What are Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs)?

An overview of the Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) market in Australia 

An Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) is issued by the Clean Energy Regulator (Regulator) and represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) not released into the atmosphere as a result of the activity undertaken by a carbon project. ACCUs are tradeable financial products that can be sold to the Australian Government or to businesses wishing to offset their emissions. There are more than 2,000 ACCU projects registered across Australia. 

Source: Viridios.ai


How ACCUs are issued

ACCUs are issued by the regulator to eligible, registered projects that are run in accordance with the relevant rules and are recorded in the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units.  

The issuance of ACCUs is governed by the CFI Act 2021, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2021 (CFI Regulations 2011) and the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015 (CFI Rule 2015). Each ACCU represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement (through either emissions reductions or carbon sequestration) achieved by eligible activities.

Registered projects are greenhouse gas abatement activities undertaken as part of the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and have clear methods.

After has project is delivered in accordance with the agreed methodology, the relevant information is sent to the regulator for approval. Following approval by the regulator, ACCUs are issued and can be auctioned, surrender or sold in the market. 

Source: Clean Energy Regulator


What are ACCU methods

ACCU methods explain how to carry out a project and measure the resulting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. They set out what you must do to run project-specific activities, calculate greenhouse gas abatement and report to the Clean Energy Regulator. The methods:

  • May require calculation of a CO2-e baseline. 
  • Require calculation of reduced, avoided or removed CO2-e emissions.
  • Set out carbon measurement or modelling techniques.
  • Detail project-specific activities to be undertaken in order to achieve reduction, avoidance or removal of CO2e. 
  • Have permanence obligations for sequestration projects. 

Source: Clean Energy Regulator


Type of ACCUs methods  

There are a range of ACCU methods covering agriculture, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, natural resources , transport, vegetation and waste management. 

ACCU sequestration methods are some of the most in demand and set out vegetation and soil-based activities which prevent the release of carbon to the atmosphere by storing it in the plants, debris and soil. Five types of sequestration activities involving forest protection, plant and soil improvement and planting are detailed in the methods:

  1. Regrowth and regeneration of native vegetation allows the cleared land to revert to native forest which stores additional carbon in the plants. One of the key methods in this category has been the Human-Induced Regeneration (HIR) method, which has now been sunset and is set to be superseded by the Integrated Farm and Land Management (IFLM) methodology.
  2. Store carbon in soil on your grazing land by increasing carbon inputs to, or losses from, the soil.
  3. Protect and maintain existing native vegetation on your land preventing the loss of   stored carbon and permitting additional storage of carbon in the existing plants.
  4. Planting native vegetation on your land establishes a permanent forest which stores additional carbon in the new plantings.
  5. Farm forestry projects must establish and maintain a tree planting that is either a permanent planting or a harvest project.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator


ACCU Pricing

ACCU prices vary based on methodology and other factors such Indigenous co-benefits. Of the 30 ACCU methodologies, historically, HIR ACCUs have delivered a slight premium over generic ACCUs, which are generated by avoided emissions-based projects such as landfill gas. The chart below shows the performance of generic ACCU over the past 12 months. 

Source: Viridios.ai

Data from Viridios AI, a Viridios Group company, also shows that Savanna Fire Management ACCUs with Indigenous co-benefits and Environmental Planning continue to deliver a significant premium over HIR ACCUs. 

Source: Viridios.ai