What happens to money we pay to C3?

In the case of GreenPower, your money is used to pay Australian renewable energy generators to feed power into the national grid to replace the energy that you take out. For example, if you specify 5 MWh of power in your request to C3, then C3 will pay for that amount of energy to be generated by a project which had been accredited by the State Government’s GreenPower authority. This is done through the purchase (and surrender) of Large Generation Certificates (formerly called ‘Renewable Energy Certificates’) from the Australian renewable energy market. Once the GreenPower purchase has taken place, the Federal Government then calculates the amount of carbon saved by that GreenPower generation, and then commits to surrender (cancel) a corresponding amount of international carbon units.

C3 explainer from Macedon Ranges Sustainability on Vimeo.

What are Large Generation Certificates (LGCs)?

Large Generation Certificates (LGCs – formerly called ‘Renewable Energy Certificates’ or RECs) are the currency for trading in renewable energy. An LGC is issued to a generator through the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) and is proof of 1 MWh of renewable energy generated. These LGCs are sold to GreenPower providers in exchange for GreenPower payments.

I have already paid my electricity retailer for the power that I use. If I ask C3 to buy GreenPower for me does this mean I am paying twice for my electricity?

No, you will not pay twice for your electricity. The money you have paid to your electricity retailer only covers the standard, non-renewable charge. This is calculated at the base or ’black’ rate that all generators receive regardless of generator type. GreenPower generators need to receive an additional ’green’ payment to be economically viable. This payment comes to them via the GreenPower program.

Is a C3 payment just as effective as purchasing GreenPower through an electricity retailer?

Yes, they are the same thing. In the case of a normal electricity retailer, the payments for the standard electricity tariff and the additional GreenPower component are simply combined into one bill. ACXargyle is a ’decoupled’ provider which means that the bills for the standard electricity tariff and the GreenPower payment are separate. This gives you the choice of finding the cheapest standard tariff with any electricity retailer, whilst still making the GreenPower payment through C3 – and helping to provide an income stream for your local environmental organisation. Decoupled GreenPower can be applied to the supply of electricity in any state in Australia.

Is C3 a certified GreenPower provider?

No. C3 currently makes its purchases through ACX Argyle Pty Ltd, which provides GreenPower and carbon offset services to C3. ACX Argyle Pty Ltd is a certified GreenPower provider and has an obligation to the State Government’s GreenPower authority to be audited for all sales and renewable energy certificates surrendered.

What are Carbon Credits or Offsets?

Carbon Credits are the currency for trading in carbon (CO2) emissions. One credit is proof that a tonne of CO2 has been abated. Once a credit has been surrendered (cancelled), it can then be claimed as an offset.

What if I specify Carbon Offsets?

Where you specify carbon offsets the process is similar. Under some international schemes the calculation of the environmental benefit (carbon saved) of a project has already been done before any certificates are issued. The project therefore issues certificates denominated in tonnes of CO2 rather than MWh of energy. These certificates called carbon credits are purchased (and surrendered) by C3 for use in the carbon offset projects.

What projects do the carbon credits come from?

Currently, the opportunity to create carbon credits in Australia is limited due to coverage of most of Australia’s industries by either the Kyoto protocol or the Federal government’s Clean Energy Future legislation. Carbon credits from agriculture (the Carbon Farming Initiative) will be coming on stream over the next few years.

Until then renewable energy projects from developing countries will be used by C3. The projects are certified using the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) methodology and as a result, Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) are the trading currency used.

What is the relationship between C3 and the ACXargyle?

ACXargyle is simply the current provider of GreenPower and offsetting services to C3. ATA has decided to work with ACXargyle during the initial period as it was a well established organisation with a history of promoting innovative renewable energy products and educational services at a local level. ACXargyle has been prominent in advocating for greater transparency in carbon and GreenPower accounting at a federal level for a number of years.