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: 1st Apr 2016
  • Factsheets
  • 0 Associated documents
This page is for operators of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating stations in England, Wales and Scotland affected by the closure of the RO scheme to small-scale solar PV on 1 April 2016.

  • Published: 23rd Mar 2016
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
Overview of activity under the Renewables Obligation during 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015.

  • Published: 1st Dec 2015
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This information sheet explains how to understand Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) identifiers and provides lists of all the current generation type, country, technology type, and banding type identifiers.

  • Published: 22nd Oct 2015
  • Charts and data, Open letters and correspondence
  • 0 Associated documents
We have recently redistributed the Renewables Obligation (RO) buy-out fund for 2014/15.

  • Published: 19th Oct 2015
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This document summarises the responses and changes to Ofgem’s September consultation on the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation "enabling financial decisions grace period" guidance document.

  • Published: 14th Sep 2015
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
This draft guidance document is for operators of generating stations in Northern Ireland using advanced conversion technologies (ACT) that may apply for the "enabling financial decisions" grace period introduced by the RO Closure Order (NI) 2015.

  • Published: 10th Sep 2015
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
Last month we published the total UK obligation of 71,922,000 Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Since then, suppliers have presented 71,276,525 ROCs towards this obligation.

  • Published: 2nd Sep 2015
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our proposed administration costs for the Renewables Obligation for 2015-16. We welcome comments by the end of 30 September 2015.

  • Published: 24th Aug 2015
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The total obligation for the Renewables Obligation 2014/15 is 71,922,000 ROCs. Suppliers should meet their obligation by 1 September 2015 or make a late payment by 31 October 2015.

  • Published: 13th Apr 2015
  • Factsheets
  • 0 Associated documents
This page is for operators of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating stations in England, Wales and Scotland affected by the closure of the RO scheme to large-scale solar PV on 1 April 2015.