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Renewable Energy News

Renewable energy and carbon capture in Australia – Lexology

By Staff , in Geothermal Power , at September 24, 2020

Renewable energy and carbon capture

Renewable energy consumption, policy and general regulation

Give details of the production and consumption of renewable energy in your country. What is the policy on renewable energy? Describe any obligations on the state and private parties for renewable energy production or use. Describe the main provisions of any scheme for registration of renewable energy production and use and for trade of related accounting units or credits.

In Australia, renewable energy is produced from hydro, wind, bioenergy and solar photovoltaic cells. Bioenergy includes energy produced from landfill biogas and industrial waste, among other things. The following table gives electricity produced by fuel type in the 2017–2018 financial year, which is the latest for which information is available.

Renewable energy production

Fuel

Electricity produced (GWh)

Percentage of all electricity production

Hydro

16,021

6.1

Wind

15,174 5.8

Bioenergy

44,643 1.3

Solar PV

9,930

3.8

All renewables

44,643 17.1

The above information is taken from the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Energy Statistics (2019) Table O.

The following table gives electricity consumed by fuel type in the 2017–2018 financial year, which is the latest for which information is available. Energy consumption is measured in petajoules (PJ). One PJ is equal to 278 GWh.

Renewable energy consumption

Fuel

Electricity consumed (PJ)

Percentage of renewable electricity production

Biomass

189.4 49.7

Municipal and industrial waste

4.8 1.3

Biogas

16.1 4.2

Biofuels

6.1 1.6

Hydro

57.7 15.1

Wind

54.6 14.3

Solar PV

35.7 9.4

Solar hot water

16.6

4.3

All renewables

382.1 100

The above information is taken from the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Energy Statistics (2019) Tables D, F and O.

Wind energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of wind energy.

Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate a wind energy project. For example, state and territory environment laws and laws that regulate land use approvals.

Government schemes exist to encourage the development of renewable power stations like wind farms. The Clean Energy Regulator administers the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme, which includes the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET). This target creates a market for the creation and sale of certificates known as large-scale generation certificates (LGCs). Certain accredited power stations can create LGCs for electricity generated from its renewable energy sources, such as wind. The LGCs can then be sold to electricity retailers (and other entities with certain liabilities) to meet their compliance obligations. The LGCs operate as offsets to energy use and GHG emissions.

Another part of the RET Scheme is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Target. This target creates a financial incentive for individuals and small businesses to install certain small-scale renewable energy systems, such as small-scale wind systems. This scheme creates small-scale technology certificates (STCs), which energy retailers can use to discharge their RET compliance obligations.

Solar energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of solar energy.

Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate a solar energy project.

Government schemes exist to encourage the development of renewable power stations, such as solar farms. One such scheme is the LRET, which is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator. This scheme creates a market for the creation and sale of LGCs. Certain accredited power stations can create LGCs for electricity generated from its renewable energy sources, such as solar (see Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (Cth) (the RET Act) section 17(1)(f)). Once someone has created an LGC, they can then sell it to electricity retailers (and other entities with certain liabilities) to meet their compliance obligations. The LGCs operate as offsets to energy use and GHG emissions.

Another part of the RET Scheme is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Target. This target creates a financial incentive for individuals and small businesses to install certain small-scale renewable energy systems, such as solar panel systems and solar water heaters. Energy retailers can use STCs discharge their RET compliance obligations.

Hydropower, geothermal, wave and tidal energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of hydropower, geothermal, wave or tidal energy.

Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate hydropower, geothermal, wave or tidal energy projects. For example, in South Australia, the production of geothermal energy is a regulated activity under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (SA), and as such requires an environmental impact report. For another example, if a proposed tidal energy project impacted on a Commonwealth marine area (or on another matter of national significance), then the project may require assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

Government schemes exist to encourage the development of renewable power stations such as hydropower, geothermal, wave and tidal energy projects. One such scheme is the LRET, which establishes a market for the creation and sale of LGCs. Certain accredited power stations can create LGCs for electricity generated from their renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are defined to include hydro, wave, tide, ocean, geothermal‑aquifer (see RET Act sections 17(1)(a)–(d), (g)). Once someone has created an LGC, they can then sell it to electricity retailers (and other entities with certain liabilities) to meet their compliance obligations. The LGCs operate as offsets to energy use and GHG emissions.

Waste-to-energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of production of energy based on waste.

Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate a waste-to-energy project.

Government schemes exist to encourage the development of renewable power stations such as waste-to-energy projects. The Clean Energy Regulator administers the LRET, which establishes a market for the creation and sale of LGCs. Certain accredited power stations can create LGCs for electricity generated from its renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are defined to include agricultural waste, food waste, bagasse, black liquor, and gases from landfill and sewage (see RET Act sections 17(1)(j)–(s)). Once someone has created an LGC, they can then sell it to electricity retailers (and other entities with certain liabilities) to meet their compliance obligations. The LGCs operate as offsets to energy use and GHG emissions.

Biofuels and biomass

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of biofuel for transport uses and any regulation of biomass for generation of heat and power.

The use of biofuels for transport is regulated at the state and territory level. Two states, Queensland and New South Wales (NSW), have introduced biofuel mandates. For example, in NSW, service stations and other volume fuel retailers must make sure that: ethanol is at least six per cent of all petrol sold; and biodiesel is at least two per cent of all diesel sold. Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate a biomass energy project.

Government schemes exist to encourage the development of renewable power stations such as those fuelled by biomass. The Clean Energy Regulator administers the LRET, which establishes a market for the creation and sale of LGCs. Certain accredited power stations can create LGCs for electricity generated from its renewable energy sources. Eligible energy sources include biomass‑based components of municipal solid waste (see RET Act section 17(1)(q)). Once someone has created an LGC, they can then sell it to electricity retailers (and other entities with certain liabilities) to meet their compliance obligations. The LGCs operate as offsets to energy use and GHG emissions.

Carbon capture and storage

Describe, in general terms, any policy on and regulation of carbon capture and storage.

There are currently few large-scale carbon capture and storage (CSS) projects in Australia. Planning and environment approvals may be required to construct or operate CCS projects.

Australia is involved in the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. The Forum is an international, ministerial-level climate change initiative for the development of improved and cost-effective technologies for CCS.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the above content is accurate.

19 August 2020.