Renewables Obligation (RO)

The Renewables Obligation (RO) is one of the main support mechanisms for renewable electricity projects in the UK. Smaller scale generation is mainly supported through the Feed-In Tariff (FITs).

The RO came into effect in 2002 in England and Wales, and Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland in 2005. It places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources.

Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs)

ROCs are green certificates issued to operators of accredited renewable generating stations for the eligible renewable electricity they generate. Operators can trade ROCs with other parties. ROCs are ultimately used by suppliers to demonstrate that they have met their obligation.

Where suppliers do not present a sufficient number of ROCs to meet their obligation, they must pay an equivalent amount into a buy-out fund. The administration cost of the scheme is recovered from the fund and the rest is distributed back to suppliers in proportion to the number of ROCs they produced in respect of their individual obligation.

See Applying for accreditation and claiming ROCs

Ofgem’s role 

The RO scheme policy is set by DECC and in Northern Ireland the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), but the scheme is administered by Ofgem.

We assess and, where appropriate, accredit RO applications that have been made to us. Assessments are made based on the evidence submitted with the application and the circumstances specific to the generating station.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria to be granted accreditation under the RO. It is not our role to interpret legislation on your behalf; we encourage you to seek legal and technical advice to help understand how the legislation applies to you.

We are unable to comment on future policy amendments or on speculative applications and scenarios. 

Annual obligation levels

For information on how the obligation level is set each year, please see the DECC website.

Need help?

First, see:

If you have questions you can't find the answer for in the above, please contact our Renewables team:

Publications and updates

  • Published: 17th Dec 2015
  • Data and statistics, News
  • 0 Associated documents
We redistributed the 2014-15 Renewable Obligation late payment fund on 16 December 2015. This document summarises the payments received and the amounts distributed.

  • Published: 1st Dec 2015
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This information sheet explains how to understand Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) identifiers and provides lists of all the current generation type, country, technology type, and banding type identifiers.

  • Published: 22nd Oct 2015
  • Data and statistics, Open letters & correspondence
  • 0 Associated documents
We have recently redistributed the Renewables Obligation (RO) buy-out fund for 2014/15.

  • Published: 19th Oct 2015
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This document summarises the responses and changes to Ofgem’s September consultation on the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation "enabling financial decisions grace period" guidance document.

  • Published: 14th Sep 2015
  • Open letters & correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
This draft guidance document is for operators of generating stations in Northern Ireland using advanced conversion technologies (ACT) that may apply for the "enabling financial decisions" grace period introduced by the RO Closure Order (NI) 2015.

  • Published: 10th Sep 2015
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
Last month we published the total UK obligation of 71,922,000 Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Since then, suppliers have presented 71,276,525 ROCs towards this obligation.

  • Published: 2nd Sep 2015
  • Open letters & correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our proposed administration costs for the Renewables Obligation for 2015-16. We welcome comments by the end of 30 September 2015.

  • Published: 24th Aug 2015
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The total obligation for the Renewables Obligation 2014/15 is 71,922,000 ROCs. Suppliers should meet their obligation by 1 September 2015 or make a late payment by 31 October 2015.

  • Published: 6th Aug 2015
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This revised document lists the deadlines for data submission for the purpose of issuing ROCs and Renewable LECs and the dates by which we intend to issue ROCs and Renewable LECs for the period April 2015 to March 2016.

  • Published: 13th Apr 2015
  • Factsheets
  • 0 Associated documents
This page is for operators of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating stations in England, Wales and Scotland affected by the closure of the RO scheme to large-scale solar PV on 1 April 2015.