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 scheme (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.

For information on how the obligation level is set each year please see the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website.

Renewables Obligation Certificates (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.

If you have any questions relating to the RO that you are not able to find the answer for in the relevant sections of our website or guidance documents, please call our Renewables team on 020 7901 7310 or email: renewable@ofgem.gov.uk

What is Ofgem’s role in the accreditation process?

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.

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