The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Act 2010,
which was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament in mid May,
received Royal assent on 28 June 2010. Also receiving Royal assent
on the same day were the Renewable Energy (Electricity)
(Charge) Amendment Act 2010 and the Renewable Energy
(Electricity) (Small-scale Technology Shortfall Charge) Act
The Acts separate the Renewable Energy Target scheme into two
parts: the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the Small-scale
Renewable Energy Scheme. The changes aim to accelerate investment
in large scale renewable energy projects, which had stalled under
the previous scheme.
Most of the substantive provisions will take effect on 1 January
2011. However, the regulation making powers, some transitional
provisions and the provisions creating civil penalties have already
The Acts will have the following implications.
Separate large and small obligations: the Acts
create separate obligations for liable entities in respect of
"large-scale generation" and "small-scale
technology". Both attract potential shortfall charges and
Separate large and small certificates: the
Acts create "large-scale generation certificates" and
"small-scale technology certificates".
Retain renewable energy target for large-scale
generation: the Acts retain the Renewable Energy Target
(RET) concept, but only for large-scale generation.
Require liable entities to surrender all small-scale
certificates: the Acts require liable entities (together)
to surrender all small-scale technology certificates created in a
year (ie without limit).
Fixed price for small-scale certificates: the
Acts set a fixed price for small-scale technology certificates at
A$40, plus GST (where applicable).
Optional clearing house: the Acts facilitate
the creation of an optional "clearing house" for
small-scale technology certificates.
Possible review of price for small-scale
certificates: the Acts contain a mechanism by which the
Minister may review, and if necessary reduce, the price of
small-scale technology certificates to ensure that the price
remains relevant over time. The Minister must take independent
advice as part of this process.
Possible adjustment of large-scale annual
targets: the Acts include, for the Large-scale Renewable
Energy Target, a contingency arrangement under which annual targets
may be adjusted if the banked stock of renewable energy
certificates (RECs) exceeds a certain benchmark as at December
Possible reduction of Solar Credits
multiplier: the Acts allow the Solar Credits multiplier
for small generation units to be reduced in certain circumstances
(eg if the Renewable Energy Regulator determines that there is
systemic evidence that solar PV panels are being offered for sale
at a level where there is a relatively small or no out-of-pocket
Surrender of certificates: the Acts require
small-scale technology certificates to be surrendered quarterly (as
compared to annually for large-scale generation).
Renewable Power Percentage: the Acts separate
the "Small-scale Technology Percentage" from the
Renewable Power Percentage, which will only apply to large-scale
Emerging technologies: the Acts allow the
Minister to determine that an emerging renewable energy technology
be included as a renewable energy technology under the Acts.
Waste coal mine gas: the Acts significantly
affect the treatment of waste coal mine gas (WCMG) projects, by
repealing 1 July 2011 as the date from which existing WCMG power
stations (once accredited) may commence creating renewable energy
certificates, and making this a matter for future regulations.
Standards for small generation units: the Acts
require the Regulations to establish a scheme for inspection and
reporting on small generation units to ensure conformity with
EITEs: the Acts preserve the rate of
assistance for emissions intensive trade exposed entities (EITEs)
under the present RET.
Civil penalties: the Acts introduce new civil
penalty provisions (including civil penalties for executive
Transitional provisions: the Acts contain
transitional provisions whereby all RECs created before 1 January
2011 will be treated as large-scale generation certificates. In
general, for contracts entered into before the Act commences,
references to "renewable energy certificates" or
"certificates" will be taken to mean large-scale
generation certificates (subject to the contract expressing the
Review of scheme: the Acts require the
Government to commission an independent review of the scheme as
soon as practicable after 30 June 2010 and every two years
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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