Posts Tagged ‘commonwealth’

20 March

Australian Federal Solar Incentives


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Sun Above Brisbane, Australia (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

As I’ve promised in our previous post on “Aussie’s Transition Into Renewable Energy Age“, let’s have a closer look at Australian incentive policies designed to encourage the uptake of solar and other types of renewable energy. In essence, there are two types of financial incentive schemes, the Federal Solar Incentives and the State Incentives. In today’s post, I’d like to concentrate on the Federal Solar Incentives.

Firstly, I want to clarify that MRET (Mandatory Renewable Energy Target) and RET (Renewable Energy Target) are not exactly the same policy, even though both MRET and RET are under the category of Federal Incentives.

The MRET of Commonwealth Government began on April 1, 2001, by means of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (the Act), targeting the generation of 9,500 GWh (gigawatt hour) of extra renewable electricity per year by 2010. In 2009, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2009 amended the Act and replaced the MRET with the RET. This altered the target from 9,500 GWh per year by 2010 to 45,000  GWh by 2020 and introduced the Solar Credits scheme. Definitely, RET has much more ambitious goals.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) requires that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. To achieve this, the Government has set annual targets for each year of the scheme and requires Australian electricity retailers and large wholesale purchasers of electricity to demonstrate that they meet these targets. Compliance is demonstrated by surrendering renewable energy certificates (RECs), where one REC is equivalent to one additional megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated from renewable energy sources (above a 1997 benchmark). Failure to surrender adequate RECs would lead to a penalty charge of $65 per MWh. Electricity retailers and wholesale buyers can choose to either generate the electricity from renewable energy sources themselves or purchase the RECs from others that have done so. This creates a market for RECs.

RECs come in 2 forms: Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for renewable energy generators up to 100 kilowatts (kW), and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) for systems whose capacity is greater than 100kW.

The most recent review of the RET has recommended that the size of renewable energy generators eligible for STCs be decreased to 10kW in 2013.

Shortly after the passage of the 2009 legislation, REC prices fell sharply.  This may had been caused by the intricacies and practicalities of the new RET, as well as its interaction with some State-level policy. This price crash created uncertainty in the market and threatened to deter potential investment in large-scale renewable energy projects. So the Australian Government announced a series of reviews and ultimately amended the legislation to create the LRET and SRES.

  • The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) has a target of 41,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2020 and only large-scale renewable energy projects are eligible.
  • The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) targets a theoretical 4,000 GWh annually and is eligible only to small-scale or household installations.

As part of the SRES, a program known as the Solar Credits scheme allows households, businesses or community groups to generate more than just one SREC for each megawatt hour generated. In fact, depending on the set ‘multiplier’, they have been able to generate up to five SRECs per megawatt hour of electricity that they produce. The scheme is based on the capacity of the solar energy system, and on the likely amount it will generate over a given period. The Solar Credits scheme applies only to the first 1.5 kW of installed renewable energy capacity of an eligible small generation unit. For units bigger than this, each megawatt hour generated from the extra capacity is eligible for only the standard 1 to 1 rate of SREC creation. The SREC ‘multiplier’ is set at five until 2011, and then declines to three on July 1, 2011, and then decline by one for each year after 2011 until the Solar Credits scheme ends in 2013.

While the LRET target is certain and capped, target of the SRES is not; it is only notional. As the LRET is capped, the prices of LRECs fluctuate on the market and can vary daily with any number of external and internal factors up to the level of the penalty charge. The price of SRECs, however, is fixed by the Government (initially at $40). The actual amount of electricity generated under the SRES may or may not exceed the 4,000 GWh estimate.

Australian electricity retailers and large wholesale purchasers of electricity are therefore required to surrender a fixed proportion of LRECs annually, but an uncertain and changing proportion of SRECs (since this depends on the total number of SRECs generated each year).

Related sites/links:

Small Generation Unit STCs Calculator

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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15 March

Massachusetts Paves the Way For More Renewable Energy in the Commonwealth


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Just want to quickly share with you the press release from IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council, on March 14, 2013, below:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an Order yesterday calling for several changes to its model interconnection tariff for distributed generation.  The DPU adopted most of the consensus recommendations suggested by the Distributed Generation Working Group (DGWG) in its September 2012 report and red-lined tariff.  The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) promoted many of the changes adopted by the DPU through its public comments and its participation in the DGWG in an advosory role. IREC commends the efforts of the DPU and the DGWG, which should encourage even more renewable energy growth in Massachusetts.

In recent years, the Common wealth has seen a huge surge of interconnection applications, which shows no signs of slowing down as interest in renewable energy continues to grow.  The revised interconnection procedures adopted yesterday should allow these applications to be processed more efficiently, and more renewable energy projects to come on line. “Massachusetts’ revised interconnection tariff represents a major improvement,” said Erica Schroeder of Keyes, Fox, & Wiedman LLP who represents IREC. “Overall its requirements are more clear and transparent, and more appropriate for the high volume of interconnection applications that Massachusetts is seeing.”

The changes adopted by the DPU touch on various parts of Massachusetts’ interconnection process, from before an application is submitted through the issuance of the interconnection agreement and construction.  For example, the DPU has approved a mandatory pre-application report for projects larger than 500 kilowatts. The pre-application report should help applicants prioritize among potential locations and configurations.  In addition, it should reduce the number of speculative applications that have bogged down the interconnection process in the past.  The updated Massachusetts tariff also includes several improvements to the technical screens for the simplified and expedited processes, which allow certain projects to move more quickly through to interconnection.

A more robust and transparent supplemental review process is another critical improvement in the new tariff.  Supplemental review allows projects that fail the Simplified and  Expedited Screens to still interconnect without full study.  To do so, these projects must pass the three supplemental review screens, which ensure that the project will not affect the safety and reliability of the grid. This improved supplemental review process should save both utilities and renewable developers time and money by avoiding unnecessary study.  It should also allow more projects to interconnect more quickly, while still supporting a healthy grid.

The DPU cited a number of open issues for stakeholders to pursue with respect to interconnection going forward, including the development of a group study process to study multiple, related applications concurrently.  IREC agrees that this is a critical issue to resolve in Massachusetts and plans to participate in the development of an effective group study process.

Another task that the DPU identified to determine the appropriate penetration screen for Supplemental Review.  The DPU adopted the more conservative option in its order yesterday-67 percent of minimum load-but required the new Technical Standards Review Group to spend the next year considering whether or not to increase the screen up to 100 percent of minimum load. “Using 100 percent of minimum load as the penetration screen in supplemental review is an emerging best practice nationally, as we’ve seen, for example, in California and Hawaii,” said Schroeder. “IREC hopes that Massachusetts will join these other states as a renewable energy leader and adopt the 100-percent screen.”

By February 2014, the new Technical Standards Review Group must provide a proposal regarding the supplemental review penetration screen to the DPU.  IREC plans to provide input in the development of this proposal. In the meantime, Massachusetts utilities must file updated individual tariffs in accordance with the revised tariff within 30 days of the order.  They must implement all non-tariffed changes adopted by the order immediately.

About IREC

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1982.  Its programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid;fair credit for renewable energy produced;best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industries. IREC is a respected resource and national leader in quality assessment, workforce development, consumer protection and stakeholder coordination.  Since 2005, IREC has provided a foundation for the growing clean energy workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs and through the development of quality standards. For more information, visit

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamker

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