Renewables Obligation (RO)

The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the main support mechanism 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: 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.

  • Published: 13th Apr 2015
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document provides an overview of the generating technologies that might be eligible under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.

  • Published: 13th Apr 2015
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This guide can help establish the date that your generating station was or will be commissioned in line with the definition provided in RO legislation.

  • Published: 16th Feb 2015
  • Reports & plans
  • 1 Associated documents
The Renewables Obligation annual report provides an overview of scheme activated between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014.

  • Published: 12th Feb 2015
  • News
  • 0 Associated documents
To inform our stakeholders and suppliers about the value of the Renewables Obligation (RO) buy-out price and mutualisation ceiling applicable for the 2015-16 RO year.

  • Published: 28th Jan 2015
  • Closed: 25th Mar 2015
  • Consultations & responses
  • 2 Associated documents
This is our consultation and response which details how we will administer the closure of the RO to large-scale solar PV and the associated grace periods.

  • Published: 19th Nov 2014
  • Data and statistics, News
  • 0 Associated documents
We have just redistributed the 2013-14 RO late payment fund, paying a total of £6,171,656 to suppliers who presented Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) this year.