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Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017

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2016-2017

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Cathy McGowan



Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017

 

OUTLINE

The purpose of the bill is to ensure community energy is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The intent of the bill is to provide greater certainty to communities looking to develop a community based energy model, encourage innovation and investment; and to ensure best practice planning to support the growth in community energy projects.

With energy prices on the increase, many individuals and communities are going it alone to develop localised energy solutions. The energy sector is changing already and community energy is part of the mix.

The intent of the bill is to ensure ARENA and the CEFC work together as originally intended when this “package” was introduced.

The bill amends the functions of ARENA to allow for the funding of planning, development or implementation of community energy projects, by the community energy sector and of innovative business and financing models. It clarifies that ARENA has a role in collecting, analysing, interpreting and disseminate information and knowledge on community energy models and a role in advising the Minister on these matters.

The bill also makes additions to the functions of the CEFC to allow investments in community joint partnerships, or other community energy models to support sector development. The bill defines a clear role for the CEFC to support accelerating the commercial viability and self-sustainability of community energy projects.

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

The Act commences on the day after the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

 

This clause gives effect to the provisions in Schedule 1 of the bill.

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011

 

Item 1 inserts a definition of a community energy project to Section 4, built on the definition published by the ARENA.

 

This section defines a community energy project to mean a renewable energy project initiated, developed and delivered by communities or individuals for the purpose of delivering benefits to the community and stakeholders (with or without partnerships with private developers or independent power producers).

 

 

Item 2 adds a new paragraph at the end of subsection 8(a ).

 

This section relates to the functions of the ARENA, with subsection (a) relating to the activities for which the agency can provide financial assistance.

 

The bill allows ARENA to fund:

 

·          the planning, development or implementation of community energy projects; and

 

·          the development, by the community energy sector, of innovative business and financing models.

 

Item 3 adds additional text to the end of paragraph 8(c) .

 

This section relates to ARENA’s role in to collecting, analysing, interpreting and disseminate information and knowledge relating to renewable energy technologies and

Projects.

 

The bill adds a clarification to this clause that this role includes “including information and knowledge relating to the development and operation of community energy projects and of innovative business and financing models by the community energy sector”.

 

Item 4 adds a new paragraph at the end of subsection 8(d).

 

This section relates to the areas of renewable energy technologies ARENA is to provide advice to the Minister.

 

The bill adds a new paragraph includes providing advice to the Minister on supporting the community energy sector to become self-reliant, including by reducing project development costs, developing innovative business and financing models, removing regulatory barriers and building capacity within the sector .

 

Item 5 inserts new text to paragraph 8(e)

 

This section relates to the functions of the ARENA in relation to liaising with State and Territory governments and other authorities for the purpose of facilitating renewable energy projects for which financial assistance is, or is proposed to be, provided.

 

The bill adds “partner” after “liaise” to emphasis the importance of ARENA jointly supporting projects with other authorities that are consistent with the policies and plans of other jurisdictions.

 

Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012

 

Item 6 inserts a definition of a community energy project to Section 4, built on the definition published by the ARENA.

 

This section defines a community energy project as a project:

 

·          for the development or commercialisation of, or in relation to the use of, renewable energy technologies; and

·          initiated, developed and delivered by communities or individuals for the purpose of delivering benefits to the community and stakeholders (with or without partnerships with private developers or independent power producers).

 

Item 7 inserts a new paragraph after paragraph 58(2)(b).

 

This section relates to the investment function of the CEFC .

 

This bill adds a requirement for the CEFC to consider investments in community joint partnerships, or other community energy models, to support sector development, including, but not limited to accelerating the commercial viability or self-sustainability of community energy projects.

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

 

Human rights implications

 

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms. 

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights because it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

Cathy McGowan