Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 in its latest version as of 10 March 2016, also called “Act for the establishment and administration of a scheme to encourage additional electricity generation from renewable energy sources, and for related purposes”, aims to:

  •        “encourage the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources; 
  •        reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector; and
  •        ensure that renewable energy sources are ecologically sustainable” (Art 3).

These objectives are to be reached through issuing of certificates for the generation of electricity, with two types of renewable energy certificates:

  • large?scale generation certificates, created in relation to the generation of electricity by accredited power stations; and
  • small?scale technology certificates, created in relation to the installation of solar water heaters and small generation units (Art 17B).

The certificates can only be issued for eligible renewable energy sources, including hydro, wave, tide, ocean, wind, solar, geothermal?aquifer, hot dry rock, energy crops, wood waste, agricultural waste, waste from processing of agricultural products, food waste, food processing waste, bagasse, black liquor, biomass?based components of municipal solid waste, landfill gas, sewage gas and biomass?based components of sewage, and any other energy source prescribed by the regulations. (Art 17).
Certain purchasers (called liable entities) are required to surrender a specified number of certificates for the electricity that they acquire during a year.
Liable entity is defined as “a person who, during a year, makes a relevant acquisition (wholesale acquisition or wholesale notional acquisition – author’s note) of electricity” (Art 35). Exemption applies if:

  1. “the electricity was delivered on a grid that has a capacity that is less than 100 MW and that is not, directly or indirectly, connected to a grid that has a capacity of 100 MW or more; or
  2.  the end user of the electricity generated the electricity and either of the following conditions are satisfied: (i)  the point at which the electricity is generated is less than 1 km from the point at which the electricity is used; (ii)  the electricity is transmitted or distributed between the point of generation and the point of use and the line on which the electricity is transmitted or distributed is used solely for the transmission or distribution of electricity between those 2 points” (Art 31).

Where a liable entity does not have enough certificates to surrender in a year, it will have to pay renewable energy shortfall charge. There are 2 types of renewable energy shortfall charge:

  1. “large?scale generation shortfall charge, which is calculated by reference to a liable entity’s relevant acquisitions of electricity, its exemptions, the number of large?scale generation certificates it surrenders and the renewable energy power percentage; and
  2. small?scale technology shortfall charge, which is calculated by reference to a liable entity’s relevant acquisitions of electricity, its exemptions, the number of small?scale technology certificates it surrenders and the small?scale technology percentage” (Art 34A).

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