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 Sep 2014
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out the proposed administration costs of the Renewables Obligation for 2014-15. We welcome comment by the end of 29 September 2014.

  • Published: 28th Feb 2014
  • Reports and plans
  • 2 Associated documents
The Renewables Obligation Annual Report gives an overview of scheme activity during the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013.

  • Published: 12th Feb 2014
  • Guidance, Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This document records the buy-out price and mutualisation ceilings for the Renewables Obligation for the 2014-15 obligation period. The buy-out price and the mutualisation ceiling are updated annually to reflect changes in the Retail Prices Index.

  • Published: 20th Jan 2014
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This draft document is available for public comment until 28 February 2014. It has been updated to incorporate the biomass sustainability amendments outlined in the illustrative draft of the Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2014.

  • Published: 6th Dec 2013
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This document records the details of the Renewables Obligation (RO) late payment fund collected and redistributed by Ofgem for the 2012-13 obligation period.

  • Published: 4th Oct 2013
  • Guidance, Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This document records the total amount of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) presented to Ofgem and the size of the buy-out fund for the 2012-13 obligation period.

  • Published: 30th Aug 2013
  • Guidance, Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Ofgem has published the total amount (in Renewables Obligation Certificates) of the Renewables Obligation for the 2012-13 period.

  • Published: 1st Aug 2013
  • Closed: 29th Aug 2013
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
This consultation sets out the proposed administration costs of the Renewables Obligation for 2013-14

  • Published: 1st May 2013
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document provides guidance for agents, or prospective agents, wishing to act on behalf of operators of renewable microgenerators under the Renewables Obligation.

  • Published: 1st May 2013
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This document provides an overview of the generating technologies that might be eligible under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme

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