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A Bill for an Act to amend the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to support the greater commercialisation of renewable energy technologies, and for related purposes
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Registered 12 Nov 2008
Introduced Senate 10 Nov 2008

 

2008

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Bill 2008

 

No.      , 2008

 

(Senator Milne)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to support the greater commercialisation of renewable energy technologies, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................ 1

2............ Commencement.................................................................................. 1

3............ Schedule(s).......................................................................................... 2

4............ Object................................................................................................. 2

5............ Review of operation of Act................................................................ 2

Schedule 1—Amendment of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000              4


A Bill for an Act to amend the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to support the greater commercialisation of renewable energy technologies, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

 

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Act 2008.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences 28 days after the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3  Schedule(s)

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

4  Object

                   The object of this Act is to support the commercialisation of a broad range of prospective renewable energy technologies by:

                     (a)  providing specifically tailored support for a range of renewable energy technologies that are currently not adequately assisted by the mandatory renewable energy target;

                     (b)  requiring electricity distributors to permit owners of both small and large scale qualifying generators to supply the electricity grid with electricity generated from selected renewable energy sources;

                     (c)  providing a payment or a rebate to owners of qualifying generators after the commencement of this Act for the renewable electricity which they produce after the commencement of this Act from renewable energy sources;

                     (d)  establishing an effective regime to monitor the extent of production of renewable electricity by owners of qualifying generators.

5  Review of operation of Act

             (1)  The Minister must cause to be prepared an independent report on the operation of the amendments made by this Act for the period beginning on the date of its commencement and ending on the next 30 June after date, and for each subsequent 12 month period ending on 30 June in a later year.

             (2)  If the day on which this Act commences is on or after 1 January in a year, the report prepared under subsection (1) in relation to the period from that day to 30 June in that year must be included in and presented with the report prepared under subsection (1) for the year beginning on 1 July next following the commencement of this Act.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of a report prepared under subsection (1) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 5 sitting days of that House after the day on which he or she receives the report.

             (4)  A report prepared under subsection (1) must include:

                     (a)  details of total renewable energy produced from each source listed in section 17 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000; and

                     (b)  total payments made under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in accordance with section 34J of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000; and

                     (c)  total amounts of feed‑in‑tariff levies received under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Feed‑in‑Tariff Levy Act 2008.


 

Schedule 1Amendment of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000

 

1  Paragraph 17(1)(j)

Repeal the paragraph.

2  After Part 3

Insert:

Part 3A—Acquisition of electricity from owners of qualifying generators

 

34A  Object of Part

                   The object of this Part is to support the commercialisation of a broad range of prospective renewable energy technologies by:

                     (a)  providing specifically tailored support for a range of renewable energy technologies that are currently not adequately assisted by the mandatory renewable energy target;

                     (b)  requiring electricity distributors to permit owners of both small and large scale qualifying generators to supply the electricity grid with electricity generated from selected renewable energy sources;

                     (c)  providing a payment or a rebate to owners of qualifying generators after the commencement of this Part for the renewable electricity which they produce after the commencement of this Part from renewable energy sources;

                     (d)  establishing an effective regime to monitor the extent of production of renewable electricity by owners of qualifying generators.

34B  Definitions

                   In this Part:

direct customer means a person or company who:

                     (a)  is directly connected to an electricity distribution network other than by means of the distribution system of the electricity retailer; and

                     (b)  satisfies other criteria (if any) prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

electricity distributor means:

                     (a)  a company or other entity licensed for the distribution of electricity through an electricity network; and

                     (b)  in relation to an electricity connection service for premises—a company or other entity licensed to provide the service for the premises.

electricity retailer means a company or other entity that supplies electricity to customers.

excluded network means an electricity distribution network that supplies electricity to less than 10,000 retail customers.

feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme means the scheme established by section 34F.

kWh means kilowatt hour.

qualifying generator means a renewable energy electricity generator:

                     (a)  that complies with the relevant Australian Standard; and

                     (b)  that is connected to an electricity distribution network in a manner that allows electricity generated by the renewable energy electricity generator to be fed into the electricity distribution network, other than where the electricity distribution network is an excluded network; and

                     (c)  that generates electricity from a source listed in section 17 as an eligible renewable energy source; and

                     (d)  that forgoes participation in the mandatory renewable energy target scheme; and

                     (e)  for which an application for registration has been made in accordance with section 34D after the commencement of the Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Act 2008.

quarter means a period of 3 months commencing on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October of a year.

quarterly return means a return for a period of 3 months commencing on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October of a year.

retail customer means a customer who:

                     (a)  ordinarily acquires electricity primarily for domestic or business use; and

                     (b)  is not a direct customer; and

                     (c)  satisfies other criteria (if any) prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

34C  Feeding‑in of electricity to grid by owners of qualifying generators

             (1)  Electricity distributors must, subject to compliance by the owner of a qualifying generator with any relevant technical, safety or other requirements imposed by or under this or any other Act or relevant instrument, connect the qualifying generator to the grid and permit the owner to feed into the grid electricity generated by the qualifying generator.

             (2)  Electricity retailers must:

                     (a)  purchase, on application in the prescribed form by an owner of a qualifying generator connected to the grid in accordance with subsection (1), any electricity fed into the grid by that qualifying generator; and

                     (b)  comply with any reporting requirements in this Act or that are prescribed in the regulations.

             (3)  Payment for electricity purchased by an electricity retailer under paragraph (2)(a) is to be made in accordance with section 34J or 34K, as the case may be.

             (4)  An owner of a qualifying generator who feeds into the grid in accordance with subsection (1) must install a meter, of a type prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection, to measure the total amount of renewable electricity energy generated by the qualifying generator.

34D  Registration of qualifying generators

                   The owner of a qualifying generator must apply in the prescribed form for registration of the qualifying generator in the Feed‑in‑Tariff Register established under section 34I.

34E  Eligibility for payment or rebate of feed‑in‑tariff rate

             (1)  The owner of a qualifying generator who feeds into the grid electricity generated by the qualifying generator is eligible to receive payments or rebates of the feed‑in‑tariff rate in accordance with section 34J or 34K, as the case may be, subject to:

                     (a)  registration of the qualifying register under section 34D; and

                     (b)  compliance with any relevant technical, safety or other requirements imposed by or under this or any other Act or relevant instrument.

             (2)  If a qualifying generator has been registered under section 34D and included in the Feed‑in‑Tariff Register established under section 34I and there is a change to the installed capacity of that qualifying generator, the owner of the qualifying generator must advise the Regulator, in the prescribed form, of the new installed capacity of the qualifying generator.

34F  Feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme

             (1)  The feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme is established by this section.

             (2)  The feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme is the payment under section 34J or the rebate under section 34K of an amount to the owner of a qualifying generator that is registered with the Regulator, calculated by reference to:

                     (a)  the relevant feed‑in‑tariff rate set by the Minister under section 34G; and

                     (b)  all the electricity produced by that qualifying generator, not just the electricity which is fed into the electricity grid.

34G  Feed‑in‑tariff rates

             (1)  The Minister must, within 28 days of the commencement of the Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Act 2008, set the feed‑in‑tariff rates for qualifying generators that are to be paid or rebated under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in respect of a qualifying generator that is registered for the first time during the financial year in which that Act commences.

             (2)  The Minister must, by the end of each financial year:

                     (a)  review the current feed‑in‑tariff rates for qualifying generators, taking into account the following factors:

                              (i)  the prospect of the technology reliably producing competitively priced electricity by the end of the calendar year 2020; and

                             (ii)  the environmental cost or impact of the technology; and

                     (b)  set the feed‑in‑tariff rates for qualifying generators that are to be paid or rebated under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in respect of a qualifying generator that is registered for the first time during the following financial year.

             (3)  In setting the feed‑in‑tariff rates in accordance with subsection (1) or (2), the Minister may take into account:

                     (a)  any Commonwealth, State or Territory government payments or rebates already made or received in respect of a qualifying generator; and

                     (b)  the type of renewable energy technology used by the qualifying generator; and

                     (c)  the location of a qualifying generator; and

                     (d)  the installed capacity of a qualifying generator.

             (4)  If the Minister has set the feed‑in‑tariff rates that are to apply for a financial year, the Minister must not vary those rates during that financial year.

             (5)  In setting the feed‑in‑tariff rates in accordance with subsection (2) that are to apply for the following financial year, the Minister may increase, vis‑à‑vis the current financial year feed‑in‑tariff rates, a feed‑in‑tariff rate that is to apply during that following financial year.

             (6)  Subject to section 34E, the relevant feed‑in‑tariff rate is payable or rebateable to an owner of a qualifying generator for each kWh of electricity generated by the qualifying generator during a billing period.

             (7)  In setting the feed‑in‑tariff rates in accordance with subsection (1) or (2), the primary objective of the Minister is to support the economic viability of a range of prospective renewable energy technologies.

             (8)  If the Minister reduces a feed‑in‑tariff rate, the reduction must not be more than 5 per cent of the rate that applied before the reduction.

             (9)  A feed‑in‑tariff rate set under subsection (1) or (2) and payable or rebateable to the owner of a qualifying generator at the date of the registration of the qualifying generator is fixed and guaranteed for a period of 20 years from the date of that registration. That period of 20 years does not restart if the installed capacity of that qualifying generator is increased at any time.

           (10)  The Minister must provide a statement explaining how the feed‑in‑tariff rates are calculated and must table that statement in both Houses of Parliament within 15 sitting days after the end of each financial year.

           (11)  The feed‑in‑tariff rates set under subsections (1) and (2) are legislative instruments for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

34H  Feed‑in‑tariff levy rate

             (1)  The Minister must, within 28 days of the commencement of the Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Act 2008, set the feed‑in‑tariff levy rate per MWh of electricity acquired from the electricity grid, to fund payments under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in section 34H for that financial year. The feed‑in‑tariff levy is imposed by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Feed‑in‑Tariff Levy Act 2008.

             (2)  The Minister must, by the end of each financial year, set a feed‑in‑tariff levy rate per MWh of electricity acquired from the electricity grid, to fund payments under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in section 34H for the following financial year. The feed‑in‑tariff levy is imposed by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Feed‑in‑Tariff Levy Act 2008.

             (3)  The Minister must ensure that the feed‑in‑tariff levy rate set in accordance with subsection (1) or (2) is sufficient to cover the estimated cost of payments under the feed‑in‑tariff rate scheme in accordance with section 34J.

             (4)  The feed‑in‑tariff levy is payable by all electricity retailers and direct customers, calculated by reference to the amount of electricity acquired by an electricity retailer or a direct customer, as the case may be, as set out in its annual energy acquisition statement lodged under section 44.

Note:          The annual energy acquisition statement is used to calculate the renewable energy shortfall charge of an electricity retailer or a direct customer (a liable entity). The same statement is to be used to calculate the amount of the feed‑in‑tariff levy.

             (5)  The Minister must provide a statement explaining how the feed‑in‑tariff levy rate is calculated and must table that statement in both Houses of Parliament within 5 sitting days after:

                     (a)  in the case of the levy rate set under subsection (1)—setting the rate; or

                     (b)  in the case of a levy rate set under subsection (2)—the end of each preceding financial year.

             (6)  The feed‑in‑tariff levy rates set under subsections (1) and (2) are legislative instruments for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

34I  Establishment of a Feed‑in‑Tariff Register

             (1)  The Regulator must establish a register to be known as the Feed‑in‑Tariff Register (the Register).

             (2)  The Regulator must record in the Register:

                     (a)  details of all qualifying generators for which an application for registration has been made in accordance with section 34D, including the name and address of the owner of the qualifying generator, the date of registration of the qualifying generator, the type of renewable energy technology used by the qualifying generator and the installed capacity of the qualifying generator; and

                     (b)  in the case of a qualifying generator with an installed capacity equal to or greater than 1MW, the total amount of electricity produced each quarter by that qualifying generator, as notified in the quarterly return lodged under subsection 34J(1); and

                     (c)  the feed‑in‑tariff rate to be paid to the owner of a qualifying generator and the period for which the feed‑in‑tariff rate will be paid; and

                     (d)  if there is any change to the installed capacity of a qualifying generator, the new installed capacity of the qualifying generator.

             (3)  The Regulator must provide details of the amount of total payments made under the feed‑in‑tariff scheme under subsection 34J(2) for inclusion in the report prepared in accordance with subsection 5(1) of the Renewable Energy Amendment (Feed‑in‑Tariff for Electricity) Act 2008.

34J  Feed‑in‑tariff rate payments—installed capacity equal to or greater than 1MW

             (1)  The owner of a qualifying generator with an installed capacity equal to or greater than 1MW must lodge with the Regulator within 15 days after the end of each quarter that ends after the date of registration of the qualifying generator a quarterly return in the prescribed form indicating the metered electricity produced by the qualifying generator in respect of that quarter.

             (2)  The Regulator must make a payment, calculated in accordance with the feed‑in‑tariff rate, to the owner of a qualifying generator within 30 days of receiving from the owner a quarterly return under subsection (1).

             (3)  Payments in accordance with subsection (2) are to be made from money appropriated by the Parliament for that purpose.

34K  Feed‑in‑tariff rate rebates—installed capacity less than 1MW

             (1)  The owner of a qualifying generator with an installed capacity less than 1MW is entitled to payment for electricity purchased by an electricity retailer under paragraph 34C(2)(a), in the form of a rebate against charges payable by the owner for the supply of electricity by the electricity retailer to the owner.

             (2)  An electricity retailer must read a meter installed under subsection 34C(4) by the owner of a qualifying generator at the same time as the electricity retailer reads the meter for the supply of electricity to the owner.

             (3)  The rebate under subsection (1) must be calculated in accordance with the feed‑in‑tariff rate, and credited to the account of the owner of the qualifying generator for a billing period on the same day as any charge for the supply of electricity is debited against the account for the billing period and before the account for the billing period is sent to the owner of the qualifying generator.

             (4)  If the whole of an amount to be credited to the owner of a qualifying generator under subsection (3) in a particular billing period has not been set‑off against the charges payable by the owner for the supply of electricity by the expiration of 12 months after the end of that billing period, the owner is entitled to the payment of the outstanding balance.