20 Aug 2012

Issues Paper for Renewable Energy Target Scheme review asks probing questions

The first review by the Climate Change Authority of Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme is now underway, with the release today of the Climate Change Authority's Renewable Energy Target Review Issues Paper.

As we noted earlier this month, the review is asking some fundamental questions about the RET Scheme's operation, including whether a fixed GWh target is appropriate, and whether the RET Scheme is needed at all now that the carbon pricing mechanism is law.

Comments are due by 14 September 2012.

Key questions on the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET)

The Issues Paper poses a large number of questions on the LRET, including:

  • Are the existing 41,000 GWh LRET 2020 target and the interim annual targets appropriate?
  • In the context of other climate and renewable policies, is there a case for the target to continue to rise after 2020?
  • Should the target be a fixed GWh target or a capacity percentage target?
  • Should the target be revised to reflect changes in energy forecasts? And if so, how?
  • Is the approach to calculating individual liability (including the level of the shortfall charge) appropriate?
  • What are the costs and benefits of the current exemption arrangements? Are they appropriate?
  • What, if any, changes to the current exemption arrangements should be made?
  • Should additional renewable sources be included, or is the current list adequate?
  • Should waste coal mine gas be included in the RET? Should new waste coal mine gas capacity be included in the RET?
  • Should the RET be designed to promote greater diversity in renewable energy sources, or should this be addressed by existing barriers to uptake and other existing means?

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)

The Issues Paper asks whether there should still be a separate scheme for small-scale technologies, and, if so, whether it should be uncapped.

It also seeks comments on the scope of the Scheme (including whether it should cover new or displacement technologies), the calculations used, the role of multipliers, and the operation of the Small-scale Technology Certificate Clearing House.

What happens now with the review of the RET Scheme?

Comments on the RET Scheme Issues Paper are due by 14 September 2012.

A discussion paper will then be issued in October 2012, and the final report released in December 2012.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.