• Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme

    REBS for residents, schools and non-profit organisations

    In Western Australia, government-owned retailers must offer eligible customers a buyback scheme. This ensures residents, schools and non-profit organisations with renewable energy systems can sell their excess energy to Synergy and Horizon Power. According to requirements, the retailers establish their own terms and conditions (including rates) for buying excess energy and are responsible for running the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS). The Public Utilities Office approves the terms and conditions of each retailer’s buyback offer.

    Objectives

    The objectives of this scheme are to:

    • provide eligible owners of renewable systems with a framework to sell the energy their systems' export
    • ensure owners receive ‘fair and reasonable’ terms, conditions and rates for exported energy.

    Delivery

    The Western Australian Government established the requirement for retailers to offer a buyback scheme through the Electricity Industry (Licensing Conditions) 2005 [external PDF]. The regulations define an eligible customer as:

    • a residential customer who consumes not more than 50MWh of electricity per annum, or
    • a customer that is a school, university or other educational institution, or
    • a customer that is a non-profit-making organisation. 

    Retailers may also choose to accept customers in to the scheme who do not meet the minimum requirements of the regulations. For example, Horizon Power offers REBS to its commercial customers.

    Reviewing terms and conditions

    Terms and conditions, as well as buyback rates, vary between the retailers. These may change from time to time, depending on changes in Western Australia’s electricity industry. The Public Utilities Office reviews all terms and conditions. In assessing whether the contracts, including the buyback rate, are ‘fair and reasonable’, we weigh up: 

    • the wholesale cost of electricity for the retailer
    • line-loss reductions provided by distributed renewable energy
    • peak reductions provided by distributed renewable energy
    • capacity benefits provided by renewable energy
    • the costs to retailers in running REBS.

    Last reviewed: 1 July 2017

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