February Acronym of the Month – FAE

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We’ve waded through the jargon to give you a snapshot understanding of a carbon acronym that you can digest over a morning coffee.


Sadly, the carbon world’s FAE is a little less exciting than the winged spirit of childhood tales, but we still love it! 


The FAE is your carbon project’s Forward Abatement Estimate. In other words, it’s an estimate of how much carbon your project will remove from the atmosphere and therefore how many carbon credits you’ll be entitled to. One Australian Carbon Credit Unit (or ACCU) is issued for each tonne of carbon dioxide-equivalent you sequester, so your FAE is measured in tCO2-e


The FAE is rounded to the nearest 50,000 tCO2-e over the crediting period for your project. The three methods we work with here at CFF – Reforestation by Environmental or Mallee Planting, Plantation Forestry and Soil Carbon – all have a 25-year crediting period (regardless of the project’s permanence period which can be either 25 or 100 years).


Your FAE is submitted to the Clean Energy Regulator, the government department that manages the ACCU Scheme, when you register your project. It allows them to decide your audit schedule, which usually includes three audits throughout the crediting period. You’ll be audited more regularly if your FAE shows that you’ll earn more than 100,000 ACCUs in any single reporting period. Reporting periods can vary from 6 months to 5 years according to your preference. 


But how on earth do you estimate CO2 when you can’t even see it!?


Thankfully, for tree planting projects, the Australian Government has provided us with a snazzy little tool called FullCAM – the Full Carbon Accounting Model. This draws on over 50 years of climate, soil carbon, plant productivity, land cover change and land management data to determine a conservative modelled estimate of how much carbon your project will sequester. 


When your work with CFF to undertake a tree planting feasibility study, we’ll run FullCAM simulations to determine your FAE. For a soil carbon feasibility study, we’ll use either existing soil tests or CSIRO’s LOOC-C function to calculate an estimate of the potential soil carbon increase you could achieve. We’ll verify these estimates with advice from local agronomists. 


These feasibility studies will help you to decide whether it’s economically viable for your operation to start a carbon project. If your project is refined during the planning phase, we’ll run these calculations again to make your FAE as accurate as possible before we submit it to the Regulator. If your project varies after project registration, we’ll also submit an updated FAE. 


You can get an idea of the current price of ACCUs here.


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 hello@carbonfarming.org.au or give us a bell at (08) 6835 1140 to be connected with one of our project facilitators.


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