Renewables Obligation

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The Renewables Obligation (RO) is a support scheme for renewable electricity projects in the UK. It places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewables.

For the sixteenth obligation, or compliance period CP16, which runs between 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018, the ROC buy-out price has been set by Ofgem at £45.58 / ROC.

A Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) is a green certificate issued to an accredited generator for eligible renewable electricity generated within the United Kingdom. A technology dependent number of ROCs are issued for each megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable output generated.

Both the Renewables Obligation Order and Renewables Obligation Order (Scotland) came into effect in April 2002, with the Renewables Obligation (Northern Ireland) Order coming into effect in April 2005.

Suppliers meet their obligations by presenting sufficient ROCs. Where suppliers do not have sufficient ROCs to meet their obligations, they must pay an equivalent amount into a fund, the proceeds of which are paid back on a pro-rated basis to those suppliers that have presented ROCs.

 

Changes to the Renewables Obligation from 2015 – 2017:

As of 1 April 2015:

  • Throughout the UK, the scheme was closed to new PV installations with a total installed capacity (TIC) over 5 MW and additional capacity added to existing stations boosting the TIC over 5MW.
    • Some sites have qualified for a grace period permitting accreditation before 31 March 2016 – this is subject to eligibility requirements as outlined in Ofgem and Government guidance*.

As of 1 April 2016:

  • Throughout the UK, the scheme has been closed to onshore wind installations.
    • Some sites have qualified for a grace period permitting accreditation before the original closure date of 31 March 2017 – subject to eligibility requirements as outlined in Government guidance*.
  • Throughout the UK, the scheme has been closed to PV installations with a TIC of 5 MW and below.
    • Some sites have qualified for a grace period permitting accreditation before the original closure date of 31 March 2017 – subject to eligibility requirements as outlined in Government guidance*.

As of 1 April 2017:

  • Throughout the UK, the scheme has been closed to all applicants.
    • There are a number of grace periods, which will allow generators to gain accreditation under the RO after 31 March 2017 – in certain circumstances only, as outlined in Government guidance*.
  • To continue to support low-carbon electricity generation, the government has introduced the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, which is administered by National Grid.

The tables below show banding levels by region.

ROCs / MWhApril 2015 - March 2016ROCs / MWhApril 2016 - March 2017
ScotlandScotland
Onshore Wind0.9Onshore WindClosed.
Offshore Wind1.9Offshore Wind1.8
Hydro1Hydro1
Anaerobic Digestion1.9Anaerobic Digestion1.8
Solar PV - Roof-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
1.5Solar PV - Roof-mounted
All capacities.
Closed.
Solar PV - Ground-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
1.3Solar PV - Ground-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
Closed.
England & WalesEngland & Wales
Onshore Wind0.9Onshore WindClosed.
Offshore Wind1.9Offshore Wind1.8
Hydro0.7Hydro0.7
Anaerobic Digestion1.9Anaerobic Digestion1.8
Solar PV - Roof-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
1.5Solar PV - Roof-mounted
All capacities.
Closed.
Solar PV - Ground-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
1.3Solar PV - Ground-mounted
Less than 5 MW only.
Closed.