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Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) requires Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies such as ARENA to report on:
- how the activities of, and the administration (if any) of legislation by, ARENA during the period accorded with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
- how the outcomes (if any) specified for ARENA in an Appropriations Act relating to the reporting period contribute to ESD
- the effect of ARENA's activities on the environment
- any measures ARENA is taking to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment
- the mechanisms ,if any, for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of those measures.
Table 17 provides this information.
TABLE 17: ARENA'S ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
Accordance with and contribution to ecologically sustainable development (ESD), including the development and implementation of policies, plans, programs and legislation
ARENA is specifically tasked with facilitating research, development, demonstration and deployment of renewable energy technologies with a view to driving the commercialisation and reducing the cost of renewable energy.
ARENA's policies, plans and programs all accord with and contribute to the ESD principles by:
- helping to foster the long-term sustainability of Australia's energy sector while promoting the reduction of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions
- taking into account economic, environmental and social considerations when developing renewable energy measures.
Environmental performance, including the impact of the agency's activities on the natural environment, how any impacts are mitigated and how they will be managed
ARENA’s accommodation and facilities arrangements are supported by the Portfolio Department. The Department operates under the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy, which aims to reduce the energy consumption of government operations, with particular emphasis on the energy efficiency of buildings.
The Department’s Property and Security section works closely with the ARENA corporate team to provide supporting information on ARENA’s intended and/or ongoing property and security arrangements.
This has ensured ARENA meets its property and security obligations within government (i.e. whole-of-government property changes from the Department of Finance) or through regulatory processes (e.g. changes to the Building Code 2016).
For the duration of 2018–19, ARENA’s Canberra offices were located in the NewActon Nishi Building. The offices in the Nishi Building have a six–star Green Star Design rating and NewActon Nishi is considered to be Canberra’s most sustainable mixed use building complex.
Some renewable energy projects may have environmental impacts. ARENA takes a risk-based approach to identifying and managing potential environmental impacts from the projects it funds.