Opportunities emerge in carbon and energy
by Suzanne Orme
If one or more of your company’s facilities has some carbon and energy saving ideas that haven’t come to fruition, now is the time to firm up the program with quotes and calculations of CO2-e reduction potential. The 2015 financial year will offer smart companies the chance to benefit from new Federal Government rebates.
While support for renewable energy generation has waned under the Coalition Government, recently released draft legislation has some interesting features to note. Consistent with Canberra’s intention to commence the Direct Action Plan following repeal of the carbon tax sometime later this year, the government released the Emission Reduction Fund White Paper earlier in May.
Under this legislation a much wider range of people and businesses will be able to plan one or more emission reduction projects and enter into a contract to secure funding from the Federal government prior to implementation. The Clean Energy Regulator will have an expanded role to manage this process.
The new legislation builds upon the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) introduced under Labor, that provides for land based and certain waste sector projects. Reforesting and revegetating marginal lands, improving agricultural soils and managing savannah grassland fires will remain and there will be arrangements for existing CFI projects to transition over to the new scheme.
The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Bill 2014 outlines how to register projects, the methodologies, reporting, auditing and purchasing of Australian Carbon Credit Units.
Projects will need to be new and not required by law or unlikely to occur because of other state, territory of federal government funding. Methods will be approved by an independent Emission Reduction Assurance Committee setting out the rules for estimating reductions so they are both real and additional – that is, wouldn’t have occurred under “business as usual”. A menu of Emission Reduction methods will be released enabling the proponent to choose the method that best suits the project.
Of interest to many more businesses will be the inclusion of sector wide activities such as increased energy efficiency in homes, industrial facilities, commercial buildings, upgrading vehicles and improving transport logistics. Examples of more specific sector activities include reducing electricity generator emissions and capturing waste coal mine gas and the currently popular capture of landfill gas for generating energy. As reducing carbon emissions for many businesses focuses on cutting electricity and fossil fuels, the steep energy price hikes in recent years already give a strong incentive to implement energy conservation measures. After all cheapest watt is the “negawatt” – the one you haven’t had to buy.
But where the cost-benefit ratio or ROI of a new initiative is considered borderline, a firm contract for the purchase of ACCU’s can be used to obtain secure finance from banks and other financial institutions.
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