The final elements of the transition to the new baseline setting arrangements, including the expiry of reported baselines, will be in place for the 2021-22 compliance period.
We encourage you to start your planning now. Options for setting baselines will be more limited for baselines commencing 1 July 2021.
Please be aware that:
Note: If you want to use site-specific emission intensities for some or all production variables in a calculated baseline you must apply by 1 November 2021.
The application form and annexures required to apply for a calculated baseline are available on the
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme forms and resources page.
Guidance is available to assist responsible emitters understand their obligations and the application and assurance requirements.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Clean Energy Regulator on
1300 553 542 or email
CER-SafeguardBaselines@cleanenergyregulator.gov.au if they have any questions about any aspect of the application process.
A calculated baseline allows a facility to obtain a baseline that reflects its current operations. It can be calculated using either prescribed production variables and default emissions intensities or facility-specific production variables and estimated emissions intensity values, or a combination, depending on the facility's circumstances, and when the application is made. The production variables and emissions intensities from a calculated baseline can then be used in production adjusted baselines.
Prescribed production variables (both annually adjusted and fixed) are listed in Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule 2015. More details on prescribed production variables can be found in the
Safeguard Mechanism: Prescribed production variables and default emissions intensity values document published on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resource's website.
Note: calculated baseline applications (other than those using the inherent emissions variability criteria), can only use facility-specific production variables and/or estimated emissions intensity values for baselines that commence on or before 1 July 2020.
A calculated baseline will remain in place for a standard three year period (unless the facility is defined as a 'large new facility', in which case the calculated baseline has a five year duration).
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, amendments were made in May 2020 to the Safeguard Rule. This included extending calculated baselines that ceased on 1 July 2019 by a year.
If a responsible emitter does not apply for a new baseline, a facility with a calculated or benchmark baseline that expires will revert to the default baseline emissions number of 100,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e), unless it has a previous a previous production adjusted baseline to revert to.
A responsible emitter may apply for a calculated baseline for a facility that meets one or more of the specified eligibility criteria:
Responsible emitters have previously been able to apply for a calculated baseline under two additional criteria (the initial calculated baseline criteria and the significant expansion criteria). The final date applications could be made for these criteria was 31 October 2017 (initial calculated baseline criteria) and 31 October 2018 (significant expansion criteria). See
sections 26 and 27 of the Rule for the initial calculated baseline criteria and significant expansion criteria respectively.
The transitional calculated baseline criteria ensure that all safeguard facilities have access to at least one calculated baseline. In particular, they ensure that facilities with reported baselines (ceasing on 1 July 2021) can transition to a calculated baseline. They also allow facilities with an existing calculated baseline to get an updated one.
An application for a calculated baseline under the transitional calculated baseline criteria can be submitted when covered emissions have exceeded, or are reasonably expected to exceed 100,000 t CO2-e in the any of the three years of the proposed calculated baseline period.
An application may only be made under these criteria for a second time if the second application uses one or more prescribed production variables not used in the first approved application. However, a facility will still be eligible under the transitional calculated baseline criteria if it has, or previously had, a calculated baseline under one of the other criteria.
An application under the transitional calculated baseline criteria must be accompanied by an independent audit report providing assurance of the forecast production and emissions intensity (if forecast) and that the criteria have been met.
section 26A of the Safeguard Rule for the full transitional calculated baseline criteria.
A responsible emitter may apply for a calculated baseline under the new facility criteria where a facility is new and doesn’t have an existing baseline.
An application for a calculated baseline under the new facility criteria can be submitted when covered emissions have exceeded, or are reasonably expected to exceed 100,000 t CO2-e in the first year of the calculated baseline.
If a reported baseline or a calculated baseline has previously been made in relation to the facility, the new facility criteria will not be met.
A calculated baseline made under the new facility criteria must commence no later than 1 July 2020. From 1 July 2021, new facilities will apply for a benchmark baseline.
An application under the new facility criteria must be accompanied by an independent audit report providing assurance of the forecast production and emissions intensity (if forecast) and that the new facility criteria have been met.
section 23 of the Safeguard Rule for the full new facility criteria.
Facilities in the natural resources sectors can apply to have their baselines increased to account for inherent emissions variability associated with the extraction of a natural resource or reserve, such as coal, oil or gas.
Some operations in the mining and oil and gas sectors can have highly variable emissions intensity, particularly the fugitive emissions associated with resource extraction. Further, resource grades are highly variable. Mines tend to move from higher to lower grade ores in the natural progression of operations, so that emissions may rise even while production remains constant.
To accommodate this variability, affected facilities can apply for a calculated baseline under the inherent emissions variability criteria. To be eligible under these criteria, a facility cannot have had more than one previous calculated baseline.
A calculated baseline made under the inherent emissions variability criteria must commence no later than 1 July 2024.
An application under the inherent emissions variability criteria must be accompanied by an independently audited report providing assurance of the forecast production and emissions intensity and that the inherent emissions variability criteria have been met.
These criteria can be complex and applicants are encouraged to review the
calculated baseline guidance and see
section 25 of the Rule for the full inherent emissions variability criteria.
Calculated baselines are set using an independently audited forecast of production and either the forecast emissions intensity or the default emissions intensity. The baseline is calculated by multiplying forecast production by the emissions intensity of that production (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent - t CO2-e) per unit of production).
At the end of any financial year within a calculated baseline period, a responsible emitter may be eligible to apply for a
production adjusted baseline.
An application for a calculated baseline must be completed by the
responsible emitter for the facility, using the form approved by the Clean Energy Regulator. If an application for a calculated baseline is made by a person other than the responsible emitter for the facility, the application will be invalid. The application must also be signed by an executive officer of the responsible emitter.
If the responsible emitter wishes to rely on data from the year with the highest level of the primary production variable to set the baseline, then they will need to make the application by the relevant deadline (as illustrated below).
All calculated baseline applications must be complete, and accompanied by an audit report that meets the requirements of section 28 of the Safeguard Rule before being submitted to the Clean Energy Regulator.
The Clean Energy Regulator will not accept incomplete applications and applicants will be notified accordingly.
Incomplete applications may be resubmitted once complete, however the date the application is taken to be received will be the date the
complete application is submitted, not the date the original incomplete application was submitted. This may have implications for the baseline setting year under section 27(1)(c) of the Rule.
The Clean Energy Regulator aims to provide adequate notice to applicants who submit an incomplete application to allow them to resubmit a complete application before an applicable deadline – but cannot guarantee this will be the case, especially for applications submitted close to the deadline. Responsible emitters are encouraged to contact the Clean Energy Regulator if they need assistance well before the applicable application deadline.
The application deadlines apply for all calculated baseline applications, regardless of which criteria the application is made under.
Please note that deadlines which fall on a weekend or public holiday may vary in accordance with the
Acts Interpretation Act 1901.
Note: This table does not cover the five year duration of calculated baselines for large new facilities.
The Clean Energy Regulator will take all reasonable steps to ensure a decision is made on an application within 60 days of a complete application being submitted.
submitting an application for a calculated baseline, it is recommended
that responsible emitters familiarise themselves with the Safeguard
Rule, specifically the calculated baseline eligibility criteria and
legislated application deadlines. Responsible emitters must also ensure all
documentation requirements including audit and assurance are completed prior to
submitting an application. For more information about the application
requirements see the calculated
baseline application guidance.
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