Our Compliance Update keeps you informed of activities related to our Compliance and Enforcement Priorities. We take compliance action to ensure the integrity and success of our schemes and to protect consumers and industry participants in our schemes. 

Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme

Human-induced regeneration (HIR) gateway audits

In the first quarter of 2024, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) commenced gateway audits for 7 HIR projects: 

  • that have submitted offsets reports 
  • that were also subject to a regeneration gateway check. 

We procure independent audits to provide assurance that HIR projects are regenerating and progressing toward forest cover. 

Average processing times for HIR crediting applications have increased as we have strengthened our assessment compliance and assurance requirements, including the addition of gateway audits. Processing times have also increased for some project proponents who are failing to provide all necessary information and evidence to establish that all the requirements of the legislation have been met. 

As foreshadowed in the August 2023 HIR Gateway Audit Requirements guidance, project proponents that provide high quality reports, and evidence that demonstrates to us how regeneration is progressing, will be able to have ACCUs issued ahead of the gateway audit. The outcomes of the gateway audit may require adjustment to project crediting.

Those who continue to provide inadequate information (against our guidance) will, at a minimum, have their crediting application paused until after we have received and reviewed the gateway audit. They may also receive a statutory request for further information. Those who regularly provide poor quality applications may expect compliance audits of their record keeping obligations and a review of their fit and proper person status.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme and Safeguard Mechanism

We have completed our assessment of the 2022–23 NGER reports. This included a focus on Safeguard facilities, oil and gas facilities, and reporters with a history of reporting errors, including those identified in the 2022–23 audit program. 

As a result of our assessments of the 2022-23 NGER reports, we are including 4 NGER reporters (including data covering 3 Safeguard facilities) for inclusion in our annual audit program because we were unable to satisfactorily verify the accuracy of their reports based on a desktop assessment.

Should these audits reveal material non-compliance, then we may commence formal investigations which may result in further action such as compulsory audits, enforceable undertakings, infringement notices and civil penalty proceedings.

The 2023-24 reporting year will be the first year in which baselines decline for Safeguard entities. We will be expecting a very high level of accuracy in reports by these entities.

Renewable Energy Target (RET)

Outstanding shortfall charge debts

For the 2023 RET liability assessment year, 3 entities failed to meet their surrender obligations and pay their shortfall charge debts on time. The CER has successfully recovered payment from 2 of these entities and has issued a statutory demand for payment to the third. We will proceed to wind up that entity if it doesn’t meet our statutory demand on time.

Power stations suspended for failing to submit electricity generation returns

Accredited power stations must submit an Electricity Generation Return (EGR) by 14 February to report on their electricity production during the prior calendar year, including compliance statements.

This year, of the 2,358 active power stations, only 15 failed to meet their EGR reporting obligation. These commercial and industrial power stations (each less than 2-megawatt capacity) have subsequently had their accreditation suspended. These power stations will not be eligible to create large-scale generation certificates until they submit an EGR. Should they submit their EGR, and the suspension of their accreditation be lifted, they will be unable to claim certificates for the suspension period. 

Registered person expectations

A registered person under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 is an individual or company who can create small-scale technology certificates (STCs). Those registered persons who run an aggregation business and typically facilitate the creation of STCs for solar PV retailers and homeowners are commonly known as registered agents

Registered agents play an important role in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and we have clear expectations of them, which include: 

  • ensuring that all STC eligibility requirements have been met prior to STC creation. This includes making sure that they have an assignment form from the homeowner that gives them the right to create the STCs and that all written statements are provided by the accredited installer and the retailer.
  • testing whether installers have satisfactory evidence that they have met the on-site attendance requirements to support the written statement.
  • that all records and operating procedures are accurately maintained and up to date.

Where we receive allegations about registered agents engaging in unfair business practices, such as unclear or unfair contract terms or failing to pay customers, we will disclose this information to other regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and state and territory fair-trading bodies. 

While other regulators may directly enforce matters related to unfair business practices, we may have regard to such matters where relevant when considering whether a registered agent remains fit and proper and able to continue as a registered person.

Compliance and Enforcement

Civil penalty proceedings commenced against Emerging Energy Solutions Group Pty Ltd 

We have commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Emerging Energy Solutions Group Pty Ltd and its former director. The agency alleges that in contravention of the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011 (ANREU Act), Emerging Energy allowed unauthorised persons access to its ANREU account. 

The ANREU Act prohibits the sharing of log in details and passwords. Those found sharing access to ANREU accounts can face civil penalties of up to $3.13 million per contravention.  

Persons and entities using registries operated by the CER, such as the ANREU and REC Registry, are reminded of their legal obligations to not share login details or passwords. We are monitoring and will take enforcement action in response to such breaches. 

Another solar PV installer declared ineligible to install solar systems under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme

On 7 March 2024, the CER declared Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited solar installer Keng Chew ineligible to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems under the SRES for 12 months. Any solar PV systems installed by Mr Chew during this period will not be eligible to receive small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

This declaration is a result of Mr Chew providing written statements claiming he installed or supervised 12 solar installations when in fact he did not. All declarations are published on our website.

To protect consumers and the integrity of the solar industry, we show zero tolerance for installers who do not meet the onsite attendance requirements. We have demonstrated this through civil and criminal prosecutions and now by using these new powers. We will remove those who engage in unlawful conduct from our schemes. 

Completed enforceable undertaking – Diamond Offshore

Diamond Offshore General Company LLC has completed all obligations with its enforceable undertaking and is no longer subject to compliance action.

See all enforceable undertakings on our website.