How to Register a Carbon Project

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

Want to earn ACCUs? You’ll need to register with the ACCU Scheme first.


Registering a carbon project is the first formal step in engaging with the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme. Whilst it can be a straightforward process, depending on the complexity of your project there may be a few nuances you need to navigate. In this blog, we’ll explore some top tips to help make this process as pain-free as possible! 


Get ready early 

Having your ducks in a row early on is a key step to being well prepared for the registration process. For starters, you won’t be able to commence certain project activities until you have submitted a complete registration to the Clean Energy Regulator. This is known as the ‘newness’ requirement. In all instances, you should seek confirmation of what you can and can’t do prior to registration from a carbon specialist, but as a guide: 


For environmental planting projects, you cannot start work (including site work) for your project until it has been approved by the Regulator. 


For soil carbon projects, you can commence baseline soil sampling once you have submitted your application, but cannot commence new management activities until the regulator has approved it.  


For plantation forestry activities, rules can vary from schedule to schedule, but generally you will need to have submitted your application before you can commence activities. 


There is some risk in commencing soil or plantation forestry activity prior to formal Regulator approval should your application be rejected. This would mean that you have commenced an activity that you may no longer be able to seek carbon credits for (refer the ‘newness require’ above). Regardless, you can take this risk at your discretion. 


The Regulator has a legislative timeframe of 90 days to assess your application. If your application is incomplete or you need to provide additional documentation, they may need to submit a Request for Further Information (RFI). Depending on the scale of the RFI, this may push out your assessment timeframe.  


Ensuring you have factored in the time to prepare your application as well as the Regulator assessment time should be a key part of your project planning. 


Identify who your project proponent is 

Another tip for preparation is to identify who your project proponent is. I.e., who will be legally responsible for conducting the project and receiving the carbon credits from the project.  


If you own the land on which you are undertaking the project, you will generally have the ‘legal right’ to conduct the project. If the proponent is not the landowner, they will need to obtain this consent from the landowner.  


If you are unsure who the proponent should be, we suggest seeking advice from a carbon service provider or your accountant to help select the most suitable entity.  


The Clean Energy Regulator provides more detailed guidance on selecting a project proponent here


Depending on the type of individual/ organisation the proponent is, there may be a more onerous registration process. Some organisation types have a simple web form to fill out within the Clean Energy Regulator portal, but others (such as Trusts) have more complex processes or supporting documentation requirements.  


These tasks will take some time, so it is best to start them early.


Work out if you need to engage any experts 

 As part of your due diligence before commencing a carbon project, you may seek expert advice from consultants such as foresters, agronomists, accountants, or council planners.  


Additional to this, the process of collating your project registration package may also require specialist input and services. Most of the project registration process can be relatively straightforward and be completed by someone with a reasonable knowledge of carbon farming. However, depending on the method you are undertaking there may be some curlier questions that require support from a carbon service provider.


Registration may also require some level of expert-level supporting documentation. For example, all methods will require geospatial files of your project area boundaries (and perhaps Carbon Estimation Areas boundaries), requiring assistance from a GIS specialist. A carbon service provider will generally have this expertise within their organisation, and by engaging one of these, you will be utilising expertise in project registration and the nuances that come with it. 


Method-specific documentation requiring experts is possibly required also. The soil carbon method will require production of a Land Management Strategy, which needs to be prepared or signed-off by independent third-party experts. Similarly, the plantation forestry method may require production of a Forest Management Plan, or production of an Independent Financial Assessment. It is recommended to identify any expert tasks you may need to complete the registration at an early stage, so you can start vetting and engaging specialist consultants in advance.


Ready to find out more?

Explore our range of educational resources in our Carbon Farming Education Hub where we frequently publish educational articles, webinars, and guidebooks. 


When you’re ready to explore the feasibility of undertaking a carbon project on your property, email us at or give us a bell at (08) 6835 1140 to be connected with one of our project facilitators.

Sign up for our newsletter

© 2024. The Carbon Farming Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

The Carbon Farming Foundation (ABN 67 645 498 004) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (AFS Representative No.001298535) of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956, AFSL 238184).

The information on this website is general financial product advice only. It does not take your personal financial objectives, situation or needs into consideration. We recommend that you read our Financial Services Guide and consider seeking independent advice before making a financial decision.