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Renewable Energy Indicator FAQs

06 Jun 2023

NABERS has evolved its Energy rating to better recognise and reward the generation and purchase of renewable energy.

The NABERS Renewable Energy Indicator provides clear and transparent information on the NABERS rating certificate about the proportion of the building’s energy that comes from on-site renewable energy generated and offsite renewable energy procured. 

Getting a Renewable Energy Indicator is easy and achievable; it will be part of all NABERS Energy ratings, but what else do you need to know? 

The Renewable Energy Indicator is a tool designed to work complementary to the NABERS Energy rating.

The tool allows buildings to:

  • Stand out for their energy-efficiency and commitment to reach 100% renewable energy
  • Measure their individual impact
  • Set targets and track progress toward achieving them.

Every NABERS Energy rating for all building types will include the Renewable Energy Indicator. The way the NABERS Energy rating is calculated will not change.

Renewable Energy Indicator REI - Certificate

Image: Example of NABERS Energy rating certificate. The REI will appear on all NABERS Energy certificates.

  • Renewable electricity from the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and other State/Territory-based renewable energy targets (for example the retirement of Large-scale Generation Certificates on behalf of consumers in the ACT)
  • Accredited GreenPower purchases
  • Off-site renewable energy purchases (through the voluntary surrender of Large-scale Generation Certificates)
  • On-site renewable electricity consumed (unless Large-scale Generation Certificates are created and sold). 

The inclusion of the Renewable Energy Indicator in Energy Ratings aims to:

  • Improve the transparency on renewable energy consumption
  • Accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources in the building sector
  • Recognise voluntary LGC surrenders as well as the RET and state/government targets
  • Accelerate the electrification of the built environment.

Renewable Energy Indicator REI - energy source

Image: Example of energy source breakdown in the NABERS Energy rating report. 

Technical questions relating to the Renewable Energy Indicator

The Renewable Energy Indicator does not impact the way on-site renewable electricity is calculated in NABERS Energy ratings, which considers:

  • Consumption: If a building consumes on-site renewable electricity, it will draw less electricity from the grid, and this will improve its rating.
  • Generation: If LGCs are created for the on-site renewable electricity, irrespective of them being sold or voluntarily surrendered, the on-site renewable electricity generation (OREG) system will improve the building's energy rating.

NOTE: LGCs are explained under ‘Introduction to Large Scale Generation Certificates’.

On-site renewable energy is considered in two ways depending on its use:

  • Consumption: All on-site renewable electricity consumed by the building will count as renewable electricity in the Renewable Energy Indicator unless LGCs are being sold. 

How onsite renewable electricity consumed is treated in the REI

  • Exported: On-site renewable electricity that is exported to the grid does not count towards the Renewable Energy Indicator.

Note: If, however, LGCs are being created and voluntarily surrendered for the exported electricity, the LGCs can be included and will count as renewable electricity in the Renewable Energy Indicator.

Currently there is no availability of renewable gas for buildings, and no trading mechanism for renewable gas certificates.

In the coming years, if a scheme for renewable gas trading is set up, and the gas source is recognised as renewable, NABERS will consider accepting this as part of the Renewable Energy Indicator.

Yes, methodologies are aligned. In development, we made sure that the calculations for the Renewable Energy Indicator and Climate Active were identical. This means you will receive the same amount of renewable energy recognition for both the Renewable Energy Indicator and carbon neutral certification (using the market-based method).

No, carbon offsets are not able to be used to improve your Renewable Energy Indicator score as they do not represent renewable energy.

This is an important consideration when choosing an electricity plan from your electricity provider. Carbon neutral electricity is not sourced from a renewable electricity generator, it is grid electricity for which the emissions have been cancelled using carbon offsets.

The Commonwealth government made the decision that exports to the grid from STCs that are created and surrendered are to be included in the grid NGA factors. Renewable electricity from a small-scale system is always considered renewable electricity. However, the STC certificates are considered a subsidy and not a claim to renewable electricity. This means that only electricity consumed on site from small scale renewable energy systems can be counted in the Renewable Energy Indicator. Exports from small-scale systems will not be included in the Renewable Energy Indicator.

Introduction to Large-Scale Generation Certificates and the Renewable Energy Target

A Large-scale Generation Certificate, or LGC is a renewable electricity certificate created by a renewable energy generator for every megawatt-hour of electricity injected into the grid.

These certificates are the mechanism used in Australia to purchase off-site renewable electricity.

The Renewable Energy Target, or RET is a Federal requirement for electricity retailers to surrender a percentage of LGCs every year ensuring that a certain amount of renewable electricity is injected into the grid.

This involves using LGCs that the electricity provider purchases and surrenders on behalf of their customers.

For additional resources, visit The Renewable Energy Target explained on the Australian Government, Clean Energy Regulator site.

Yes, vintage restrictions are recognised for voluntary surrender in the Renewable Energy Indicator, but only LGCs which are created by a renewable energy generator less than 36 months prior to the end of the rating period are accepted.

NABERS is looking into other certification options, such as the Federal government's Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origin (REGO) scheme. NABERS will consult with stakeholders prior to making any changes.

Logistics and general information relating to the Renewable Energy Indicator

The Renewable Energy Indicator is free of charge and is included in every NABERS Energy rating.

Yes, on the ‘Find a current rating’ page you will be able to see the Renewable Energy Indicator result. You can also find additional information, such as how much electricity is coming from on-site renewable generators.

From 6 June 2023, the NABERS Energy with GreenPower rating result will only appear in the NABERS Energy rating report. It will no longer appear on the NABERS certificate.

The NABERS Energy with GreenPower rating will continue to be displayed on the rating report for a transition period of two years. After the transition period it will cease to be calculated and displayed on the rating report.

Yes, Renewable Energy Indicator results will be included as a new feature for future Sustainable Portfolio Index reports.