Manage your NGER reporting obligations, not your anger. Reporting obligations under the NGER scheme may apply to renewable generators.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) (the “NGER Act”) establishes the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (the “NGER Scheme”). The NGER Scheme is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator.
Operation of the NGER Scheme
The NGER Scheme imposes reporting obligations in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and energy consumption. The perception in sections of the renewable energy industry is that these reporting obligations only apply to conventional power plants, however this is not the case.
Energy generation and the consumption of auxiliary power must be reported for renewable generators even if there are no greenhouse gas emissions. NGER reporting obligations can be triggered when certain thresholds in relation to either a single facility or in relation to a corporate group are met.
Single facility threshold
The single facility threshold is met if the single facility meets any of one of the three thresholds below:
Two examples show the practical impact of the NGER Scheme for single facilities:
We assume a solar farm with a capacity of 20 MWpeak capacity and a specific yield of 1,700 kWh/kWpeak/a. In this example, the energy production equates to 34.0 GWh per year or 122.4 terajoules per year. This solar farm would meet the energy production threshold and the reporting obligations would be triggered.
The community-owned Hepburn Wind with 2 turbines has a total installed capacity of 4.1 MW and reports a capacity factor of 32 per cent. On this basis, we calculate that energy production equates to approximately 11.493 GWh per year or 41.38 terajoules. Hepburn Wind falls short of the single facility threshold and has no reporting obligations.
Corporate group threshold
Even where an individual renewable generator does not meet the single facility threshold, the NGER Scheme might capture the production of energy if the individual renewable generator is held as part of a group that meets the corporate group threshold.
The corporate group threshold is met if the facilities of a “controlling corporation” taken together meet any one of the three corporate group thresholds:
Alternatively, if there is an individual group member that meets the single facility threshold, all other facilities of the group of the controlling corporation are also caught by the reporting obligations, even if those other facilities do not meet the single facility threshold.
Manage your NGER
NGER reporting obligations must be identified and require compliance, but they do not prevent the development of renewable generators. No need for Jack Nicholson to intervene, just some legal or compliance advice to deal with the finer detail.