6. Unique emissions factors (UEF)
Climate Change (Unique Emissions Factors) Regulations 2009
In certain situations, the default emissions factors may over-estimate the emissions associated with a particular class or category of coal. The Unique Emissions Factors (UEF) Regulations set out methods for participants to calculate a UEF for certain activities, and a process for applying and getting approval to use the UEF.
- All participants may apply for approval to use a unique emissions factor (UEF) for the carbon content of coal imported, mined or purchased. The UEF must also be lower than a specified threshold.
- A coal importer or opt-in participant who uses coal themselves may also apply for a UEF for the CH4 and N2O emissions from their actual combustion of coal in particular equipment. This will require measurement of various physical properties along with concentrations of the gases in the exhaust stacks. Samples must be taken at a sufficient frequency and duration to ensure that extrapolations provide representative estimates of emissions across the full range of operating conditions.
- A coal-mining participant may apply for approval to use a UEF for FCSM emissions associated with a category of underground mined coal. This will require measurement of various physical properties along with CH4 concentrations in representative samples of mine ventilation exhaust air.
The UEF must be based on the sampling, testing and calculation methods set out in the UEF regulations, the results of which must be independently verified.
An application for approval of a UEF must:
- describe the class or category of coal covered by the UEF, with well-defined parameters so the class or category of coal to which it applies may be easily identified and accounted for separately from coal that is not within the class or category
- be accompanied by a verifier’s statement and a plan for ongoing testing.
If a UEF is to be applied for emissions in a particular year, the application must be submitted to the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Economic Development by 31 January of the following year.
The following eligibility criteria for coal participants must be met:
- the class of coal for which a UEF is being sought must not be larger than coal from the designated mine
- the class of coal for which a UEF is being sought must have well-defined parameters so coal within this class is easily identified and accounted for separately from other classes of coal
- the participant’s UEF will only be approved if it is lower than the specified threshold emission factor.
The sampling, testing and calculations undertaken to develop a UEF must be independently verified. A recognised verifier must review the records provided by the applicant and assess these against the process outlined in the regulations to establish and calculate the UEF. A list of recognised verifiers will be posted at www.eur.govt.nz.
6.5 Use of a unique emissions factor
Details of approved unique emissions factors, including the name of the participant and any conditions of approval, will be published in the New Zealand Gazette.
If approved by the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Economic Development, a UEF may be used until:
- there is a material change in any of the information or factors on which the Chief Executive’s approval was based, or the relevant legislation, or
- any conditions to which the approval is subject cease to be met.
To help determine when a material change might occur, participants are required to submit a plan for ongoing sampling and testing with their application. The Chief Executive may also grant approval subject to any conditions considered appropriate. This could, for example, include a requirement to submit the results of ongoing testing at a later date.
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