How soon do I need to register my project?

If you are thinking about a CFI/ERF project, get in quick.

Will you miss out on benefits if you wait and see what happens? Probably.

The new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) bill has "transitional" provisions to smooth the change to the ERF. The provisions mean you can lodge a project under the current CFI rules until 1 July 2015 - the same methodologies and the same additionality test. Importantly, this means the same backdating rule for backdating.

Backdating is about designating an earlier start date that the one when you lodge the project. This recognises that you may have been carrying out the project already, in anticipation of making it a CFI project. Projects can be backdated to 1 July 2010 (when the Greenhouse Friendly program finished). This can be quite valuable if it means a couple of extra years of credits and rewards the early movers. If the ERF passes, by 1 July 2015 this window will close.

But there is another reason to get cracking. Under the new ERF rules, projects will only receive one crediting period or 7 years for emissions reduction or 15 years for sequestration. Again, the transitional arrangements allow some leeway for getting a second crediting period - important to building a longer term benefit from the project - by allowing a pathway to a second crediting period for all projects registered when the new ERF starts. This will occur within 6 months of the bill being passed by the Parliament (and perhaps sooner depending on how quickly the Governor General signs off after the Parliament).

So if want to backdate your project, you likely have until 1 July 2015 to get it together. If you want a pathway to a second crediting period, you need to file sooner - now! Even then there are no guarantees as the Clean Energy Regulator takes some to process applications and the bill might start in the mean time.

And remember, if you lodge a project, you don't have to do it and produce any credits - it's up to you! What are you waiting for?