy Regulator registers greenhouse and energy auditors and monitors their performance. As at 30 June 2015, there were 169 registered auditors, 37 of whom were assessed as part of the routine registration review programme during 2014–15.
The Clean Energy Regulator shared information reported under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme and improved information-sharing processes to assist Commonwealth, state and territory government programmes and activities.
All state and territories have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth to enable National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data reported prior to 2 April 2012 to be shared.8
All states and territories (except the Northern Territory) have also now signed a second Memorandum of Understanding that enables the Clean Energy Regulator to share all National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data relating to their jurisdiction.9
The Clean Energy Regulator continued to expand the extent to which this data is shared with other partner agencies and other levels of government.
The Clean Energy Regulator is the secretariat for the Commonwealth Information Sharing Network and the State and Territory Information Sharing Network, which are forums to discuss National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data. Attendees at the State and Territory Information Sharing Network meetings in 2014 and 2015 confirmed that the network is an important step towards strengthening relationships with data users from state and territory jurisdictions.
State and territory participants recognise the value of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting dataset and are exploring opportunities to benefit from streamlining their reporting requirements. The network will assist Commonwealth, state and territory governments to identify opportunities for deregulation and red tape reduction relating to National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme has been in operation for seven years, developing quality data, an effective audit regime and a purpose-built online reporting system.
The scheme is a trusted and authoritative source of information, covering more than 60 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses and government agencies use the data for their own reporting and to inform decision-making at the national and state level.
During 2014–15 the Clean Energy Regulator took a more proactive approach to client engagement and compliance, resulting in the highest ever compliance rate for the October reporting deadline.
The approach reflects the progression from assisting clients to understand their reporting obligations in the scheme's early years to more actively pursuing those who fail to comply. The risk-based approach involved reviewing past years' reporting patterns and drawing on the agency's deepening understanding of its clients to more clearly identify corporations that were at higher risk of missing the 2013–14 reporting deadline. The agency analysed the risk and circumstances in each case to develop tailored prompts and support for identified clients. The agency helped clients better understand what they needed to do and by when, through reminder emails and letters, phone calls and webinars. The potential for firmer regulatory responses depended on client actions and trigger points for escalation.
This new approach—which was a combined effort from staff across different areas in the agency—resulted in a significant increase in compliance rates for the 2013–14 reporting period:
The Clean Energy Regulator continued to work with those corporations that did not report by 31 October, and by 30 June 2015 a total of 99.9 per cent of controlling corporations had fulfilled their reporting obligations.
The Clean Energy Regulator received positive feedback from clients about the agency's approach to the 2013–14 reporting period, including:
'Staff have delivered above the level of normal expectancy in giving advice and assisting with compliance matters.'
'Staff provide exceptional assistance. They are always responsive to my queries, provide timely and clear advice to ensure that I have all the information I need and they are all a pleasure to deal with. I only have the highest praise for all of them.'
These positive results reinforce the strength of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme as the cornerstone of much of the Clean Energy Regulator's work.
Image acknowledgment: Clean Energy Regulator. A steel works site to represent a client under the National Greenhouse Energy Reporting Scheme.
7 The facility threshold is 25 kilotonnes or more of greenhouse gases (scope 1 and scope 2 emissions) and production or consumption of 100 terajoules or more. The corporate group threshold is 50 kilotonnes and 200 terajoules. Scope 1 emissions are released into the atmosphere as a direct result of a facility's activities, while scope 2 emissions are released from indirect consumption of an energy commodity.
8 This is data collected through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme before the establishment of the Clean Energy Regulator.
9 This covers the same type of data and for the same purpose as the first Memorandum of Understanding but applies to data collected after 2 April 2012.
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The Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.