Climate change and energy – guidance

Calculating Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs)

An explanation of how the number of ROCs issues to generators is determined.

The number of ROCs issued to each generator is determined according to:

  • the type of technology it uses (each type falls under a ‘banding level’ indicating the number of ROCs issued for each MWh generated by that technology)
  • the amount of electricity it generates

RO banding

A table summarising the banding levels for the period (2013-17) is available:

Renewables Obligation banding levels: 2013-17 (PDF, 174KB, 2 pages)

Reviewing banding levels

Banding levels are reviewed every 4 years so renewable developers can continue to receive the appropriate level of support when market conditions and innovation within sectors change.

The government announced its decisions on RO support for the period 2013-17 in July 2012 and December 2012 following such a comprehensive review. A list of the new bands introduced on 1 April 2013 is in the table above.

A banding review can also be undertaken at any time if certain conditions are met including changes in the costs of generation. A solar-specific banding review was published on 17 December 2015 and proposed new bands to be implemented on 1 June 2016.

The Renewables Obligation Order 2015 is available on the government’s Legislation website.

‘Grandfathering’ banding levels

When banding levels are changed, existing generating stations already accredited under the scheme keep the old banding level.

When an alteration to the banding levels is applied to new generating stations, existing generating stations accredited before that date remain subject to the old banding level. This process of ‘grandfathering’ means generating stations maintain a fixed level of support for the lifetime of their eligibility for the RO.

From 1 April 2013 the only technologies that are not grandfathered are:

  • Standard co-firing (including bioliquids)
  • Energy crop uplift for standard co-firing (with the exception of existing contracts for energy crops)
  • Solar PV up to 5 megawatts in capacity