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: 3rd Jun 2010
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our proposed charges for administration of the Renewables Obligation.

  • Published: 8th Mar 2010
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This Annual Report provides an overview for the Renewables Obligation 2008-09 period.

  • Published: 18th Aug 2009
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
Total obligation levels on MWh for 2008-09.

  • Published: 21st Apr 2009
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
Timetable for when we issue Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) each month.

  • Published: 3rd Mar 2009
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This Annual Report provides an overview for the Renewable Obligation 2007-08 period.

  • Published: 9th Feb 2009
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
We have announced the expected buy-out price and mutualisation ceilings for the Renewables Obligation for the 2009-10 compliance period.

  • Published: 25th Nov 2008
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter provides information on the total amounts redistributed to electricity suppliers from the Renewables Obligation buy-out funds and late payment funds for 2007-08.

  • Published: 5th Aug 2008
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
We have published interim information indicating that the size of the Renewables Obligation for the 2007-08 obligation period across the UK is 25,477,265 MWh.

  • Published: 1st May 2008
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
This is the ROC and LEC issue timetable for 2008-09.

  • Published: 4th Mar 2008
  • Reports and plans
  • 6 Associated documents
This section contains annual reports providing information in respect of the following periods of the Renewables Obligation from the First period (1 April 2002 – 31 March 2003) to the Fourth period (1 April 2005 – 31 March 2006).