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: 23rd Aug 2018
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our proposed administration costs for the Renewables Obligation for 2018-19.

  • Published: 25th Jun 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: 24th Apr 2018
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document summarises the final changes to our guidance resulting from the new rules for bioliquids, wastes, and residues under the Renewables Obligation.

  • Published: 21st Mar 2018
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
The Renewables Obligation Annual Report 2016-17 provides an overview of scheme activity between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.

  • Published: 12th Mar 2018
  • Factsheets
  • 1 Associated documents
Document containing deadlines for data submission for the purpose of issuing ROCs, and dates by which Ofgem intends to issue ROCs for April 2018 to March 2019.

  • Published: 12th Feb 2018
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The buy-out price for the 2018-19 obligation period is £47.22 per ROC. This is the amount suppliers pay for each ROC not redeemed towards their obligation.

  • Published: 5th Jan 2018
  • News and blogs
  • 0 Associated documents
We redistributed the 2016-17 RO late payment funds on 20 November 2017. This document summarises the payments received and the amounts distributed.

  • Published: 20th Dec 2017
  • Guidance, Open letters and correspondence
  • 5 Associated documents
This document summarises the draft changes to our guidance resulting from the new rules for bioliquids, wastes, and residues under the Renewables Obligation.

  • Published: 14th Dec 2017
  • Guidance, Open letters and correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
Draft guidance for participants of the RO and FIT schemes on co-locating storage with their accredited RO generating station or FIT installation

  • Published: 20th Oct 2017
  • News and blogs
  • 0 Associated documents
A breakdown of the Renewables Obligation for 2016-17 along with an overview of the no. of ROCs presented by suppliers towards this Obligation

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