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: 30th Aug 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our proposed administration costs for the Renewables Obligation for 2019-20.

  • Published: 21st Aug 2019
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
A breakdown of the Renewables Obligation for 2018/19.

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

  • Published: 7th May 2019
  • Charts and data
  • 0 Associated documents
We redistributed additional 2017-18 RO late payment funds on 24 April 2019. This document summarises the payments received and the amounts redistributed.

  • Published: 21st Mar 2019
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
The Renewables Obligation Annual Report 2017-18 provides an overview of scheme activity between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.

  • Published: 25th Feb 2019
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This 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 2019 to March 2020.

  • Published: 21st Feb 2019
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The buy-out price for the 2019-20 obligation period is £48.78 per ROC. This is the amount suppliers pay for each ROC not redeemed towards their obligation.

  • Published: 7th Dec 2018
  • Guidance
  • 2 Associated documents
This guidance is for participants of the RO and FIT schemes on co-locating storage with their accredited RO generating station or FIT installation.

  • Published: 30th Nov 2018
  • Charts and data
  • 0 Associated documents
We redistributed the 2017-18 RO late payment funds on 30 November 2018. This document summarises the payments received and the amounts distributed.

  • Published: 22nd Oct 2018
  • News and blogs
  • 0 Associated documents
A breakdown of the Renewables Obligation for 2017-18 along with an overview of the number of ROCs presented by suppliers towards this Obligation.