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Our role

Established on 2 April 2012 by the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, the Clean Energy Regulator is an independent statutory authority responsible for administering legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases the use of renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Regulator comprises the government-appointed Regulator Board, with a Chair and four Members, and the agency, which is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity for the purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The Regulator Board sets the strategic direction for the agency and is accountable for the agency’s regulatory decisions and agency staff, who carry out day-to-day operations. In addition to the regulatory accountabilities, the Chair also serves as the agency head under the Public Service Act 1999 and is the accountable authority under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

As part of the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio, the Clean Energy Regulator delivers one outcome to Government:

Contribute to a reduction in Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions, including through the administration of market-based mechanisms that incentivise reduction in emissions and the promotion of additional renewable electricity generation.

Our purpose statement distils the statutory duties under the legislation we administer:

Accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.

We achieve our purpose by administering a range of government schemes to measure, manage, reduce or offset Australia’s carbon emissions and encourage investment in renewable energy. From November 2020, the agency also has responsibility for the development and drafting of technical legislation – methodology determinations – to allow crediting in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

We are responsible for administering the following schemes:

  • The Emissions Reduction Fund, established under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, provides incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions or sequester carbon.
  • The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, established by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007, is a single national framework for reporting and disseminating company information about greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, energy consumption and other information specified under the legislation. The reporting obligations under the Act also establishes the Safeguard Mechanism that limits growth in emissions by large emitters. These arrangements complement the Emissions Reduction Fund by providing a framework for Australia’s largest emitters to measure, report and manage their emissions.
  • The Renewable Energy Target, established by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, encourages the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources, reduces emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector and ensures that renewable energy sources are ecologically sustainable.
  • We operate the following registries and systems to enable market participants to securely and conveniently report, receive entitlements, acquit liabilities and trade:
    • the Emissions and Energy Reporting System
    • the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units, as created by the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011, and
    • the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Registry.

We deliver our schemes by:

  • issuing entitlements worth around $3 billion annually, including:
    • issuing Australian carbon credit units under the Emissions Reduction Fund and Climate Solutions Fund to organisations and individuals for approved projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • issuing large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates for each megawatt hour of renewable energy generated or displaced (no longer required from the grid)
  • facilitating and approving eligibility for entry to our schemes, including registration of projects and accreditation of power stations
  • collecting, analysing, assessing, providing and publishing emissions and energy data to inform the Renewable Energy Target, government policy and the Australian public, and to support Australia’s emissions and energy data needs and meet international reporting obligations
  • providing education and information to current and potential scheme participants
  • monitoring, facilitating and enforcing compliance by scheme participants
  • conducting Emissions Reduction Fund and Climate Solutions Fund auctions to purchase low-cost carbon abatement for the delivery of Australian carbon credit units, and managing carbon abatement contracts
  • accrediting greenhouse and energy auditors to undertake audit activities, and
  • working with other Commonwealth, state and territory law enforcement and regulatory bodies.

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