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: 9th Feb 2012
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
We have announced the expected buy-out price and mutualisation ceilings for the Renewables Obligation for the 2012-13 compliance period.

  • Published: 8th Dec 2011
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
See the figures showing the size of the late payment fund and amounts recycled to suppliers for the 2010-11 obligation period.

  • Published: 6th Oct 2011
  • Factsheets
  • 1 Associated documents
See the total amount of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) presented to Ofgem and the size of the buy-out fund for the 2010-11 obligation period have been published today (Thursday).

  • Published: 3rd Oct 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
See our response to comments made on the ‘Consultation on Ofgem’s costs for administering the Renewables Obligation’.

  • Published: 1st Jul 2011
  • Closed: 19th Jul 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
Our consultation sets out the proposed administration costs of the Renewables Obligation for 2011-12.

  • Published: 31st May 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
See the response to the comments made on the consultation on Ofgem's recommended method to calculate electricity supply data under the Renewable Obligation.

  • Published: 18th Mar 2011
  • Closed: 15th Apr 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
See our consultation on the recommended method to calculate electricity supply data under the Renewables Obligation is described in the appendix at the end of the open letter.

  • Published: 28th Feb 2011
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This Renewables Obligation annual report provides an overview for the 2009-10 period.

  • Published: 25th Jan 2011
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
Renewables Obligation and Levy Exemption Certificates schedule for 2011/2012.

  • Published: 25th Oct 2010
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
See our response in respect of DECC’s statutory consultation on the Renewables Obligation Order 2011.