About the RO

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

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.

The RO will close to all new generating capacity on 31 March 2017. There are also a number of early closures which are in force for specific technologies. Generators who are eligible to apply for a grace period can gain entry to the RO after these closures for a specified amount of time. More information on the 2017 closure and early closures is on the RO closure page.

Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs)

ROCs are 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 in the reporting period (one year), 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 meeting their individual obligation. For more information on ROCs, see Applying for the RO.

Annual obligation levels

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

Ofgem's role

The RO scheme policy is set by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and, in Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy (DfE), 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.

Need help?

If you still have questions, but can't find the answer on our website please contact our Renewables team:

Tel: 020 7901 7310

Email: renewable@ofgem.gov.uk

Publications and updates

  • Published: 9th Apr 2021
  • Charts and data
  • 0 Associated documents
The buy-out price for the 2021-22 obligation period is £50.80 per ROC. This is the amount suppliers pay for each ROC not redeemed towards their obligation.

  • Published: 24th Mar 2021
  • Reports and plans
  • 2 Associated documents
The Renewables Obligation Annual Report 2019-20 provides an overview of scheme activity between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

  • Published: 12th Mar 2021
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
See 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 2021 – March 2022.

  • Published: 18th Jan 2021
  • Charts and data
  • 0 Associated documents
Renewables Obligation: January 2021 Additional Payment Distribution (November 2020)

  • Published: 16th Dec 2020
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Decision document following a consultation in which we proposed a number of changes to the Renewables Obligation (RO) annual report with a view to reducing the document length and improving readability.

  • Published: 9th Dec 2020
  • Charts and data
  • 0 Associated documents
We redistributed the 2019-20 RO late payment funds on 4 December 2020. This document summarises the payments received and the amounts distributed.

  • Published: 13th Nov 2020
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document provides a brief overview of 2019/20 banked ROCs and the impact on applications, output data submissions and certificates transfer.

  • Published: 6th Nov 2020
  • Reports and plans
  • 0 Associated documents
A breakdown of the Renewables Obligation for 2019-20 along with an overview of the number of ROCs presented by suppliers towards this Obligation.

  • Published: 9th Oct 2020
  • Closed: 6th Nov 2020
  • Consultations and responses
  • 4 Associated documents
In this consultation, we propose a number of changes to the Renewables Obligation (RO) annual report with a view to reducing the document length and improving readability. The closing date for providing comment is 6 November 2020.

  • Published: 28th Sep 2020
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
See our proposed administration costs for the Renewables Obligation for 2020-21.