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Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000

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1998-1999-2000

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000

 

 

SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO WHICH THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS DISAGREED

 

(1)     AG (1) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

Clause 3, page 2 (lines 5 and 6), omit the first paragraph of the object/outline, substitute:

                   The objects of this Act are:

                     (a)  to encourage the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources; and

                     (b)  to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases; and

                     (c)  to ensure that renewable energy sources are ecologically sustainable.

(2)     AG (1A) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Clause 5, page 3 (after line 22), after the definition of document , insert:

ecologically sustainable means that an action is consistent with the following principles:

                     (a)  it enhances individual and community well-being and welfare by following a path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations; and

                     (b)  it provides for equity within and between generations; and

                     (c)  it protects biological diversity and maintains essential processes and life-support systems; and

                     (d)  it does not rely on lack of full scientific certainty as a reason for postponing use of a measure to prevent damage to the environment where there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage.



 

(5)     AG (2) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Clause 13, page 10 (after line 10), after paragraph (b), insert:

                   (ba)  list:

                              (i)  the eligible renewable power sources from which power is intended to be generated; and

                             (ii)  the estimated average annual output of each source listed under subparagraph (i); and

(6)     AG (2A) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Clause 13, page 10 (after line 15), at the end of the clause, add:

             (3)  The Regulator must enter details of the application on the register of applications for accredited power stations.

(7)     Dem (2) [Sheet 1891 Revised] ( As amended by AG )

          Clause 17, page 11 (lines 21 to 25), omit the clause, substitute:

17  What is an eligible renewable energy source ?

             (1)  The following energy sources are eligible renewable energy sources :

                     (a)  hydro;

                     (b)  wind;

                     (c)  solar;

                     (d)  bagasse co-generation;

                     (e)  black liquor;

                      (f)  wood waste;

                     (g)  energy crops;

                     (h)  crop waste;

                      (i)  food and agricultural wet waste;

                      (j)  landfill gas;

                     (k)  municipal solid waste combustion;

                      (l)  sewage gas;

                    (m)  geothermal-aquifer;

                     (n)  tidal;

                     (o)  photovoltaic and photovoltaic Renewable Stand Alone Power Supply systems;

                     (p)  wind and wind hybrid Renewable Stand Alone Power Supply systems;

                     (q)  micro hydro Renewable Stand Alone Power Supply systems;

                      (r)  solar hot water.

             (2)  The following energy sources are not eligible renewable energy sources:

                     (a)  fossil fuels;

                     (b)  waste products derived from fossil fuels.

             (3)  The regulations may prescribe any matter necessary or convenient to give effect to this section.

 (17)  AG (10) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Clause 135, page 80 (line 8), at the end of the clause, add:

                   ; (d)  the register of applications for accredited power stations.

(18)   Dem (1) [Sheet 1941]

          Clause 140, page 83 (after line 9), after paragraph (d), insert:

                   (da)  the eligible renewable energy source or sources of the electricity covered by the certificate; and

(19)   Dem (2) [Sheet 1941]

          Clause 141, page 83 (after line 14), at the end of the clause, add:

             (3)  Any addition to the register must be published on the Internet within 30 days after the Regulator registers a certificate.

(20)   AG (11) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Page 83 (after line 14), at the end of Part 13, add:

Division 5—The register of applications for accredited power stations

141A  Contents of register of applications for accredited power stations

                   The register of applications for accredited power stations is to contain:

                     (a)  the name of each applicant for an accredited power station; and

                     (b)  the location of the electricity generation system; and

                     (c)  the eligible renewable energy source or sources proposed to be used by the power station; and

                     (d)  any other information that the Registrar considers appropriate.

141B  Form of register

             (1)  The register must be maintained by electronic means.

             (2)  The register is to be made available for inspection on the Internet.

 (22)  Opp (2) [Sheet 1887]

          Page 94 (after line 14), after clause 160, insert:

160A  Indexation

             (1)  If an amount is to be indexed under this section on an indexation day, this Act and the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Charge Act 2000 have effect as if the indexed amount were substituted for that amount on that day.

             (2)  The amount referred to in an item in the CPI Indexation Table below is to be indexed under this section every year on the indexation day specified in that item, occurring in or after 2002, by using the reference quarter in that item.

 

Item

Amount

Indexation day

Reference quarter

1

penalty charge under Part 9

1 February

December

             (3)  The indexed amount for an amount to be indexed is:

                     (a)  the amount worked out by multiplying the amount to be indexed by the indexation factor for that amount; or

                     (b)  if the amount worked out under paragraph (a) is not a multiple of 10 cents—that amount rounded down to the nearest multiple of 10 cents.



             (4)  Subject to subsections (5), (6) and (7), the indexation factor for an amount to be indexed on an indexation day is the amount worked out by using the formula:

where:

index number , in relation to a quarter, means the All Groups Consumer Price Index number that is the weighted average of the 8 capital cities and is published by the Australian Statistician in respect of that quarter.

most recent index number means the index number for the last quarter before the indexation day that is a reference quarter for the indexation of the amount.

previous index number , in relation to the indexation of an amount referred to in an item in the CPI Indexation Table in subsection (2), means the index number for the reference quarter in that item immediately before the most recent reference quarter in that item ending before the indexation day.

             (5)  An indexation factor is to be worked out to 3 decimal places.

             (6)  If an indexation factor worked out under subsections (4) and (5) would, if it were worked out to 4 decimal places, end in a number that is greater than 4, the indexation factor is to be increased by 0.001.

             (7)  If an indexation factor worked out under subsections (4), (5) and (6) would be less than 1, the indexation factor is to be increased to 1.



             (8)  Subject to subsection (9), if at any time (whether before or after the commencement of this section) the Australian Statistician publishes an index number for the quarter in substitution for an index number previously published by the Statistician for that quarter, the publication of the later index number is to be disregarded for the purposes of this section.

             (9)  If at any time (whether before or after the commencement of this section) the Australian Statistician changes the reference base for the Consumer Price Index, regard is to be had, for the purposes of applying this section after the change takes place, only to index numbers published in terms of the new reference base.

(23)   AG (R12) [Sheet 1896 Revised]

          Clause 161, page 94 (after line 23), at the end of the clause, add:

             (2)  Draft regulations must be available for public comment for a period of not less than 30 days before the regulations are made.

(24)   Opp (3) [Sheet 1887] [ As amended by AG ]

          Page 94 (after line 23), at the end of the bill, add:

162  Review of operation of Act

             (1)  The Minister must cause an independent review of the operation of this Act, including consideration of:

                     (a)  the extent to which the policy objectives of this Act have been achieved and the need for any alternative approach; and

                     (b)  the mix of technologies that has resulted from the implementation of the provisions of this Act; and

                     (c)  the level of penalties provided under this Act; and

                     (d)  other environmental impacts that have resulted from the implementation of the provisions of this Act, including the extent to which non-plantation forestry waste has been utilised; and

                     (e)  the possible introduction of a portfolio approach, a cap on the contribution of any one source and measures to recognise the relative greenhouse intensities of various technologies; and

                      (f)  the level of the overall target and interim targets; and

                     (g)  the extent to which the Act has:

                              (i)  contributed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and

                             (ii)  encouraged additional generation of electricity from renewable energy sources;

to be undertaken before the third anniversary of the commencement of this Act.

             (2)  A person who undertakes such a review must give the Minister a written report of the review.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report of the review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 12 months after the third anniversary of the commencement of this Act.

             (4)  In this section:

independent review means a review undertaken by persons who:

                     (a)  in the Minister’s opinion possess appropriate qualifications to undertake the review; and

                     (b)  include one or more persons who are not employed by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority and have not, since the commencement of the Act, provided services to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority under or in connection with a contract.

 

________________________________

 

House of Representatives Reasons for Disagreeing to Senate Amendments

 

Senate Amendments 1 & 2

 

These amendments substantially alter the approval processes for renewable energy generation projects seeking to be eligible under the measure.  The additional tests imposed by these amendments are not clearly defined and would make participation in the scheme difficult, increasing uncertainty for project proponents.  This is counter to the intention of the legislation, which is to support the expansion of renewable energy generation capacity in Australia.

 

Accordingly, the House of Representatives does not accept these amendments.

 

Senate Amendments 5, 6, 17, 20

 

These amendments impose an unnecessary administrative burden on the Renewable Energy Regulator.  These amendments would expand the Regulator’s responsibilities for maintaining public registers above the currently required register of registered parties, a register of accredited power stations and a register of renewable energy certificates.  The additional register of applications for accreditation of power stations is not considered to add meaningfully to public knowledge of the scheme considered necessary for transparency of the scheme.

 

Given the added cost and administrative burden this amendment imposes the House of Representatives does not accept these amendments.

 

Senate Amendment 7

 

This amendment reduces flexibility in the administration of the scheme and reduces the range of renewable energy sources that would be eligible to contribute towards meeting the requirements of this legislation.  The added certainty to the renewable energy industry that is provided by an amendment of this nature is negated by the complex and time consuming process required to make minor amendments to the eligibility list, for example adding a new renewable energy source to the eligibility list.  This would arguably reduce the level of support available to new technologies at the time when support is most required.  This is considered to be an unnecessary restriction in the achievement and administration of this scheme.

 

Accordingly, the House does not accept this amendment.

Senate Amendments  18 and 19

 

This amendment would segment a market that is designed to offer a generic product which is a megawatt hour of renewable energy.  Liable parties have made representations to the effect that they consider exposure of the fuel source used to create renewable energy certificates would reduce their competitive position by creating high and low value certificates.  This may also impact severely on the ability of renewable energy generators to sell their certificates at a price that supports the commercial operation of the project.  It would also complicate registry, trading and acquittal arrangements for the renewable energy industry.

 

Given the impact of this amendment on the effective operation of the measure, the House of Representatives does not accept these amendments.

Senate Amendment 22

 

The insertion of a CPI indexation clause into the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 would bring the constitutionality of the scheme into question.  An amendment of this nature can only be introduced into the Renewable Energy (Charge) Bill 2000.

 

Amendments moved to the original amendment proposed by the Opposition in the Senate has also left this amendment indexing only a penalty charge which is to be rarely used (penalty charge payable under Part 9).  This amendment would need to be further amended if the rate of shortfall charge to be paid by parties not meeting their obligation was indexed annually.

 

The indexation of the rate of shortfall charge, given a commitment to review the operation of the scheme, including the level of penalties provided under the Act, is not supported.

 

Accordingly, the House of Representatives does not accept this amendment.

Senate Amendment 23

 

This amendment would substantially delay the implementation of this measure and as a result, the scheme would not be able to commence on 1 January 2001.  Under this particular legislation, participants in the scheme will not be able to be accredited if the regulations have not been finalised.  A 30 day consultation process would substantially reduce the likelihood that the regulations for this measure could be tabled in the 2000 sitting period.  A delay in the commencement of the measure would impact substantially on those parties who have made investments based on an expectation that the measure will commence on 1 January 2001.

 

Accordingly, the House of Representatives does not accept this amendment.

 

Senate Amendment 24   

 

This amendment imposes an unnecessarily restrictive set of criteria for an evaluation of the scheme.  The terms of reference for a review of the measure would best be set closer to the time when the review would be conducted, taking into account issues of administration that have arisen in the first several years of operation of the scheme.  If the legislation were to include a requirement for a review of the measure, a more general set of evaluation criteria would be preferable.  An amendment to this effect is tabled.

 

________________________________

 

SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENT MADE BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN PLACE OF SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 24

 

Page 94 (after line 23), at the end of the bill, add:

162  Review of operation of Act

 

(1)           The Minister must cause an independent review of the operation of this Act to be undertaken as soon as possible after the third anniversary of the commencement of this Act.

 

(2)           A person who undertakes such a review must give the Minister a written report of the review.

 

(3)           The Minister must cause a copy of the report of the review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 12 months after the third anniversary of the commencement of this Act.

 

(4)           In this section:

 

independent review means a review undertaken by persons who:

(a)      in the Minister’s opinion possesses appropriate qualifications to undertake the review; and

(b)     include one or more persons who are not employed by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority.

 

[review of Act]

 

 

 

 

                                              I C HARRIS

Clerk of the House of Representatives

 

House of Representatives

9 October 2000