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Decoarbonisation of U.S. energy supply continues

on Friday, 06 February 2015.

A new report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, called the 2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, says that 2014 saw continuing decarbonisation and improvement in energy productivity in the US energy supply market.

The report highlights that 93% of all new US electric power production capacity constructed since 2000 has come from lower-carbon sources such as natural gas, wind, solar and other renewables; while coal power generation has remained flat over the last three years. This has made the US the world's second largest market behind China for new wind turbine construction, and the third-largest for new solar power installations behind China and Japan.

The report can be accessed here 2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook

Final surrender deadline for the carbon pricing mechanism

on Monday, 02 February 2015.

Today is the final deadline for all liable entities in the 2013-14 compliance year to surrender sufficient units to meet the balance of their liability under the carbon pricing mechanism. On its website, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) says, "The Clean Energy Regulator will notify liable entities which have incurred a shortfall, with payment due by Monday 9 February 2015. The Liable Entities Public Information Database will be updated with shortfall information on Friday 13 February 2015. The Clean Energy Regulator will continue to administer the legislation as required until all carbon price revenue has been collected."

New climate change projections for Australia

on Tuesday, 27 January 2015.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released climate change projections for Australia that provide updated national and regional information on how the climate may change to the end of the 21st century. The 2015 projections provide greater levels of detail and confidence compared to previous projections, and incorporate an increased knowledge base.

The key findings are that:-

  • Australia's average temperature will increase and we will experience more heat extremes and fewer cold extremes.
  • Extreme rainfall events that lead to flooding are likely to become more intense.
  • The number of tropical cyclones is projected to decrease but they may be more intense and reach further south.
  • Southern and eastern Australia is projected to experience harsher fire weather.
  • Sea levels will continue to rise throughout the 21st century and beyond.
  • Oceans around Australia will warm and become more acidic.

More information and a downloadable version of the full report can be found at www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au

Three new methods added to the Emissions Reduction Fund

on Thursday, 22 January 2015.

The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) who administers the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), has announced three new methods available to participants in the scheme. Applications for emissions reduction projects using these methods can now be made. For an introduction to how the ERF scheme works see the CCR primer here Emissions Reduction Fund (PDF)

The commercial buildings method allows for projects that reduce emissions associated with the consumption of electricity or fossil fuels at a commercial building and uses the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) energy ratings and tools to quantify emissions
reductions and energy savings from energy efficiency activities undertaken as part of an ERF project.

The alternative waste treatment method sets out the requirements for implementing and monitoring waste projects that avoid emissions by diverting waste from landfill to alternative waste treatment (AWT) facilities.

The landfill gas method also builds on existing landfill gas methods and provides an incentive to install a new landfill gas collection system, upgrade an existing system or recommence operation of a system at a site where one has existed before but not operated for some time.

Further information on the new methods, and the ERF in general, is available from the CER website Clean Energy Regulator - ERF

Australian researchers first to get 40% efficiency from a solar system

on Monday, 08 December 2014.

An Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funded program at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has been the first in the world to achieve a 40% conversion rate of solar radiation to electricity through a solar power system. The CEO of ARENA, Mr, Frischknecht said, "The clever solution combines advanced triple junction cells with cheaper conventional silicon cells to boost power output." The record-breaking technology was developed through collaboration between UNSW and local company, RayGen Resources. Mr Frischknecht believes that the breakthrough could have practical applications for concentrated solar power PV towers, where sunlight is reflected from a field of sun tracking mirrors towards a central receiver. More information can be found in the ARENA press release ARENA NEWS

Review of the Renewable Energy Target released

on Thursday, 28 August 2014.

The controversial review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) by a Government appointed review panel has completed, and the report has now been publicly released. It can be viewed on the Government website RET Report

Australian Institute of Energy conference to be held in Perth 27 & 28th August 2014

on Tuesday, 10 June 2014.

This year’s conference theme of ‘Energy Markets: Disruption, Transition and Transformation’ reflects the sector’s rapidly evolving business environment across Australia and the world. Organised by the Australian Institute of Energy and the Department of Finance, Public Utilities Office (Government of Western Australia), the highly popular conference is organised by local energy professionals for the broad energy industry. More information can be found at the AIE website http://www.energywa.org.au/index.html

Garnaut predicts declining coal consumption

on Thursday, 05 June 2014.

In an article in the Australian Journal of Mining http://www.theajmonline.com.au/mining_news/news/2014/june/june-5-2014/other-news/garnaut-sees-declining-chinese-coal-consumption Economist and China watcher Ross Garnaut predicts China’s coal consumption will fall at an average annual rate of 0.7% from now to 2020, compared to growth of nearly 13% a year from 2000 to 2011. He predicts the boom times are well and truly over for Australian coal miners, and that investment in new capacity since 2011 will see little in the way of returns. Having ridden the boom in coal demand from China and India for the previous decade, Australian coal interests are now dangerously exposed to international measures to reduce emissions in advance of the climate talks in Paris at the end of 2015 – see separate news item link. CCR can advise clients on the changing winds of Geopolitics, and the best approach to reduceing risk and exposure to their business.

The Australian public’s concern about climate change is increasing again

on Wednesday, 04 June 2014.

The ABC reports http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/06/04/4018585.htm that Australians are more concerned about climate change than they were last year, according to the latest Lowy Poll. For the last eight years the Lowy Institute Poll has asked people whether they agreed with the statement, “Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.” When the poll started back in 2006, 68% of people agreed with the statement, but this dropped to a low of 36% by 2012 as climate science was questioned and economic concerns took over. But since then it has been slowly rising to 40% in 2013 and 45% in 2014 and you can be sure that the Government will be watching the trend with interest. Businesses too should be aware that the renewed interest in climate change amongst Australians will have ramifications for setting corporate policies and stakeholder engagement, and CCR can advise on the best course of action to take.

Obama takes bold action to reduce emissions from U.S. power plants

on Monday, 02 June 2014.

Today President Obama announced a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power stations by 30% by 2030 over 2005 levels


His announcement was followed a day later by China announcing a nationwide cap on its carbon emissions from 2016 http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/6/4/carbon-markets/china-set-nation-wide-carbon-cap?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=780068&utm_campaign=cs_daily&modapt=

Many see this as the world’s two largest emitters of carbon positioning themselves with a strong hand going into the International climate talks in Paris at the end of next year. What’s certain is that it represents a major shift in International climate negotiations, as the two biggest players have announced strong action to limit their own emissions and will be sure to use this as a reason to put pressure on other countries like Australia to follow suit. In particular, as Australia’s modest emissions targets in the last round were qualified by a promise to do more if concerted action was forthcoming from others, we may see pressure on the Australian Government to embrace stronger targets and associated measures to achieve them over the next few years. Australian businesses would be wise to prepare for this, and CCR is well positioned to advise you on the ramifications.

2012-13 data added to the national Pollutant Inventory

on Tuesday, 27 May 2014.

The financial year 2012/13 NPI submissions were released publicly on the Department of the Environment website today allowing the public to access the NPI database by location, industry, company or substance. http://www.npi.gov.au/npi-data/search-npi-data

Rio Tinto Alcan to build Australia’s first renewable energy powered mine

on Thursday, 22 May 2014.

The Weipa bauxite mine, township and port in far north Queensland will be the first mine operation in Australia to adopt renewable energy on a commercial scale, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency reported http://arena.gov.au/media/australias-first-renewable-powered-mine-and-township/

Many of Australia's remote mining operations are fuelled by diesel generators that are expensive to run and subject to fuel price volatility, and the transport of diesel long distances can be costly and subject to unpredictable weather. Meanwhile, with the price of commercial solar systems coming down by about 60-70% over recent years, renewable energy has reached a point where it can compete with the cost of diesel generation in such sites.

The first stage of the project will consist of 1.7MW of PV which will contribute about 20% of the mine's peak daytime load. Due for completion in 2017, the second phase will add another 5MW of PV and storage to enable it to meet 100% of load at certain times during the day. Weipa currently has two diesel plants rated at 36MW.

The project received $3.5 million of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) under its Regional Australia's Renewables Program (see related news story link), in the hope that it will act as a catalyst to other mining companies to follow suit. CCR can assess the potential for renewable energy for your business, and also advise on the availability of funds through government programs.

CER invites comments on how Carbon Capture and Storage will be measured in NGER for the 2015/16 reporting year

on Friday, 16 May 2014.

The CER published today on its website a discussion of proposed methods for the estimation of emissions from carbon capture and storage (CCS) activity in NGER - http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/e5162516-12c1-496d-91f0-7a2527b2a863/files/consultation-draft-nger-measurement-amendment-determination-commentary.pdf . Submissions are invited from interested parties by 31st August 2014, but it is not intended that any future amendments arising from this process would apply until the 2015/16 NGER reporting year. CCR will be reviewing the proposals with any of its clients involved in CCS activities, and will advise them on their submissions.

NGER 2014/15 draft amendments open for consultation

on Friday, 16 May 2014.

Each year around the beginning of July the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) makes amendments to the rules governing NGER (known as the NGER Measurement Determination), which will come into force for the new reporting year. Before then the draft amendments are made available on their website for comments from interested parties. The draft amendments which will be applied to the 2014/15 reporting year are available for comment between 16th May to 2nd June 2014 here http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/national-greenhouse-and-energy-reporting

The proposed changes are:-

  • an update of scope 2 emissions factors that apply to the consumption of electricity - these factors require annual adjustments in line with actual dispatch decisions for Australia's electricity markets for the most recent financial year;
  • extension of a voluntary Method 4 for the estimation of fugitive emissions associated with coal seam gas to other sources of natural gas;
  • refinements to the voluntary Method 2 for the estimation of emissions from wastewater to reflect a new approach identified by the industry; and
  • refinements to the methods for the estimation of emissions from landfills.

Although the changes are minor in nature, CCR urges anyone that will be affected by them to take advantage of this opportunity to comment, and we will be contacting those of our clients affected to help them understand the ramifications, and make a submission if necessary.

Government closes the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) Program

on Wednesday, 14 May 2014.

The Energy Efficiency Opportunity program has been operating since 2006, covering 65% of Australia's energy use, with the objective of raising industry's awareness of the potential savings through energy efficiency activities. However, The Government has decided to close the EEO program with effect from 29th June 2014, and all compliance obligations will cease from that date, see https://eeo.govspace.gov.au/ One reason given by the Government for the closure is that companies are moving to incorporate energy efficiency into their normal business processes, such as by implementing an ISO 50001 Energy Management System. CCR are experienced in both EEO and ISO 50001 and can advise on ways of converting the work already done on EEO compliance into ISO 50001 accreditation, and the benefits this can deliver. There is also Government money available for energy efficiency projects under the new 'Emissions Reduction Fund' and CCR can advise you on how to unlock these funds.

Government announces plans to abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

on Tuesday, 13 May 2014.

Today the Australian Government has announced its intention to repeal the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011 and abolish ARENA, returning its functions to the Department of Industry and returning $1.3 billion to consolidated revenue - http://arena.gov.au/media/arena-2014-15-budget-statement/

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency was assigned $2.5 billion to fund renewable energy projects and research and development activities, of which close to $1 billion has already been allocated to a range of 181 projects. However, as of the 2014/15 federal Budget ARENA is to be abolished, and its responsibilities transferred to the Department of Industry together with a substantially reduced budget of $30 million. It is not clear what will happen to projects with agreed funding and already underway, but the outlook is definitely very bleak for any new awards. This will be a disappointment to a number of Western Australian resources companies, communities, and utilities, who were looking for ARENA to support renewable energy pilots to supplement diesel generation, through their 'Regional Australia's Renewables' program. See related news story link.

Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper Released

on Thursday, 24 April 2014.

Although the Government has committed to repealing the Carbon Tax, it still supports the target of reducing Australia's carbon emissions 5% by the year 2020, and has grouped a number of policies designed to achieve this under the name 'Direct Action'. These include the Renewable Energy Target, efficiency standards on appliances, equipment and buildings, and the centrepiece - The Emissions reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF white paper was released today, and the Government expects to launch the ERF as soon as it can repeal the Carbon Pricing Mechanism. It will operate as follows:-

  • Companies first identify opportunities to reduce their emissions below historical 'business as usual' levels, and calculate the cost and extent of the emissions reduction.
  • The Government will then select the lowest cost projects by means of a closed bid reverse auction process.
  • Successful projects can then secure project funding based on government payment guarantees and proceed to implementation.
  • When the emissions reductions are realised, the company is issued with the equivalent number of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which can be cashed in with the Government or sold into the private market.

The scheme will be administered by the Clean Energy Regulator, the same body currently operating the Carbon Pricing Mechanism, and will borrow extensively from the existing National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme and the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

As with any new scheme, the Government will be keen to show acceptance by industry and early results, while many companies will adopt a conservative wait and see approach. It is CCR's view that this presents a window of opportunity for proactive companies to take advantage of the relative lack of competition for funding in the early days. CCR can help you seize this opportunity by identifying relevant projects, and guiding you through the ERF process.

Senate rejects the carbon tax repeal bills

on Thursday, 20 March 2014.

The Carbon Tax, or The Carbon Pricing Mechanism as it is more correctly called, was a key issue during the federal election, and one of the priorities of the new government now they are in power is removing it. The Government wanted to repeal the Clean Energy Act 2011 by the 1st of July 2014 , although this requires the support of the Senate to do so, and today the Senate rejected it at its first reading. The Government will re-table the bills after the new senate sits on July 1st 2014 and it is more likely to garner the support it needs - see http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/repealing-carbon-tax In the meantime, companies will still need to report on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions via NGER for the financial year 2013/14, and as the law currently stands, will need to settle any carbon tax liabilities arising. CCR offers a full suite of NGER reporting services, from advice and audit of internal reports, to embedding our staff to work with your information and systems to collect the data required.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology launch State of the Climate 2014

on Tuesday, 04 March 2014.

The State of the Climate is a bi-annual roundup from two of Australia's most respected scientific bodies – CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology – of the past, current, and future climate we're experiencing in Australia. The latest and third report in the series was released at the beginning of 2014, and tries to stay away from the politically charged question of why the climate is changing, and instead sticks to the measurable facts about how it is changing. The full report is available on the Bureau of Meteorology website http://csiro.au/Outcomes/Climate/Understanding/State-of-the-Climate-2014.aspx but the summary is reproduced below:-

"Data and analysis from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO show further warming of the atmosphere and oceans in the Australian region, as is happening globally. This change is occurring against the background of high climate variability, but the signal is clear.

Air and ocean temperatures across Australia are now, on average, almost a degree Celsius warmer than they were in 1910, with most of the warming occurring since 1950. This warming has seen Australia experiencing more warm weather and extreme heat, and fewer cool extremes. There has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia.

Rainfall averaged across all of Australia has slightly increased since 1900. Since 1970, there have been large increases in annual rainfall in the northwest and decreases in the southwest. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990"

The message is clear - whether you believe climate change is due to human activity or natural variation, the climate in Australia is changing, and firms should understand the nature of those changes and the ramifications to their business. It doesn't all have to be negative, changes also present opportunities, and CCR can help your business identify both the risks and opportunities presented by climate change, and produce a plan to address them. Talk to us today.

2012-13 NGERS data publicly released

on Friday, 28 February 2014.

The Clean Energy Regulator has today released the 2012-13 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) data publication. It can be found at: http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/National-Greenhouse-and-Energy-Reporting/published-information/greenhouse-and-energy-information/Greenhouse-and-Energy-information-2012-2013/Pages/Default.aspx

The NGER data publication is released to provide information about greenhouse gas emissions, and energy production and energy use by corporate groups across Australia and provides a rich and valuable data set. Data reported under the NGER Scheme is a key input to Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. For the first time, the NGER data publication includes emissions and energy information for designated electricity generators, published at both aggregated and facility level, where that information has been made available. This information is intended to better inform the community on the performance of electricity generators and will play an important role in informing government and regulatory bodies, industry bodies and Australia's energy markets. CCR assists a number of companies across a wide range of sectors with their NGER reporting.

Government announces review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET)

on Monday, 17 February 2014.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) was originally launched by the Government in 2001 with a target of 9,500 GWh of electricity generation from renewable energy by 2020, and this was revised upwards to 45,000 GWh (or 20%) in 2009. Then in 2011 the RET was split into large scale (LRET) and small scale (SRES) components, and the target for the LRET adjusted to 41,000 GWh, with no target set for the SRES. Although the current Government has repeatedly voiced its support for the RET, it has appointed a review panel to report on the "operation, costs, and benefits" of the scheme by the middle of this year. The RET has been widely credited with growing both large scale and household renewable energy generation over the thirteen years of its existence, and any reduction in targets is expected to impact large scale renewable energy projects in the pipeline in particular. If you believe the review of the RET is likely to impact your business and you want to know more, contact us at CCR.

Energy White Paper process started

on Thursday, 05 December 2013.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane today kicked off the process that will produce a new framework for national energy and resources policy – an Energy White Paper to be published in September 2014. The first step is publication of the terms of reference today, followed closely by an Issues Paper later in December, and a Green paper by the middle of 2014. CCR urges its clients to participate in the consultation process of this important piece of legislation, which can be done via the Energy White Paper website http://ewp.industry.gov.au/

CCR welcomes a new member to its team

on Monday, 01 July 2013.

Andy Cutt has joined the CCR team, and brings with him a wealth of experience as a senior manager and project manager driving process and systems change across a variety of industries including IT, finance and the Marine industry. Most recently Andy completed an MSc in Energy at Murdoch University where he was trained in energy systems, energy efficiency, policy and regulations, greenhouse gas accounting and life cycle analysis. Andy has already hit the ground running and has contributed to a number of our client's EEO and NGER/NPI projects.