History of the biofuels legislation:
The Act came into effect on 1 October 2007.
The purpose of the Act is to provide for a minimum ethanol content requirement of 2% in respect of the total volume of petrol sales in the State, at the primary wholesale level.
The Act does not require ethanol to be added to all petrol sold in NSW.
The Act requires primary wholesalers to report quarterly their total volume of petrol sales, including petrol ethanol blends, and the total volume of ethanol in the petrol sold. The Act does not apply to sales of petrol and petrol-ethanol blend fuel by one primary wholesaler to another.
Under the Act and Regulations, a primary wholesaler is a petrol wholesaler who either:
- operates or supplies petrol from any of the following facilities (whether or not in NSW) in connection with petrol wholesaling:
- an oil refinery
- a shipping facility
- a facility to which petrol is supplied by pipeline from an oil refinery or a shipping facility
- a facility to which petrol is supplied by a pipeline from a facility referred to in paragraph (c), or
- blends ethanol with petrol for resale in NSW.
The Amendment Act:
- renamed the original Act to become the Biofuels Act 2007,
- increased the volumetric ethanol mandate to 4% from 1 January 2010,
- further increased the ethanol mandate to 6% from 1 January 2011,
- required all regular grade unleaded petrol to be E10 from 1 July 2011 (deferred by Regulation (s4A) until 1 July 2012, then, ,
- established a volumetric biodiesel mandate of 2% (this requirement has been suspended until 1 January 2010),
- increased the biodiesel mandate to 5% from 1 January 2012 (this requirement has been suspended until sufficient local production is available),
- amended the definition of primary wholesaler to include diesel as well as petrol,
- applied the volumetric mandates to major retailers (control more than 20 service stations) as well as primary wholesalers,
- provided for sustainability standards for biofuels, and
- provided for exemptions from the requirement for all ULP to be E10 for marinas and small businesses suffering hardship.
The Amendment Act provides that the implementation dates may be delayed or measures may be wholly or partly suspended under certain circumstances, for example if sufficient feedstock or production of biofuels is not available. Any changes will be published in the NSW Gazette and will also be detailed here.
The Regulations were also amended to:
- reflect the mandate of biodiesel as well as ethanol,
- provide for wholesalers who "splash blend" biofuels to register as primary wholesalers of either ethanol or biodiesel or both, and
- detail the sustainability standards.
On 31 January 2012, Premier O'Farrell announced that amending legislation would be introduced to remove the requirement for all regular grade unleaded petrol to be E10.
The Biofuels Amendment Act 2012 implemented this policy change and came into effect on 29 May 2012.
The Biofuels Further Amendment Act 2012, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, improved the Government's ability to manage compliance and exemptions under the Act by:
- making clear how exemptions from the minimum biofuel requirements under the Act are to be applied for, granted, varied and revoked,
increasing the maximum penalties for certain offences under the Act and Regulation,
clarifying the powers of investigators in administering and enforcing the Act and Regulation,
modifying the constitution and procedure of the Expert Panel under the Act, and
providing that proceedings for an offence against the Act or the Regulation must be commenced within 2 years of the date of the alleged offence.
Enquiries about registration as a primary wholesaler or major retailer should be directed to the Office of Biofuels.