The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has registered its 1,000th project – a soil carbon project at Binginbar Farm, near Dubbo in NSW – as the fund comes up to almost 100 million tonnes in emissions reductions.
Soil carbon projects are booming, with project registrations accounting for a quarter of all new registrations in 2021. At Binginbar Farm, new practices to increase soil carbon levels and improve water retention are increasing productivity and boosting resilience to the effects of drought.
“As one of the world’s most rigorous carbon offset programs, the Emissions Reduction Fund is driving genuine actions to help Australia meet and beat our climate goals,” minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.
“ERF projects are playing an important role in the government’s ‘technology not taxes’ approach to reducing emissions – reducing emissions without imposing new costs on businesses, households or the economy.
“The government is focused on ensuring regional communities and industries don’t wear the costs associated with reducing and offsetting Australia’s emissions.”
Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) are issued for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent stored or avoided by a project. Under the ERF, over 98 million ACCUs have been issued and it is on track to reach 100 million ACCUs in the coming months.
The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) expects the ERF to credit a record 17 million tonnes of emissions reductions in 2021 alone. Through the 2020-21 Budget, the government committed more than $40 million of additional resourcing to the CER to halve the development time of new ERF methods to less than 12 months.
Additionally, the federal government is expanding the types of projects eligible under the Emissions Reduction Fund. The next phase of work on the soil carbon method will incorporate greater use of remote sensing and intelligent forecasting of soil carbon levels.
This week, they will release a draft new soil carbon method for public consultation. The new method will make it easier for farmers to develop projects and attain support from the ERF.
By the end of 2021, five new methods will be delivered: carbon capture and storage, soil carbon, biomethane or green gas, blue carbon and plantation forestry.
“One thousand projects registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund is an important milestone and we look forward to seeing the scheme’s continued growth,” Taylor said.
The federal government is currently accepting submissions to identify opportunities for new methods to be prioritised for development in 2022.