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: 28th Jan 2008
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
See the Renewables Obligation Buy-Out Price and Mutualisation Ceiling 2008/09.

  • Published: 27th Mar 2007
  • Other
  • 9 Associated documents
This section contains each of the standard data templates that should be used for the submission of ROC and LEC data and instructions for completing the templates.

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