GGAS commenced on 1 January 2003 and was the first mandatory greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in the world. The Scheme imposed obligations on all NSW electricity retailers, known as Benchmark Participants, to reduce a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to their sales/consumption of electricity in NSW. The Scheme also included certain other parties, including large electricity users who elected to manage their own benchmark, and required them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by meeting a target. They did this by purchasing and acquitting NSW Greenhouse Abatement Certificates (also known as NGACs) created by accredited Abatement Certificate Providers (ACPs) who undertook activities that:
- reduced emissions from existing generators
- generated electricity using low emission technologies
- improved energy efficiency
- sequestered carbon in forests
- reduced emissions from industrial processes in large energy consuming industries.
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme (GGAS) closed on 1 July 2012. The level of compliance by both Benchmark Participants and ACPs during the life of GGAS was high. Over 144 million abatement certificates were created, representing a similar number of tCO2e of greenhouse gas abatement achieved. A full account of the performance of GGAS is available in the Annual Compliance and Operation Reports available from the list below.
In September 2013 we released a Legacy Report on GGAS titled “NSW Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme – Strengths, Weaknesses and Lessons Learned”. The report discusses the scheme’s design parameters, its costs, what contributed to its success and the high levels of compliance achieved. It also discusses areas where improvements could have been made to deliver better environmental outcomes. The report includes testimonials from a range of stakeholders, commentators and participants on their experience with and perspective on the scheme.
During the life of GGAS, IPART developed 2 new methodologies to improve the measurement of emissions abatement from coal-fired generation (Performance Improvement Testing Regime or PITR) and landfill gas generation (Methane Energy Uncertainty Methodology or MEUM). These methodologies enabled more accurate means of estimating emissions for accredited GGAS electricity generators.
Although GGAS has closed, around 5 million certificates remain available for voluntary surrender on the GGAS Registry. The Registry is available at https://www.ggas-registry.nsw.gov.au .