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Compliance Update – 1 October to 31 December 2020

25 March 2021

Our compliance updates keep you informed of activities related to our Compliance and Enforcement Priorities and other important information to help you comply with our schemes.

Emissions-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) entities – Due date reminder and new online support!

Applications for 2021 EITE exemption certificates were open for submissions from 1 August 2020. In order to be considered for an exemption amount this year, complete applications must be submitted by 30 March 2021.

To assist with the submission of a complete and accurate application in line with the electricity use method, you must ensure that:

  • only one prescribed person is applying per site and under the correct prescribed person category
  • you are applying for an eligible EITE activity
  • that you select the appropriate electricity retailer
  • you provide an audit report if your site consumption is expected to exceed 15,000 MWh
  • all supplementary documentation is provided to support your application and use amount formula.

Participants may be requested to justify any discrepancies in their application. Failure to respond in a timely manner will result in your application being determined to be incomplete and at risk of being ineligible for any certifiable exemption.

We have enhanced our suite of online support materials and a series of webinars were held to educate all stakeholder groups involved in the EITE process. This will ensure that participants understand their obligations and the level of exemption they may be entitled to.

Ensuring audits are appropriately targeted

We recently published guidance that provides greenhouse and energy auditors with an improved understanding of the higher risk areas across all our schemes. Examples of high-risk areas include vegetation classification and mapping in land-based Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) projects, and production variables for Safeguard entities.

Scheme participants are encouraged to read this guidance and to expect close scrutiny from greenhouse and energy auditors against these areas of risk.

Further strengthening Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) integrity

During November 2020, we announced a new solar panel serial number ledger capability to support our assessment of small-scale technology certificate (STC) claim eligibility; and we will be finalising consultation with stakeholders this month. We look forward to implementing our new ledger early this year to enhance our regulatory framework and assist in preventing ineligible solar panels receiving Commonwealth incentives under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), whilst complimenting the Solar Panel Validation (SPV) Initiative.

Targeting Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installers making false written statements of STC eligibility

We are ramping up a major task force to target installers who provide false information about solar PV installations to registered agents who then create STCs. Accredited installers must be onsite supervising the installation at least at the start, middle and end for it to be eligible for the Commonwealth STC entitlement.

Together with the CEC, we are refining and automating our analytic methodologies to identify installers unlikely to have been on site in accordance with CEC requirements. Where necessary, we have investigative avenues, such as statutory notices, to confirm whether accredited installers were on site during the installation.

Installers that continue to make false statements will get caught and face the consequences; including criminal prosecution, civil court proceedings, loss of their CEC accreditation, as well as the potential loss of their electrical licence. Registered agents who fail to follow Clean Energy Regulator installation requirements and adequately check the information given to them by installers are also liable for criminal, civil or administrative sanction.

Record numbers of registered NGER Reporters and reports submitted before the deadline

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) reports for the 2019–20 reporting period were due for submission in the Emissions and Energy Reporting System (EERS) by 2 November 2020. This year we had a record number of registered NGER reporters, as well as the highest rate of reports submitted in EERS before the deadline.

Two out of 911 reporters failed to report on time, however have since done so. They were both first time offenders. If they fail to report on time next year, they face an escalated compliance response.

We are assessing 2019–20 NGER reports in line with our compliance priorities. Reporters with ongoing compliance issues may face actions including compulsory audits, enforceable undertakings and penalty infringement notices.

The 2019–20 NGER data is now available on our website. The 2020–21 publication will be accompanied by the Corporate Emissions Reduction Transparency (CERT) report – a simple ledger that NGER reporters can reference to support their claims of climate action and ambition. The CERT will show any eligible units and certificates surrendered against reported emissions and energy. The agency has conducted a consultation for CERT.

ERF – Ensuring reporting requirements are met

During the quarter, we have been investigating the accuracy of waste tonnages reported for landfill gas projects as identified through audits, as a possible source of over crediting.

Scheme participants who believe they have inaccurate waste tonnage reported in their projects should contact us to resolve the issue.

Enforceable undertakings

During the period 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020, no new enforceable undertakings were entered into (see all Current enforceable undertakings). However, we are currently investigating what we allege is non-compliance with some enforceable undertakings and expect to take stronger enforcement action as a result of parties not meeting their undertakings to us.

If you have information on potential fraudulent or non-compliant behaviour, report it today.

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