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: 16th May 2016
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
This page is for operators of onshore wind generating stations in England, Wales and Scotland affected by the closure of the RO scheme to onshore wind on 12 May 2016.

  • Published: 19th Apr 2016
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document answers some of the most frequently asked questions around output data submissions under the Renewables Obligations (RO) scheme.

  • Published: 19th Apr 2016
  • Factsheets
  • 1 Associated documents
This document answers some of the most frequently asked questions around the Renewables Obligations (RO) scheme.

  • Published: 5th Apr 2016
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This revised document lists the deadlines for data submission for the purpose of issuing ROCs, and the dates by which Ofgem intends to issue ROCs for the period April 2016 to March 2017.

  • Published: 1st Apr 2016
  • 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 small-scale solar PV on 1 April 2016.

  • Published: 23rd Mar 2016
  • Reports & plans
  • 1 Associated documents
Overview of activity under the Renewables Obligation during 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015.

  • Published: 17th Feb 2016
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The buy-out price for the 2016-17 obligation period is £44.77 per Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). This is the amount suppliers will need to pay for each ROC they do not present towards compliance with their 2016-17 obligation.

  • Published: 17th Dec 2015
  • Data and statistics, Guidance
  • 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.

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