Australia Launches System for Renewable Energy Certificates

A new renewable energy market has been launched across Australia, and the country claims it now leads the world in this renewables market.

CANBERRA, ACT, Australia, 2001-04-02 <SolarAccess.com> “Under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, renewable energy generated from accredited power stations will be eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates,” says the Renewable Energy Regulator, David Rossiter. “Australia is the first country in the world to create a national renewable energy market using tradeable certificates.” The new market will ensure that 9,500 GWh of additional renewable energy is generated each year by 2010, which represents a 60 percent increase above 1997 levels of generation from renewable energy facilities. That amount of electricity is sufficient for the residential needs of four million people. “RECs are a new form of ‘currency’ used to demonstrate compliance with the government’s new mandatory renewable energy targets,” explains Rossiter. “Additional renewable electricity generation will now be directly rewarded for the environmental benefits of using renewable fuel sources.” Solar thermal water heaters, as well as electricity generated from solar photovoltaic, wind and hydro sites, will be eligible under the new Act if they are installed after April 1. “The Act is the advent of a new way of thinking about electricity,” he adds. “It places a separate value on the environmental quality associated with the method of generation of the electricity.” Renewable energy generators can apply for accreditation from the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator to take advantage of the new system. Under the legislation, wholesale electricity purchases must comply with the reporting requirements for this year by next February. The target for renewable energy in Australia is 9,500 GWh per year by 2010. The Act that supports the implementation of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target was passed by Parliament last December, and the measure forms part of a comprehensive program of activities undertaken by government to address greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. The Act is the first legislated measure under the government’s program and is expected to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 7 million tonnes in 2010. Wholesale energy purchasers must purchase increasing amounts of electricity generated from renewable sources, starting April 1. To prove compliance, generators must surrender Renewable Energy Certificates to the Renewable Energy Regulator. A Certificate can be created for every megawatt hour of electricity generated from a new eligible renewable energy source, and the certificates can be traded through a market separate to the market for physical energy. The REC Registry is available on the internet and the site provides access to all of the public registries required under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2001. The site also provides private access for parties that want to create, transfer or surrender RECs through the registry. Rossiter was appointed as the Renewable Energy Regulator by the Minister for the Environment & Heritage, and is responsible for the administration of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target for the next five years.

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