There are numerous laws and initiatives that govern renewable energy use at a global, federal, state and territory level. Find out how GreenPower relates to the most relevant of these.
The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is an environmental accord that nearly every nation signed up to in 2015. Its purpose is to address climate change and its negative impacts. The Agreement aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels or less.
All major emitting countries, including Australia, agreed to cut their emissions and to increase their commitments over time. The Agreement also creates a framework for the transparent monitoring, reporting, and ratcheting up of countries’ individual and collective climate goals.
GreenPower provides a way for Australian consumers and businesses to help us meet our national commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The Federal Renewable Energy Target (RET)
The Commonwealth Government has committed to ensuring renewables make up 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation by 2020. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme was set up to encourage additional generation of electricity from renewable energy sources.
Under RET legislation, wholesale purchasers of electricity are legally required to contribute 33,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy per year until 2030.
The legislation also sets the framework for both the supply and demand of renewable energy certificates (RECs), which show where and when renewable energy has been generated by eligible generators and fed into the grid.
The RET is split into two parts, the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). Certificates created under the LRET are called Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) whilst those created under the SRES are called Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).
Only LGCs are accepted within the GreenPower program, and only those LGCs generated by accredited GreenPower generators.
What’s the difference between the RET and GreenPower?
The RET and the National GreenPower Accreditation Program have similar objectives - to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generation sector and drive investment in renewable energy projects.
What’s different is that the RET is a federal government mandatory requirement; while GreenPower relies on voluntary participation by consumers. While LGCs can be used for the RET, an LGC cannot be used for the RET and for GreenPower. Therefore, when consumers purchase LGCs specifically to meet their GreenPower requirements the electricity supplier is not allowed to use those purchases to meet their RET obligations. This way, double counting of LGCs is avoided and GreenPower purchases go above and beyond what is mandated under the RET.
Future mandatory energy targets
If the government introduces other energy targets like the RET, GreenPower will remain additional to those schemes – in other words, GreenPower Providers won’t be allowed to use energy purchased under GreenPower to meet mandatory obligations.
Climate Active (formerly the National Carbon Offset Standard)
Businesses can claim to be carbon neutral when they achieve net zero emissions by reducing their direct emissions, reduce their energy use and waste, and purchase carbon offset certificates for the remainder.
Climate Active certification for organisations is a voluntary certification for businesses that have achieved net zero emmissions. It provides guidance on how to measure, reduce, offset, report and audit emissions that occur as a result of the operations of an organisation. The Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to better understand and manage carbon emissions, to credibly claim carbon neutrality and to seek carbon neutral certification.
Under Climate Active, GreenPower purchases are treated as a zero-emissions electricity source.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System (NGERS)
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (the NGER Act) introduced a national framework for the reporting and dissemination of information about greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gas projects, and energy use and production of corporations.
The objectives of the NGER Act are to inform government policy and the Australian public; help meet Australia’s international reporting obligations; assist Commonwealth, state and territory government programs and activities; avoid the duplication of similar reporting requirements in the states and territories; and underpin the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.
Corporations that meet an NGER threshold must report their greenhouse gas emissions; energy production; energy consumption; and other information specified under NGER legislation.
GreenPower purchases may be included in NGERS reporting as a voluntary measure, but they are not considered in actual emission calculations for liable parties under NGERS - so they go above and beyond what’s required under NGERS.