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Our operating context

The Clean Energy Regulator operates in a dynamic environment in which we need to respond to government policy settings while meeting our legislative responsibilities.

We will need to respond to a number of factors in our operating environment in coming years, including by:

  • participating in upcoming reviews of climate change schemes
  • responding to the regulation of evolving markets and technologies, and
  • contributing to whole-of-government initiatives.

Policy discussions and scheme reviews

Our primary mechanism to inform and assist policy-makers is through the continued provision of accurate, authoritative data. The information that we collect under our schemes is a valuable asset— for the government, business and the Australian community more broadly. We continually look for ways information and data can be published and put to best use in accordance with the provisions of our legislation. We recognise that efforts to share data with our partners and publish data online increase the transparency of the operation of our schemes and help to inform the market, potential scheme participants, policy-makers and the public.

Over the coming years, the reviews enshrined in the legislation of our schemes will provide the agency with the opportunity to consider the effectiveness of schemes in delivering their stated objectives—be they contributing to a reduction of Australia's emissions or encouraging additional renewable energy generation. The agency will need to be aware of how those reviews impact on our clients and the operations of the schemes and the markets.

The Clean Energy Regulator is engaged in conversations across government and industry on how government agencies can share data and achieve common standards and on approaches to self-regulation for emerging energy technologies.

Evolving markets and technologies

Emerging technologies and changes to the energy mix represent two significant impacts on the environment in which the agency operates. Both represent opportunities to achieve a more competitive and productive economy, more affordable energy in the long term and to accelerate carbon abatement.

The advancement of solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage technologies has been a key focus of research, leading to increased commercialisation of such technologies and their uptake by progressive businesses in Australia. Technological advancement will continue to drive improvements in energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors and make it easier to innovate and use renewable energy to reach existing abatement targets.

The challenge for regulation is to facilitate the benefits of technological change without exposing the community to potential risk. The Clean Energy Regulator is working with state and territory electrical safety regulators and relevant industry associations to address concerns about the regulation of emerging technologies.

The schemes administered by the Clean Energy Regulator provide economic incentives for investment in renewables and other activities that can transform the carbon intensity of our economy. We have a keen interest in understanding how investors and financiers take up these opportunities and assess their risk and return. While regulatory settings can enhance or impede investment, the decisions are in the hands of the business community.

Consumers' preferences for renewable energy sources are driving an increase in distributed generation from small-scale renewable sources, leading to significant and rapid structural changes to the electricity grid. We are focused on understanding how this shift could impact markets and the schemes we administer.

Whole-of-government initiatives

The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to actively participating in whole-of-government initiatives, such as the Australian Government's regulatory reform agenda and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) streamlining agenda.

The agency supports the Australian Government's regulatory reform agenda to reduce costs, improve transparency and enhance efficiency in administering regulations.

In line with COAG's streamlining agenda, the agency's activities to reduce the burden of reporting National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme data have allowed us to provide practical input to the portfolio's COAG reporting. This has included providing advice on reporting and legislative changes designed to further reduce the reporting burden on business, and enhancing opportunities for state and territory governments to streamline their data reporting through the provision of emissions and energy data.

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