Policies and regulations
Government policies and regulations may have a strong influence on the viability and timeline for a bioenergy plant. Policy mechanisms that affect bioenergy projects may take the form of regulations, targets, mandates, incentives, tax rules and standards.Each biomass is different, and there are differences in how complex the policies and regulations are for each. Depending on the location and bioenergy plant, the policies and regulations relevant to the project may include areas such as:
- environment, clearing vegetation, water, agriculture, forestry
- petroleum/gas, electricity
- production facilities, waste management or reduction
- transport, regional development, sustainable planning
- health and safety.
The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organisation providing quality information on climate change to the Australian public. Their 2014 report, The Australian Renewable Energy Race: Which States are Winning or Losing?, provides the latest research on which Australian states and territories are winning the race to renewables, and which ones are not. 4 key findings:
- Australia’s states and territories have an important leadership role to play in tackling climate change and growing Australia’s renewable energy industry.
- South Australia is striding forward leading the Australian states on renewable energy.
- Victoria and NSW have moved from leaders to laggards in Australia’s renewable energy race.
- Australia has substantial opportunities for renewable energy. A lack of clear federal policy has led to a drop in renewable energy investment.
- direct relevance to biofuel and bioelectricity (page 56)
- for different types of biomass (page 61)
- transport and production (page 66)
- targets and mandates for bioelectricity or biofuels (page 58)
- international and domestic markets (page 68).
- WA: South West Interconnected System (SWIS), North West Interconnected System (NWIS)
- NT: Darwin-Katherine Electricity Network
Australian Capital Territory
The Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate provides the following information:
- Energy policy, including sustainable energy policy and renewable energy targets.
- The revised ACT Electricity Feed-in Tariff Scheme closed in July 2011. Potential renewable energy generators are recommended to contact an electricity supplier to determine the benefits the supplier might be able to offer them for connecting to the electricity network.
New South Wales
In September 2013, the NSW Government released the Renewable Energy Action Plan to guide the state’s renewable energy development. It reports on its progress against the plan every year and in the 2014 annual progress report it lists among its achievements:
- the release of The Energy from Waste Policy Statement
- the introduction of a more flexible regulatory framework for biomass projects in NSW.
- Electricity generation policy, projects, regulation including information about the assessment process for electricity generation projects, and a list of major existing, under construction and proposed NSW power stations.
- Electricity network connections information and rules including codes of practice, charges, and links to policies of each electricity distributor.
- Legislative framework for electricity, including Ministerial and organisational responsibilities.
- Gas networks information such as network performance, safety management and regulatory information.
- Legislative framework for gas including networks, retailers and legislation and requirements.
The Land and Planning Services (Dept of Lands Planning and the Environment) contain information on topics such as:
- land information/administration
- environmental assessments
- waste and pollution
- grants and rebates.
- water planning
- land use
- land clearing.
The Queensland Government has information on:
- Connecting to transmission or distribution network, and timeframes.
- Electricity sector legislation and reform.
- Water sector legislation and reform.
- Development and planning approval, including assistance, timeframes and legislation.
- Power purchase agreements: a negotiated contract, between a generator and retailer or wholesale purchaser of electricity, for the sale of electricity at a negotiated price over a fixed period of time.
- Getting a biogas project approved, through the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS). It is recommended to contact local government and the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate (Department of Natural Resources and Mines) at the design stage of any project involving the capture, storage, transport and use of biogas.
- The Renewable energy project development guide provides a snapshot of the processes involved in developing a renewable energy project in Queensland; such as generating renewable energy, selecting a site, transmission and distribution network connections, development planning and approvals, power purchasing arrangements and funding assistance.
- Biomethane gas installations in Queensland (PDF, 90 kB): an information sheet for designers, installers and operators of biomethane gas installations that details the safety, health and compliance obligations for biogas operating plants.
RenewablesSA is an initiative of the South Australian Government to support the growth of South Australia’s renewable energy industry. It offers information such as:
- resource/infrastructure maps
- contact lists
- case studies
- rebates and regulations
- guides to land access, development approvals, connection, licencing, policies
- existing projects
- industry suppliers.
Development Tasmania provides the following information:
- Renewable energy economic development plan, which outlines comparative state advantages, renewable energy projects, constraints/risks/opportunities and strategy moving forward.
Sustainability Victoria’s Guide to Connecting a Distributed Generator in Victoria (PDF, 3.1 MB) outlines how to follow relevant rules and regulations and explains how to negotiate a connection or a network access arrangement with your distribution network service provider, including:
- who to deal with
- fees and costs
- technical info
- five steps to obtain a connection agreement
- flowchart and checklist.
The Department of Finance’s Bioenergy WA webpage outlines WA’s:
- bioenergy resources
- current use of bioenergy
- future use of bioenergy.