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Operation in accordance with Commonwealth, state, territory or local approvals

19 September 2018

To be eligible for accreditation, a power station must operate in accordance with relevant Commonwealth, state, territory or local government planning and approval requirements. ​

Relevant requirements relate to:

  • the development of the power station under environment and planning laws, including construction approvals needed for building the power station and related structures, and
  • laws specific to the power station's operating activity (electricity generation). 

Where a requirement specifies ongoing reporting requirements and actions to be taken by a power station to remain compliant (for example, a permit condition), the Clean Energy Regulator may seek information from the applicant as to how they intend to ensure compliance with ongoing conditions during operation.

This guidance will assist you to complete the 'Approval details' section of the application for accreditation form in the REC Registry. In this section, applicants are required to provide:

  • a list of all approvals, including details of the approval authority, the date it was received and approval number (if applicable), or details of any exemptions, and
  • evidence demonstrating that planning and approval requirements have been met in relation to the power station. Evidence provided should be in the form of a copy of the relevant approval, permit or certificate, and should be uploaded through the application in the REC Registry.

State, territory and local government requirements and standard documentation

You are required to provide evidence that you have met the requirements applying to your power station in the state or territory it operates in. The type of planning or development approval and licensing specific to electricity generation and transmission that must be obtained by a power station differs between states and territories, and planning approval requirements may differ between local government areas. Required approvals may also differ depending on the type of power station (size, technology, zoning, location, etc.). This means that the supporting documentation provided by applicants will differ depending on the power station that is the subject of the application.

There is however standard documentation relating to planning (and other) approvals that is ex​pected to accompany all applications for accreditation. You should note that different states and territories may use different terminology to describe the requirement in the standard documentation list and you must provide the equivalent approval to ensure each requirement is satisfied.

If your power station is exempt from a listed requirement or the requirement does not apply, you are required to provide evidence to this effect. Evidence can take the form of:

  • an extract of the relevant legislative provision, regulation or ordinance with an explanation of how the requirement applies or does not apply to your power station
  • written documentation from a local authority stating that the particular approval is not required for your power station, or
  • other evidence from an authoritative source showing an exemption or substitute requirement for your power station (i.e. current guidance or practice notes from a state or local government authority outlining the approval requirements applicable to your power station).

Please provide an accompanying explanation outlining how the regulation or other evidence you have provided is relevant to your power station. For example, if you provide an extract of a regulation (with accompanying reference) stating that power stations with a nameplate capacity of under 5 MW are exempt from a requirement, please make a clear statement describing why your power station meets the exemption. 

You do not need to have all supporting documentation available at the time of application. Further information may be provided as it becomes available during the commissioning of your power station while your application is under review by the Clean Energy Regulator. Please indicate which documents you intend to submit at a later date when submitting your initial application.​

Please note the information on the standard documentation does not form a complete list of all the requirements a power station must meet to be eligible for accreditation. If a relevant approval for your power station is not listed, you are not exempt from supplying this information and are required to provide details of this approval in your application.​

Standard documentation and details for state, territory and local government requirements
Standard documentationDetails
Required approvals -
Environment and planning
Applicants are expected to have and be able to provide the following planning approvals:
  • A development consent or planning permit​(or planning approval) issued by a relevant state or territory authority or local council.
    • If an environmental impact statement (EIS) was required to be prepared for the power station, a copy of this must be provided with the application for accreditation.
  • A construction certificate or building permit or approval.
    • A building approval (construction certificate) is often required to ensure that a structure being built (or any construction work taking place) will be compliant with building laws such as the Building Code of Australia.
    • A construction certificate may be issued after development consent has been given to confirm that the construction plans are consistent with the consent given or may form part of the development consent process.
  • A certificate of electrical safety or compliance.
  • You are also required to provide any certificates required by, or listed in, the development consent, construction certificate or building permit to confirm that building and associated electrical work carried out is complete and compliant. Please identify which approvals are required in the development consent (or equivalent) by listing the page number where they appear or highlighting the relevant information in the document. The following approvals may be required:
    • certificate of occupancy and use or occupancy ​permit
    • certificate of final inspection
    • certificate of compliance, or
    • building certificate.
Required approvals - 
It is expected that an applicant applying on behalf of a grid-connected power station has obtained and will supply the following approvals:
  • A connection agreement.
    • An agreement with the network service provider of a transmission or distribution network to enable the generator to export electricity into the network. This agreement will likely incorporate an agreement to import electricity from the network as well.
    • Note: you are not required to provide all the supporting documentation needed to obtain grid connection.
  • A generation licence or electricity licence.
    • A licence issued by a state or territory authorising the supply or sale of electricity generated by the power station. This licence is a different requirement to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) generator registration.
    • A generation licence may not be required for small power stations in your state, please check the requirements of the relevant state authority.
  • AEMO registration and confirmation of your Marginal Loss Factor (MLF) if applicable. This can be provided later during the accreditation assessment process.
Additional supporting evidence -
Demand for electricity
Applicants are expected to provide further information relating to the power station, the nature of its connection to the grid, and that it is meeting a demand for electricity. The following is required:
  • a power purchase agreement, signed electricity sale agreement, or offtake agreement (however so described).
    • An agreement for the sale or supply of electricity generated by your power station to another party, and
  • an electricity bill.
Additional requirem​ents for solar
  • Structural engineering certificate or design report.
Additional requirements for wind and large or complex power stations

A power station must operate in accordance with relevant planning and approval requirements. In order for the Clean Energy Regulator to be satisfied that this is occurring or will occur, you must provide evidence demonstrating that you will ensure ongoing requirements are met when operating the power station. This evidence should take the form of a compliance plan or operation plan (however so described) and supporting documents such as an operational environment management plan

The plan and supporting documents should demonstrate that you have appropriate procedures and plans in place showing ongoing compliance during operation with all relevant:

  • laws, regulations and codes specific to electricity generation, and
  • permits, licences and requirements under environment and planning laws.

These plans, which may include compliance schedules, should demonstrate that actions to meet relevant compliance obligations have been incorporated into the company's operational procedures

For example, approvals given on wind farm development invariably impose permit conditions that must be met both during construction and in the operation of the wind farm. Operators are required to draft an operations plan that amongst other requirements, describes how those permit conditions are to be met in respect of the operation of the wind farm.

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